PETALING JAYA: Asean must engage the National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance there, says Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.The May 6 Consultative Meeting on Asean Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar in Phnom Penh had engaged only Myanmar’s military State Administration Council (SAC) and excluded the NUG and local humanitarian networks in Myanmar and along the borders who were key to the delivery of life-saving assistance, said Syed Hamid, who is chairman of the Malaysian Advisory Group on Myanmar.

He said humanitarian aid and channels of aid distribution must not seem to legitimise the Myanmar military or be seen as advancing vested political objectives.

“All relevant stakeholders, including the NUG, have to be engaged to ensure effective and equitable delivery of humanitarian assistance without discrimination.

“Asean member states and the Asean special envoy cannot solely engage Myanmar’s military SAC.

“Asean must also engage the NUG and other actors, including local networks who have access to the most affected populations in hard-to-reach areas,” said Syed Hamid in a statement yesterday.

He said Asean must acknowledge that the military coup and violence towards civilians and opposition forces, including numerous airstrikes, had created instability and provoked extensive resistance.

“By working through SAC channels only, it will be perceived by those in need of aid as legitimising and rewarding the perpetrator, which will seriously undermine effective aid delivery and could even exacerbate the conflict,” he added.