Critics of Burma's military government are pressuring the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to deny Burma its rotating chairmanship in 2006.
Malaysia's opposition leader Lim Kit Siang told a meeting of ASEAN lawmakers and diplomats in Kuala Lumpur today (Saturday) that Burma's march toward democracy is a sham.
He also blasted ASEAN's policy of constructive engagement with Burma's ruling junta.
Mr. Lim says Burma must free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and introduce substantive democratic reforms before further engagement.
A spokesman for Burma's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, welcomed the tough talk, but suggested the pressure will fade quickly.
U Lwin said once the ASEAN meeting starts, trade dominates and human rights are pushed to the side.