Malaysia's ambassador to Myanmar has been criticised for a meeting with the military government on Wednesday, Apr. 7.
According to Free Malaysia Today (FMT), the Malaysian diplomat Zahairi Baharim met with the military government's newly appointed Minister of Electricity and Energy Aung Than Oo in the country's capital, Naypyidaw.
He was the first minister from Asean to do so formally.
First Ambo from ASEAN met with Myanmar military junta's minister— Ro Nay San Lwin (@nslwin) April 7, 2021
see photos - Malaysian Ambo to Myanmar, Zahairi Baharim went to Naypyidaw & met junta's Minister of Electricity and Energy Aung Than Oo.
Does Malaysia recognize SAC Terrorists as legitimate govt? @MuhyiddinYassin pic.twitter.com/putRLJAgqs
Many online slammed the move, with some saying the meeting was disappointing and contradicts Malaysia's stance towards the Myanmar crisis so far.
Some even took the chance to express their dissatisfaction with the Malaysian government, which they felt was illegitimate as well.
Member of Parliament (MP) of Klang Charles Santiago told FMT that he felt the meeting sent "the wrong message" to Asean, as while Malaysia talks about the "rule of law and a return to democracy" in Myanmar, the ambassador is "doing something else".
He also expressed concern that the meeting appeared to recognise the regime as the legitimate rulers of the country.
Malaysia involved in push for Asean to help mediate resolution in Myanmar
The military, known as Tatmadaw, staged a coup on Feb. 1 that wrested control of the country from the civilian government.
Several members of the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) were arrested as well, and Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi remains detained to this day.
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has expressed grave concern over the crisis in Myanmar, and called for all parties to return to the negotiating table.
Asean is set to hold an emergency meeting in Jakarta to discuss the crisis in Myanmar, which has seen rising death tolls among protesters.
At least 570 have been killed by soldiers so far, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
The crisis has led analysts to warn of a civil war.
Some protesters had even joined armed ethnic minority groups in Myanmar, in order to pose an armed resistance to the military.
The effort to push for Asean -- a regional bloc that Myanmar is part of -- to be active in helping to facilitate a resolution to the crisis was led by Indonesia and received support from Malaysia, Singapore and this year's Asean chair Brunei.
Top image via Ro Nay San Lwin/Twitter