Friday, June 5, 2009


(Bangkok Post) - Re: "Kraisak holds back on criticising Burma, much to his own annoyance," (About Politics, Bangkok Post, May 30, 2009). The Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) would like to bring to your readers' attention what we view as unfair, unfavourable, accusatory and malicious points in the above article, and would like to address these inaccuracies.

The article implies that Kraisak Choonhavan (AIPMC President and Member of the Thai Parliament) spoke and gave comments to the reporter and/or the Bangkok Post and said/admitted that he was annoyed at himself for being unable to hit out hard on the Burma issue.

This is false. Mr Kraisak did no such thing in revealing/saying the above to the author of the said article. This certainly amounts to a case of false reporting and defamation. I am absolutely shocked that a renowned news agency like yours could make such an error in judgement.

As AIPMC President, Mr Kraisak has a responsibility to ensure that any new or extremely strong or controversial message he delivers on Burma, is collectively positioned and done so in discussion and sharing with his fellow parliamentarians in AIPMC from Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines and Malaysia. The same works for AIPMC MPs from other countries as well, especially committee members. Since assuming his position as President (March 2008 onwards), Mr Kraisak has steered the AIPMC, with the support and efforts of its regional members to record some additional success in addressing the Burma question.

And since the Democrats formed the government, he has opened many previously tightly shut doors to the Parliament, its committees and ministers, to Burma's leaders and the AIPMC.

The fact that Burma's exiled leaders met and had a discussion in Parliament (in February 2009 in Bangkok) with an Asean state president and/or prime minister, in the form of Abhisit Vejjajiva, was historic and productive in itself. This was the first time that Burma's opponents to the military junta were able to communicate views and its transitional plans to an Asean chair personally. This was made possible primarily because of Mr Kraisak, and as well due to the efforts of AIPMC's country coordinator Ms Theerada Suphaphong and with the support of AIPMC MPs in Thailand. Therefore, the ''behind-the-scenes'' work the writer belittled may not seem insignificant and unproductive as was portrayed _ as opposed to the writer's belief that only loud, strong statements in public would bring about immediate freedom to Burma's people. A fusion of both approaches is necessary.

Further, in one of the paragraphs in the article that noted the timeline of when Mr Kraisak spoke out publicly on Burma in relation to Aung San Suu Kyi's arrest and bogus trial, the writer again got the facts wrong. It is sufficient to say that all reactions from MPs from the region (as quoted by the writer) came with quick discussions and knowledge of the AIPMC secretariat and Mr Kraisak.

Furthermore, simultaneous press conferences were held at 10am on May 15, 2009 (a day after Daw Suu Kyi was taken to court) in Bangkok and Jakarta where AIPMC MPs, respectively from the two countries, including Mr Kraisak, were involved and were vocal with their displeasure at the events in Burma.

The writer says that individual MPs were quicker off the mark in reacting to the arrest, but had the writer done her homework she would have noticed that many of those MPs who reacted were in fact AIPMC members. They were speaking out loud, on behalf of AIPMC and its president.

Executive Director, AIPMC

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