Friday, June 12, 2009

Singapore Investors Waiting for Democracy in Burma

The Irrawaddy News

SINGAPORE (AP) —Singapore investors will likely wait until after Burma’s elections next year before pouring any more money into the country, former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said on Friday, according to television station Channel News Asia.

Goh made the comments at the end of a four-day trip to meet with Burma’s military leaders, the television station said on its Web site.

"I don't believe any Singapore investors would come in a big way before the picture is clear, before this move to democracy is seen to produce results," said Goh, who is a senior adviser to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, according to the station.

Singapore is one of the biggest foreign investors in Burma, with annual bilateral trade of more than US $1 billion.

Goh, who met with top Burmese leaders, including Snr-Gen Than Shwe, urged the government to hold fair and transparent elections and allow all political parties to participate, the station said.

Meanwhile, the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was adjourned on Friday for two weeks. Suu Kyi is charged with violating the terms of her house arrest when an uninvited American man swam secretly to her closely guarded lakeside home last month and stayed two days.

The hearing has drawn outrage from the international community and Suu Kyi's local supporters, who say the military government is using the bizarre incident as an excuse to keep the pro-democracy leader detained through the elections.

Goh told Burma’s leadership that Singapore was "dismayed by the arrest," the station said.

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