Monday, August 10, 2009

Suu Kyi, junta part of burma's problem and solution: Goh

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee

The Nation -Singapore views Burma's military junta and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as equal parts of both that country's problems and the solution leading to its democratisation, its leaders said at the weekend.

They also pointed out that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), of which Burma is a member, has no ability to play a crucial role in making changes in the military-ruled country.

Burma's political situation has been in stalemate for nearly two decades, since the junta refused to hand over power to Aung San Suu Kyi when her National League for Democracy won a 1990 election. Instead, they put her in jail. She is now on trial again after being visited by an American, John Yettaw, who swam across Inya Lake in May to reach her home, where she is still confined.

"In the view of the West, Aung San Suu Kyi is seen as the solution. But in my view, she is [only a] part of the solution, she cannot be the [whole] solution. At the same time, she is also part of the problem," said Singapore's former prime minister Goh Chok Tong.

He said Suu Kyi should not think that her National League for Democracy party remained the "legitimate government" that was "thrown aside" by the armed forces 19 years ago.

"In Third-World countries, once there is a coup, you are out. You can't be going back. If she wants to come back to take charge of a government, then she must find a way to win the next elections, which should be held next year," Goh told visiting journalists from Asean countries and the Middle East.

Goh said a national reconciliation plan that would bring Burma on to a democratic path could not leave out the military. It has been given a quarter of the seats in parliament, control of key ministries and the right to suspend the Constitution at will.

"You can't just take away the army and let the people run the country," he said. "They have to worry about their own lives, the lives of their families, their own careers. Therefore they have to be a part of the solution, even though they are now a part of the problem."

Goh, who visited Burma in June, said he had told the junta's paramount leader Than Shwe that next year's election must be free, fair and legitimate, and all parties, including Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, must participate.

"[I told him:] if Aung San Suu Kyi is not allowed to participate, you may win the election, but many Myanmars (Burmese) and people outside Myanmar will say this is not a legitimate election because the force that could have defeated you was not allowed to participate," Goh said.

In a separate meeting with Asean journalists, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he agreed with Goh, who is now a senior minister.

He said Burma had an opportunity to adjust its stance because the United States had a new government under President Barack Obama, who was ready to rethink its position, and Europe was also changing its position.

"Therefore, there are some opportunities for Myanmar to take suggestions, to shift its position; adjust its position. Not completely, but starting from where they are and showing that they understand this and make improvements," he said.

Lee said Burma should make changes by itself. Asean's ability to move anything in Burma was very limited because interactions and trade relations with Burma were not large enough to have any influence.

"Within Asean, Thailand is most significant. But when Asean buys gas from Myanmar, I think Thailand is dependant on Myanmar, not Myanmar is dependant on Thailand," he said.

Recent Posts from Burma Wants Freedom and Democracy

Recent posts from WHO is WHO in Burma


The Nuke Light of Myanmar Fan Box
The Nuke Light of Myanmar on Facebook
Promote your Page too