Expulsion or suspension of Myanmar should be on the agenda of the tenth
ASEAN Summit in Vientiane 29-30 November 2004 if Aung San Suu Kyi and U
Tin Oo are not released by then and allowed to fully participate in a
reformed national constitutional convention permitting meaningful tripartite
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Friday): The sacking of General Khin Nyunt as Prime Minister by the Myanmese military junta supreme leader Gen. Than Shwe for, among other things, corruption must rank as one of the biggest international political jokes of the year, especially as Myanmar was listed as the fourth most corrupt nation in the world out of 146 countries in the latest Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2004 released two days ago. Myanmar shares with Chad the 142nd ranking with a CPI score of 1.7 out of 10, which is only marginally better than the world’s three most corrupt nations – Nigeria (No. 144, CPI score 1.6), Bangladesh and Haiti (No. 145, CPI score 1.5).
The international press has reported that in a closed door briefing with foreign ambassadors, the Myanmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win had repeated the official explanation that Khin Nyunt resigned for health reasons, but pointed out that members of the military intelligence services, which Khin Nyunt also headed, were implicated in a scandal involving illicitly acquired wealth at a checkpoint on Burma’s northern border with China.
Will there be any member of the Myanmese military junta left if everyone of them has to account for his integrity and incorruptibility?
Although Nyan Win told the foreign ambassadors that the military junta will stick to its plans for gradual democratization, this assurance must be taken with a big pinch of salt when so many previous assurances about democratization and national reconciliation, including the release of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi before the reconvening of the National Constitution Convention on May 17, 2004, had been honoured in the breach.
The ousting and house-arrest of Khin Nyunt and his replacement by Lt. Gen. Soe Win, who was directly involved in the Depayin Massacre and brutal attack on Suu Kyi and her convoy by a government mob on May 30, 2003, has cast a pall on democratization and national reconciliation in Burma and might have put the clock back by 15 years.
The expulsion or suspension of Myanmar should be on the agenda of the tenth ASEAN Summit in Vientiane 29-30 November 2004 if Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy deputy U Tin Oo are not released by then and allowed to fully participate in a reformed national constitutional convention which allows for meaningful tripartite political dialogue involving the military junta, the National League for Democracy and the ethnic nationalities.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman