Unbeknownst to most Singaporeans, Singapores Ministry of Foreign Affairs went into overdrive last weekend to make sure that no public rally would take place while the foreign delegates were here for the International Youth Conference for Democracy that took place on 26 July 2003.
An application was made to the police for a permit to hold a public rally outside the Burmese embassy at St Martins Drive. A petition was put up during the conference and was passed around for signatures, calling on the military regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters. The intention was for the delegates and participants to deliver the petition to the Burma embassy the following day.
That triggered alarm bells within the Government which spared no effort in calling up all the embassies to warn them that their respective delegates would all be arrested if they went down to the rally venue.
The situation in Burma is dire and needs the pressure of the international community to ensure that the military junta abides by the rule of law. While the world would welcome, indeed encourage, democratic actions such as this one, the Singapore Government works extra hard to suppress it. The problem is that in so doing, the PAP is helping their fellow autocrats in Burma to save face.
With friends like the PAP, Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t need enemies.