Singapore to Burma, pot to kettle

The Government has welcomed the announcement by the military regime in Burma to hold a constitutional referendum in May this year and elections in 2010 (see report below).

Doesn’t the plan of holding a referendum sound a little disingenuous considering the fact that the Burmese generals continue to hold in prison hundreds, if not thousands, of pro-democracy activists, including Ms Aung San Suu Kyi?

And general elections in 2010? Why only in 2010 and not this year? On the off chance, could the dictators be trying to buy time to deflect attention and pressure from the international community? In fact, why not just hand back the power to those who were duly elected in 1990?

But of course the wayang, so ably performed by our foreign minister Mr George Yeo, needs to be kept up (see here also). The Singapore government, having shown utter contempt for our own Constitution, has absolutely no moral standing to comment on other governments vis-a-vis constitutional matters.

And referendums? Think merger with Malaysia when Barisan Sosialis leaders were imprisoned and ballots giving voters no choice. As for elections, heaven help the Burmese if they are conducted like those here.

The PAP Government welcoming the Burmese junta’s actions for democracy? More like a case of the proverbial pot endorsing the kettle.

Singapore buys into Burma “election”
11 Feb 08

Singapore said Sunday Burma’s plan to hold a constitutional referendum in May and general election in 2010 was a positive development.

The city-state, which holds the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, expressed the hope that the political process results in “peaceful national reconciliation,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The Burmese military junta, target of international criticism for its failure to turn over power to a democratically elected government in 1990, said Saturday the referendum would be held to approve a new constitution in May and democratic elections would be held in 2010.

The National League for Democracy party of Aung San Suu Kyi won the 1990 election, but the Nobel peace laureate was subsequently detained and placed under house arrest.

Last year the international community increased pressure on the junta to accelerate its plans for a return to democracy after authorities brutally suppressed non-violent pro-democracy protesters in September. At least 30 people were killed.

Singapore sharply criticised the regime. Asean, however, came under widespread criticism for not taking any action against Burma.

Asean includes Burma, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Burma has not had a constitution since the last one was scrapped in 1988 after the army crushed a democratic uprising by killing thousands of protesters.

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