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The Government’s responses over its dealings with the Burmese military regime are evasive, patronizing, and utterly devoid of substance.
Answers like “our defence sales have not been substantial”, “we will behave in a responsible manner”, and “‘arms sales have been carefully limited to items that are not suitable for countering civilian unrest” are like cotton-candy: sweet, puffy and full of air.
No verifiable facts were produced. What does Minister George Yeo mean by “substantial”, what is the Government’s definition of “responsible”, and pray tell what on earth is “carefully limited”?
If this passes off as “debate” in Parliament, then we are in deeper trouble than we think.
Why should we believe these bald assertions that the Government makes? Why does the Government not open the books of GLCs for scrutiny?
The authorities have been less than honest with the Singaporean people in this matter. For example, when allegations first surfaced that our funds, through the GIC which Mr Lee Kuan Yew runs, were linked to Burmese druglords through an investment fund called the Myanmar Fund, the PAP Government prevaricated in answering questions as to its involvement. (see http://www.singapore-window.org/11242nat.htm)
This is why general statements asseverating goodness in its dealings with the Burmese junta will not do. Singaporeans have the right to ask and are entitled to know details of what our involvement in Burma.
The more the Government avoids giving hard facts and figures, the more suspicions it raises and the more Singaporeans must press it for answers.
When our funds are used by a murderous regime that targets innocent civilians and peaceful protesters, a dollar is one too many.
Mr George Yeo needs to stop deluding himself and deceiving the people that the Government’s involvement in Burma is for “moral influence”. Considering that we hang small-time drug peddlers but deal with big-time Burmese druglords, Mr Yeo’s claim is a bit rich.
The SDP reiterates its stand: Singapore must stop selling arms of whatever nature to the regime in Burma, pull out our investments there and freeze the assets of the corrupt generals and druglords.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party