Open letter to YB Teresa

Open letter to  YB Teresa

                           

Re: Teresa Kok Celebrated Elections Victory

Dear YB Teresa,

Thank you for the support you have given to the Burmese people and for your words that our Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is your icon.                         

I refrained from writing anything regarding the Malaysian Politics because I am scared of backlash. I used to write in Wikipedia, Burmese websites and my blog about Burma politics, Burmese History and about various groups of Muslims in Burma.

But your web heading, “Teresa Kok’s Celebrating Elections Victory” made me to comment that you are immature in politics and DSAI need to tame or train many of your DAPs to become the real Malaysian Politicians for all the Malaysians.

Yes, DSAI need to change the extremist PAS leaders also. If DSAI could achieve that, he could become the PM of Malaysia. If he could not tame the two extremities he would not be able to achieve his dreams.  

I totally agree with the following two commenters and wish to salute them from my bottom of the heart for their thoughtfulness and beautiful choice of words and ideas.

  1.  Sun Boy

Dr San Oo Aung, Burma.

TQ Teresa for the changes, salute you for the bravery and big heart. But I had sadly seen many AROGANT Chinese supporting to continue with the radical chauvanist stance and insulting the Muslims. Don’t forget that she was elected by the Muslim votes also.

If DAP continue with the CHINESE CHAUVANIST stance and PAS continue with the Islamic State, you all would be back as the oppositions with less than dozens of seats each in next election. Just look at the present reward of compromising and working together of DAP and PAS under the wise guidence of DSAI.

Becareful YB Teresa and opposition members! Maybe some of them are agent provocateurs trying to put a wedge between the oppositions. There must be mutual respect. Muslims must also need to show respect to other races.

Just because the father and son taking the donkey to the town story, if you think you should do whatever you like without listening to others comments, you could not survive for a long time or get the continued support of the people. Malaysia’s future may be not good if all the extremists do what ever they like.

Never mind the choice is yours, go ahead and insult each other like most of your commenters.

 

Dr San Oo Aung, Burma

 

Sun Boy wrote_

Teresa,
Just a word of friendly advice. There are many people read your blog, including Malays and Indians. With the title “Roasted Pigs” and picture of 5 pigs, I don’t think it is appropriate. You could just mention it in passing. You know what I mean. Please be a bit sensitive.

  • antares wrote_

    Sun Boy does have a point, Teresa. I saw your blogpost heading on the Malaysiakini site and was immediately aware that under the present circumstances when wounded egos and injured pride haven’t had time to heal the grotesque imagery of “5 roasted pigs” might be linked to the ignominy of 5 states “lost” and provoke unnecessary resentment. As one who is totally opposed to censorship it might seem strange that I would advise a degree of sensitivity here. However, now is as good a time as any for me to say my piece about the DAP. Since its inception after the divorce between Singapore and Malaysia in 1965, the party has been perceived as a branch of the PAP, a predominantly Chinese affair. Even today, the Rocket is still associated with Malaysian Chinese aspirations. When I was growing up in Batu Pahat (yes, Kit Siang and I are from the same kampong:-) there were hardly any Malays living in the urban areas, so I only ever mixed with Malay friends in school. Looking back, I never really understood the Malay psyche until I began living amongst the Orang Asli (the Temuan tribe used to be classified as Proto-Malays because they share the same genetic and linguistic origins, the only difference being they never embraced Islam). Each ethnic community has its own unique traits and each has its special qualities. Because of the racial politics symbolized by the formation of the original Alliance (now BN) with each component party representing a specific race, the last 50 years have seen little real progress in terms of a deep understanding and therefore unbreakable bonds amongst the various communities. In fact, my own parents were guilty of trying to pass on their own racial prejudices, though they failed miserably with me. For some reason I’ve always been attracted to darker complexions so I had many opportunities to forge close friendships with, initially, Indians and much later I began to appreciate the lovable qualities of the Malays – at least before that Megalomanic Mamak came along claiming to be more Malay than thou with his infamous ‘Malay Dilemma.’
    It was during the Mahathir era that the urbanized Melayu Baru was forged – a whole different species from the Malay of yesteryear who still lived in the rural areas amidst the bounty of nature. And as I came to love and celebrate the delightful differences of all the races, I also began to see more clearly where the stereotyping begins and where prejudice ends. The Malays value subtlety and self-effacement, while immigrant Chinese tend to be obtuse and noisy; and Indians are often regarded as emotional, addicted to melodrama. Well, stereotypes often contain a large degree of truth. When you love somebody you don’t see their quirks as “faults” but as “endearing qualities.” Coming back to the 5 roasted pigs: by making it the bold heading of the post, you were consciously or unconsciously drawing attention to DAP’s legendary pork-loving Chineseness. No doubt we have every right to enjoy our pork and brandy. But knowing full well that our neighbors may have a taboo against the things we love, we can at least as good neighbors be a wee bit more discreet, more sensitive to their dietary prohibitions. You wouldn’t, for example, hang a leg of beef in the porch if your next-door neighbor were devoutly Hindu, would you? That sort of behavior is asking for trouble and downright kasar. Now that the DAP is part of what we all hope is sustainable coalition with PKR and PAS – and you are no longer just an Opposition party, indeed, you have been given the mandate to form the next government of Malaysia (which would have happened if the BN hadn’t cheated, and thank heaven they did or the shock of DAP/PKR/PAS becoming the Federal Government overnight might well have destabilized the country).

  • Now, fate has mercifully given us all a bit of time to get accustomed to the idea of the Opposition becoming the Government (and vice versa) so when it actually happens we’ll manage okay! Getting back to the point: just as DAP wants to see PAS get off its Islamic high-horse, I feel everybody else would be overjoyed to see the DAP become less obtuse, a little less Ching-Chong Chinaman. That’s what happens when we merge cultures and beliefs to form a new synthesis called THE TRUE MALAYSIAN. Let’s take a cue from the new MB of Perlis, Nizar, who wasted no time winning the admiration of his constituents by making a speech in Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Tamil, English, and Malay within two days of his installation. DAP has so much to learn from PAS who have led Kelantan for 18 years.

  •  

  • Be fair to me, Kok tells critics

    Soon Li Tsin in Malaysiakini | Apr 15, 08 12:07pm
    As both Seputeh parliamentarian and Kinrara state assembly representative, Teresa Kok has had to deflect criticism that she has taken on too many political posts.

    She explains the situation in an interview and also talks about how she is managing the Selangor investment, industry and commerce portfolio.

    Tell us more about your state portfolio on investment, industry and commerce.

    teresa kok interview 140408 06My job is to put investors in contact with the business community, to understand their problems, assist them and woo them to put their investments in Selangor. As you know Selangor is an industrialised state and our economic growth rate (about 6.4 percent) is slightly higher than the national rate (6 percent).

    I have to learn about businesses, learn about economy and economic planning. It is not entirely new (to me) because I’ve learnt about investment and business from here and there. But this gives me the opportunity to know more about businesses in Malaysia and to be in touch with investors. So this is something new for me as I have been an activist for many years.

    What kind of investors have you been speaking to?

    At the moment I need to understand the whole state, the economic situation, all the projects carried out by the previous government. I have to understand what they have done in the past. Over the past few weeks I have been meeting business people, investors, and I appreciate those who voluntarily come to provide information and suggestions.

    But those who have touched me are those who told me that they (originally) had been planning to migrate and shift their capital abroad, but because of the change of government, they are prepared to stay back to give us a chance. I know those who say it to me genuinely think in that way. They have already lost hope in this country but this new scenario gives them hope.

    There is also a group of professionals who are ready to give the state government advice on how to revive abandoned housing projects. And they said they would do it free of charge. So I appreciate this kind of initiative from these group of professionals; this is what we need.

    We need to prove to Malaysians that this new (state) government can do better than the previous one – that we can garner more support from the business community and create a pro-business environment in the state. We hope to achieve higher economic growth and make (the) application (process) more efficient and clean.

    Have you encountered problems with civil servants or government agencies so far?

    So far, not really, because they see it as a change of bosses. Whatever we enquire, they give us full cooperation. So far so good, I should say.

    What about your relationship with the federal government?

    I have asked the SSIC (Selangor State Investment Centre) to arrange a meeting with Mida (Malaysian Industrial Development Industry) for two weeks already, I haven’t heard anything. (Laughs) Anyway, that day we had a state exco meeting and we approved sending our SSIC officer to join Mida and the minister’s trip to the United States, where our country has planned to participate at a car expo.

    muhyiddin yasin muhyiddin yassinWe can still work together but I wish to hear from them personally. I wish to be able to speak to (International Trade and Industry Ministry) Muhyiddin (Yassin, photo), and wish to have a closer relationship with Mida.

    What kind of industries are most people investing in?

    All sorts. Look at Selangor, we have so many industrial zones. To woo investors into Malaysia is very competitive. Since Malaysia has lost competitiveness to neighbouring countries, we have to work extra hard. Malaysians should understand that we need to woo hi-tech investors.

    teresa kok interview 140408 09If we still go back to manufacturing industry, we have import more foreign workers and provide all the facilities for investors, but Malaysians are not being employed. We will not benefit from the whole exercise. So it is time to go hi-tech and it is good for the country also.

    I’m most interested in environment or technology related to energy because I think this is the future. People are more concerned with the environment now especially with the rain, floods and haze. Also for investors from China, many of them are quite interested in the halal hub. They find the location is very good for them.

    There are more Middle Eastern people entering Malaysia and they have a rather good impression of Malaysia. They have more faith in our halal stamp than the one in China. It is actually a good move but we have to develop that.  

    How much time would you need to prove that the Pakatan Rakyat government is doing a better job than the previous government?

    I really have no idea. I can only say that in our closed-door dialogues with business people, they appear generally positive with the change of government. My business friend said the new government in Selangor can actually help the business sector cut costs – in the past they had to pay people at so many layers and after paying they still don’t get things done.

    What about red-tape? Is the state government cutting down on bureaucracy?

    The idea behind setting up the SSIC – by the previous state government – was to help investors cut red-tape. When foreign investors come to Malaysia, they need officers to help them run around. It is like a one-stop centre for investors when the prepare their project papers, whatever they need from land applications to getting hold of licences – the SICC officers will assist them to make their lives easier so they can quickly set up their factories and cut the red-tape.

    What are your views on the US-Malaysia free trade agreement (FTA) talks?

    fta free trade agreement and usa and malaysiaWe have been questioning it…we MPs (have had to) learn (about it) from NGOs. The government has not bothered to give a briefing to the MPs or state representatives. So everything is (under) OSA (Official Secrets Act). How are we going to form an opinion whether we are doing the right thing or not?

    Of course we know there some good things from the FTA (but) these are things that are making the government refuse to sign the agreement – that is, to have transparency and operations based on merit. But of course if I go on, it will touch on the NEP (New Economic Policy) and there will be another controversy so I better not go further than that. (Laughs)

    You have been criticised for contesting and winning both the Seputeh parliament and Kinrara state seat. You are also currently being seen as taking on too many posts and earning a substantial sum in allowances. What is your response?

    You must understand why in the March elections I walked the extra mile to contest in a state seat. Nobody expected us to be in the government, to be honest. So when things happen in that way, then you have to look at the DAP line-up in the state assembly. You have to look at their background and you know there are so many new faces in politics.

    The more qualified ones are in Parliament and I am one of the more senior politicians who is now a state rep. The choice (open to) the party to nominate exco members is in a way limited. You have to recognise this fact first. I read Malaysiakini and Dr Kua (Kia Soong)’s comments and felt it was very unfair to me and my colleagues.

    Going back to why I contested in Kinrara – the seat was seen as difficult to win by DAP Selangor. There was no strong leader or candidate who wanted to contest in that seat.

    So I was asked to use my reputation and my identity as a woman candidate to try to capture a state seat and strengthen the opposition force in the Selangor assembly. That was the intention. That made me walk the extra mile, spend extra money, hire extra people to help win that seat.

    When we won, the party had to choose who would become state exco members. Look at the background of the four who were nominated – Teng Chang Khim, Ronnie Liu, Ean Yong Hian Wah and me – three of us are the more senior ones.

    teresa kok interview 140408 01Now it came back to whether I should take the challenge or not. I’ve been in Parliament for two terms, I’m more senior in politics. I’m wearing two hats only – as state exco and MP.  What I can do now is to work harder.

    I need to work harder, spend more money and hire more assistants. Do you know how much is needed to maintain this office? I hire three staff-members. It costs me RM10,000 per month. My rental is RM1,000 plus, telephone bill RM1,000 plus, electricity comes up to RM600-700, and my three staff are paid RM2,000 plus.

    The Kinrara side has three full-time staff now. With all these expenses you can imagine how much I spend in maintaining my service centres. When people say that I earn more it’s very unfair.

    I remember when Dr Kua was a MP for Petaling Jaya, he didn’t hire any staff or assistants, how is he going to explain that when he accuses (us of) shortchanging the voters? I think he did not really do grassroots work or organise the people on the ground.

    I have high respect for Dr Kua, he has been my sifu (mentor) but some statements especially about the DAP (sound) somehow like a grudge against the party. I think this is very unhealthy; he has forgotten to analyse things in a more objective manner.

    Do you think Sungai Pinang assemblyperson Teng Chang Khim would have been more suitable as an exco member?

    Personally I would prefer Teng to be a state exco but we were only given three seats. The best we can do now is nominate him as a Speaker. In terms of protocol, the position is very high. The Speaker can direct the MB and excos to sit down, get up in the assembly. (Laughs) In terms of experience in the state assembly, Teng has the most experience.

    If you compare (it) to Western countries, the Speaker is a very powerful position. In the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi’s appointment is such an honour for the Democrats. It’s time for us to re-examine the power and position of the Speaker so see how we can make the Selangor assembly vibrant.

    What are your views about PAS deputy spiritual leader Dr Haron Din’s statement that PAS will amend the constitution and turn Malaysia into an Islamic state if it has control of the federal government?

    (Sighs) This is something that really makes us worried. Over the past 10 years that I have been working with PAS or PKR people, from reformasi until now, I have had no problem working with those leaders. We are very sincere, we can joke and work together. It is always statements like these that divide us and drive us apart.

    barisan rakyat pas pkr dapIn Perak, Penang and Selangor, we are trying to make ourselves better governments compared to the past and yet every alternate day we face a bad press – whether it’s about the pig farm issue or Islamic state or NEP.

    I’m sad that a lot of times, certain quarters have not been practical or understanding of a position that is so fragile. They are still talking about issues that can break us especially on Islamic state. So in the Malay press we have to deal with the pig farm issue and in the Chinese press, about the Islamic state. (Laughs)

    Can the parties reconcile their differences over such problems?

    It looks like individual party leaders need to sit down and find understanding of political realities. I believe that many Malays don’t want Malaysia to be an Islamic state, we have to recognise this fact first. Look at Sabah and Sarawak, they have so many non-Muslims there. We really hope we will not repeat the mistake of Barisan Alternatif (which preceded Pakatan Rakyat).

  • SOP for Political Crisis in Myanmar?

    SOP for Political Crisis in Myanmar? 

    Sit Mone’s thought

    WHY? WHY? WHY? THE Image may be subject to copyright?

    I GOT THE PERSONAL PERMISSION FROM SITMONE. SOME TIMES HE PUBLISH MY ARTICLE. BOTH OF US MUTUALLY AGREE TO ALLOW TO TAKE ANY THING. WE MUTUALLY COMMENTED RECIPROCALLY.

    WHO IS THE CLAVER PERSON PUTTING ALL THESE COPY RIGHTS FRAMES. JUST LOOK AT THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE ABOVE.

    (This post was written after reading the news of new Thai PM defending Military Junta of Burma after his successful visit to Nay Pyi Taw)

    Logjam or Political Emergency of Burma

    Logjam is deadlock, or impasse, or blockage, in simple English.

    It is political deadlock, and political emergency for Burma.

    That is the situation, which Burmese people are facing right now. Burmese blogosphere has been quiet for last few days without any breaking news and events.

    This blogger has a friend who is a Captain of Boeing 747. This blogger asked him what is the most exciting period for him in every flight? He said “during take off”.

    “Because SOP can not be applied successfully after exceeding certain speed limit”. The pilot could neither abort nor fly the plane if the plane malfunctions after exceeding certain speed limit while taking off from a runway.

    (Note: SOP = Standard Operating Procedure)

    flames1.jpg

    Brave Pilots of this Concorde Aircraft followed the SOP even though they new that no chance for them to survive! However avoided crash into populated area.

    SOP is standard operating procedure for any kind of Aircraft Emergencies for pilots.

    The medical doctors attending to medical emergencies also have to follow SOP. If the doctor fails to follow the SOP, he will face the law suit for negligence.

    Same scenario goes to a pilot who failed to follow the SOP, during Aircraft emergency.

    SOP is not for pilots or doctors only. Every institution has their own SOP after doing research, and observing repeated failures for generations.

    Burma is in political crisis.

    In other words, it is in Political Emergencies.

    • If a plane crashes due to a negligent pilot hundreds of people may die.
    • If a doctor fails to follow a SOP, a patient or few patients may die.
    • However, when a country is in Political Emergency and those who are governing the country fail to follow the SOP and negligent, Million of people will die or suffer for generations.

    What are the SOP or Standard Operating Procedures for Political Logjam for a Government?

    The Government must have_

    1. willingness to find the solution in all possible means. (Keeping all the option open).
    2. strong determination to sacrifice for the Country, with sincere and truthful love to the Motherland.
    3. the ability to avoid the Arrogance or stubboness
    4. and also the bravery to accept the responsibility
    5. a strong will and character to be free from the “Denial Syndrome”.

    (Denial Syndrome is normally seen in terminally ill patients who refused to accept that they are going to die)

    One may need courage to execute SOP, with clear vision for saving the lives, similar to a pilot of a malfunctioned plane, or a captain of a sinking ship. All of them are risking their lives while saving others.

    This blogger keeps on wondering whether the governing military Junta Generals of Burma are aware of standard operating procedures practiced by majority of the nations of this world while handling political crisis.

    Sit Mone

    Gambari diplomatically hiding his failure

     Gambari diplomatically hiding his failure

    Note: The heading is my own idea. But the following newspaper’s facts and idea are not contrary to my heading. 

    From what he has said and from what the military junta expressed to him during his third visit, United Nations Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari is unlikely to have achieved anything toward national reconciliation and democracy in military run Burma.

    The Nation, Published on March 13, 2008

    Gambari finished his latest visit to the troubled country on Monday, making a brief stopover in Singapore – but without meeting any officials of the current Asean chair, or the media. The reaction after the visit was different from his usual routine following his previous trips. For Burma affairs, nothing is top secret for the UN representative, unless he has nothing to say or nothing has been achieved.

    Gambari met many people during his stay in Burma from last Thursday to Monday, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he met twice this time, on Sunday and Monday. However, the details of their discussion are not yet known. Previously, Gambari rushed to tell the media whenever he got a statement from Aung San Suu Kyi that she was ready to talk with the junta over political reconciliation. The UN envoy then shuttled around the globe to tell the same thing to world leaders whom he expected to help him bring about a dialogue between Burma and those in Bangkok, Beijing and New Delhi.

    This time Gambari got a very tough assignment from his boss, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, to achieve a substantive dialogue between the junta and the opposition. Actually the authorities in the Burmese capital, Napyidaw were originally scheduled to welcome Gambari in April, but the secretary-general made a request to have his special envoy visit early.

    Gambari was allowed in, with permission for an extended stay, but the visit lasted only five days, as many of his requests for meetings were rejected.

    Prior to Gambari’s visit, UN chief Ban sent a letter in February to the paramount Burmese leader, Than Shwe requesting a five-point cooperation deal to help his special envoy achieve his mission. The junta later decided to dump all UN requests and even burnt them in public, allowing only the government mouthpiece, the New Light of Myanmar, to publicise the substance of the meeting between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) spokesman Kyaw Hsan and Gambari over the weekend. Kyaw Hsan told Gambari that the Burmese government would arrange for UN visitors at any time as proposed, but the establishment of a special office in Rangoon for Gambari was unnecessary since the UN already had many representatives in the country through whom Gambari could work.

    The second point, which Gambari championed before his visit, was to have inclusive participation in Burmese politics. But this was also dismissed by the junta. Kyaw Hsan said the new Burmese constitution had already been drafted and would not be amended any further. The draft bars those who are married to foreigners from participating in politics. More precisely, it prevents Aung San Suu Kyi from having any hope of being elected as the next Burmese leader.

    “It was Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy who decided not to participate in the constitution drafting. There cannot be any more ‘all-inclusiveness’ in this process,” Kyaw Hsan told Gambari.

    On the third point, Ban asked to have a credible, timeframe and all-inclusive discussion between the junta and Aung San Suu Kyi, including support by the UN.

    Kyaw Hsan simply replied that the National Convention – the constitution drafting body – is the most credible and all-inclusive political discussion forum.

    Now, discussions between the Minister for Information and Aung San Suu Kyi are under way in accordance with UN wishes. Than Shwe even could meet the opposition leader if Suu Kyi agrees to drop her demands for the continuance and extension of international sanctions against the junta. But as long as Aung San Suu Kyi maintains this stance, the dialogue cannot be productive, Kyaw Hsan said.

    On the demands for the release of political prisoners, the junta simply said that it has no political prisoners, but that those who are serving jail terms or are under other restrictions, including Aung San Suu Kyi, have violated the laws.

    The final UN point, a request to have an inclusive National Economic Forum for addressing economic and social affairs, and a cooperative mechanism for humanitarian assistance, was simply rejected as being “useless”, Kyaw San said.

    “If Your Excellency helps to lift economic sanctions, allow aid into the country, and approve loans, it might be more effective than the Economic Forum you propose. Giving assistance for poverty reduction while imposing sanctions will never produce the right solution,” he said.

    Kyaw Hsan also pointed out to Gambari that democracy developed in accordance with different contexts in different countries. He compared his constitution-making process with neighbouring Thailand.

    “Now, the Thai people have approved and started to practice a new constitution for Thailand. But none of the candidates of the People Power Party and the opposition Democrat Party had the right to participate in the [drafting] process. To make it clearer, in Iraq, Shi’ite militants who oppose the US, and Sunni militants who have links with al-Qaeda had no right to participate in the process of drafting a constitution. Similarly, in Afghanistan, the Taleban had no right to draft the constitution. We haven’t heard any objection to these events by those persons and organisations who are objecting to us. But with the drafting of the constitution in our country, many are criticising us and pointing out that certain persons are not among the representatives in the process. It is not reasonable,” he said.

    Gambari has no argument, as the UN has nothing to bargain with. He simply said he would convey the message to his boss, whom he would meet in Senegal this week.

    Supalak Ganjanakhundee

    The Nation

    Read United Nations Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari ‘s report here.

    Persistence and patience

    don’t pay in Burma

    The Nation: Regional neighbours need to exert more pressure on the junta to achieve political reconciliation

    When dealing with the Burmese junta, concerned parties, especially the UN and its special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, must be prepared for long and often futile negotiations and continual setbacks. Since 1988, those who have engaged Burma have had their faces slapped by the generals. Indeed, Gambari was snubbed again by the junta just a week ago. This has increasingly become the typical pattern of engagement with Burma. If anything, there is also a realisation that the junta is calling the shots and nothing can progress without its agreement. This is the saddest development since last September, when violence broke out on the streets of Rangoon and other cities. The whole world witnessed more atrocities committed by Burmese troops, who gunned down monks and other peaceful protestors. The international community led by the Western countries suddenly became more vociferous. The UN Security Council managed to talk a lot but there was no solution to the situation. Since then, Gambari has visited Burma three times but without any substantial progress being made. The junta leaders know the game plan very well. They know how to manipulate both Gambari and the good offices of the UN.

    Recently, the junta surprised the world with its announcement that there would be a national referendum on the new constitution in May, followed by a general election in 2010. But the electoral law bars any possible participation by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. With such a “roadmap”, the junta’s supporters have extra ammunition to further bolster the regime. Already, China and Asean have expressed support for this roadmap. Thailand is the most enthusiastic. Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej went out of his way last week to accommodate the regime, without knowing the full implications for Thailand.

    Without Thai support, the political reconciliation process in Burma will continue to stall – and thus work in favour of the junta. During the Surayud government, relations between the two countries were frozen. There were no new activities in the political or economic fields. However, with the formation of a new Thai government, the friendship has returned to normal. Severed economic links have been restored and Thailand is again willing to play second fiddle to Burma. With such an attitude, Thailand’s role in the Burmese crisis is turning into a travesty. Samak praised the regime after his visit to Rangoon. His comments revealed Thailand’s naivete and its leader’s foul mouth. Foreign Minister Noppadon Patama was no better. He said the situation in Burma is an internal matter and that Thailand does not support sanctions.

    Apparently, the UN is the only hope. But the treatment of Gambari during his last visit was unwarranted. While the UN is still the best hope to help end the impasse, it lacks teeth. One of the problems is that UNSC members are not acting together. Both Russia and China support the Burmese junta. Their positive contributions to the six-party peace talks have yet to be seen. The UNSC must now bridge the gap and come together with a unified view that the Burmese situation is a threat to regional peace and security. 

    It is interesting to note that all Thai leaders, including former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the current premier, are willing to make trade-offs with the Burmese generals. Given the current stalemate, there should be new initiatives to bolster the UN position. Within Asean, countries like Indonesia and Vietnam could do more. At one time, Indonesia under Suharto was considered an ideal model by the Burmese regime. But democratisation since 1998 has made Indonesia less attractive to the generals. Vietnam’s engagement with the West, and its successful economic development in the past two decades, has attracted the junta’s attention. Together with the UN, these countries could make a new impression on the junta. During the height of the Cambodian conflict in the 1980s, Indonesia helped break the deadlock, which subsequently led to the Paris peace talks. Maybe with a right combination of actors exerting pressure, things could move ahead in Burma.  

    The Nation