Help, not crush, Myanmar Military (to reform)

Help, not crush, Myanmar Military

(to reform)

Malaysiakini news by Soon Li Tsin

Dear Malaysiakini, reporter and Malaysiakini readers, please may all of you kindly allow me to dream as if this event is about Burma, Burmese researcher writing a book on Myanmar Military e.t.c.. I have dreamt about having an interview with DSAI and wrote more than half a dozen of articles on that subject. Please, kindly allow me to continue to dream on . . .

Modified and edited the news, “Author: Help, not crush, Umno” by Soon Li Tsin in the Malaysiakini .

I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original news article. I hope that Soon Li Tsin and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

Author and academician Dr Ooi Kee Beng said Myanmar Military should be assisted (to reform) and not crushed in its attempt to reform itself.

Launching his book entitled ‘Lost in Transition: Myanmar under Military Dictatorship’ yesterday, Ooi (photo) expressed concern over the future of Myanmar Military which may resort to fascism.

“Myanmar Military is like (Taiwan’s) Kuomintang (KMT) and other parties in the region who were responsible for independence and a lot of these parties had to reform itself like the KMT – a once dictatorial party is a totally a new party today with the same name.

“It is not given that if Myanmar Military reforms itself, it would reform like how KMT did – meaning liberalize and play the democratic game. Fascism is always close at hand.

“We don’t want that to be encouraged. We should work to not crush Myanmar Military but help it along in its reforming process,” he told the audience.

The book is a compilation of articles written by Ooi – who is a fellow at the Institute of South East Asian studies in Singapore – on SPDC Myanmar Military Junta’s governance in the last twenty years.

It is a follow up to his 2006 book, ‘Era of Transition: Myanmar After General Ne Win’ which analysed Myanmar Military and tests faced by SPDC Junta Senior General Than Shwe after taking over his predecessors General Ne Win and General Saw Maung.

Asked to explain the message in his new book, he said: “It was what I felt when I put the book together at the end of last year, that something very important was lost.

“There was hope that Myanmar could develop itself in a proper manner and we were actually already on the slippery slope and we did not see any force that could stop it,” he described.

Two main challenges

During the panel discussion, Centre for Public Initiatives Director Dr Lim Teck Ghee highlighted two main challenges for Sr General Than Shwe in light of the recent Safron Revolution and the alleged internal feud currently taking place in Myanmar Military.

“One that is most crucial is that he has to battle and isolate the extremists elements within Myanmar Military and its many faceless supporters in the Kyant Phut, Swan Arrshin, ex-Military associations, the civil service and the Myanmar community.

“These are elements that are paved with revenge – launched in a campaign that is sometimes quiet and sometimes quite loud – racial-baiting and incitement,” he explained.

“(The) second challenge is to move firmly and quickly on building a good working relationship with the NLD, Ethnic Minorities, Religious Minorities and together in taking on the scourge of corruption,” he added.

The former World Bank economist noted that Myanmar Military Generals should declare their assets, introduce policy reforms and a merit-based system in order to change the country’s economic performance.

“In theory these they should lead the way to an economic revitalization for Myanmar. The Military and ex-military (U Paine) hold more than 60 per cent of the gross national product (GNP). Investors all over the world place importance on transparency, accountability and efficiency, once they could form an Interim Government with the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led opposition.” he said.

However he warned that the Myanmar Military can derail the true democratization by using military and its affiliated associations’ machinery, state funding and the civil service to play the “revenge, obstructionist or spoilers game”.

“I’m worried. So far the Myanmar Military has used it’s military apparatus and resources and are bent on punishing the opposition as we’ve seen from the 8888 Revolution, Depayin Massacre and Saffron Revolution to the arresting of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD leaders, Ethnic Minority leaders, 88 Generation Student leaders, monks and unarmed protesting civilians” he said.

Meanwhile, Ong said he would deliberate on setting up the fair and square, truly democratic election system despite calls from the opposition to boycott it.

Lim was joined by Malaysiakini’s editor-in-chief Steven Gan and Ooi during the panel discussion.

The book launch was officiated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and was attended by about 8888 people.

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