This is our only Home. We want to engage society actively and constructively. Only by asking the right questions can we arrive at the correct answers.
There is no need for fear as we are only doing what we must. To be apathetic is to be selfish and derelict in our duty to our children and our children's children!
Huang Shoou Chyuan
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Burma fools the world (again)
Burma makes a fool of the international community once again.
It now has a draft constitution which more or less says, “ Anyone who is named Aung San Suu Kyi cannot participate in the 2010 elections.”
Okay, it actually stipulates that anyone who is married to a foreigner (even if the latter has long died) or who have children who are not Burma nationals cannot take part in domestic politics.
All these tailor-made laws and constitutions have a déjà vu effect about it.
Deja vu effect (or history repeating itself)
Now, let me think.... what does all this tinkering of the country’s laws remind me of?
Hey, isn’t it a real coincidence that the Malaysian elections has been hastily fixed for early Mar 08? Do you guys think early elections was called because the Malaysian economy is booming and the Barisan Nasional is confident of getting an overwhelming mandate from all the ethnic races- including from the Indians? And the electorate has forgotten how well their Health Minister Dr.Chua has performed ( in and out of bed)?
Or do you think that former deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim’s automatic disqualification till later in Mar 08 has anything to do with the election date?
Before I am accused of being arrogant and of belittling our ASEAN neighbours, let me be fair and state that such dastardly actions are not unknown on our own very shores. Really!
But I am getting old and my memory is fading... was it at our general elections when the polling date coincided with the disqualification period of some opposition politician? Someone please jolt my memory- was it JBJ ( again) or someone else?
Anyway it just goes to show that in the politics of this neck of the woods, the incumbent party always tries all tricks ( legal or otherwise) to stay in power! Like someone famously said, their job is not to help the opposition win!
ASEAN’s reaction ( or not) to Burma’s action
Going back to Burma’s situation, I do not think that Foreign Minister George Yeo’s statement,” But this is their own country, this is their own history, what can we do about it?" is particularly helpful to the cause of justice.
He could at least say, “Hey, if you continue like this, I don’t "friend" you!” or in diplomatic-speak, “ Burma’s actions are anachronistic and ASEAN and the rest of the international community cannot be expected to stand idly by while you continue to .... blah blah”
Sigh, in the real world, bad people continue to do bad things and the rest of the world just look away!
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” Edmund Burke
By S. Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia Posted: 20 February 2008 0220 hrs
Myanmar citizens who have a foreign husband and whose children are not Myanmar nationals cannot take part in domestic politics.
This is the regulation stipulated by the country's new Constitution.
Myanmar's Foreign Minister Nyan Win gave this update when he briefed ASEAN foreign ministers at their retreat in Singapore on Tuesday, according to Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo who spoke to the media.
Mr Yeo was responding to a question on whether the Myanmar minister had given any indication if opposition leader Aung Syan Syu Kyi can take take part in the country's elections which is slated to be held in 2010.
According to Mr Nyan Win, this eligibility criteria has been around since 1974 and would be carried forward in the new Constitution.
Mr Yeo said "We (the ASEAN Foreign Ministers) expressed our views on this. It is not keeping with the times that certainly such a provision would be very odd in any other country in ASEAN. But this is their own country, this is their own history, what can we do about it?"
Separately, ASEAN's Foreign Ministers attending the informal retreat are due to spend the greater part of Wednesday discussing how members are implementing the ASEAN Charter.
Mr George Yeo, who is currently the ASEAN's Chair said, before getting down to discussions, Malaysia, Laos and Brunei will hand over documents to the ASEAN Secretary-General as their respective countries had completed ratifying the ASEAN Charter.
This brings the number of ASEAN member countries who have ratified the Charter to four, including Singapore.
Singapore was the first to hand over the documents to the new Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan in Jakarta.
Observers say a top priority for ASEAN now is to set up a dispute settlement mechanism, as spelt out in the Charter.
Such a mechanism already exists to deal with disputes in the economic arena.
Another aspect of the Charter that has drawn much interest is the ASEAN Human Rights Body.
The terms of reference for this body has to be worked out and there's a committee looking into this matter.
All ASEAN Foreign Ministers are attending the two-day retreat in Singapore, except Malaysia's Syed Hamid Albar.
He is busy with preparations for the upcoming general elections.
Mr Syed Hamid is represented by the Secretary-General of Malaysia's Foreign Affairs Ministry. - CNA/de