Myopia in Myanmar

MYANMAR is a strange country. The military-ruled country has decided to forgo its leadership of Southeast Asia’s economic and political grouping Asean, which it was supposed to get next year, acknowledging concerns of the bloc members about the possible retaliatory measures against by the West if the junta took over the Asean leadership. Therefore, Myanmar’s neighbours must have heaved a sigh of relief over Yangon’s decision yesterday.

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Published: Wed 27 Jul 2005, 10:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:45 PM

It is indeed interesting that the junta doesn’t mind forgoing the privilege of heading the Asean but is not prepared to relax its stranglehold over Myanmar. Thanks to its undemocratic policies and iron rule, the country has been cut off from the world for the past several years and struggling under economic and political sanctions.

There is no political freedom. Political leaders and activists including the National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi have been languishing behind the bars for nearly a decade. No respect whatever for human rights and civil liberties. Myanmar is easily one of the worst examples of a Stalinist state although the ideology that inspires such tyranny is long dead. While its neighbours like India, Thailand and China are taking long, decisive strides towards progress and prosperity, the Southeast Asian country remains hopelessly stuck in a time warp.

Is it not time yet for Myanmar’s junta to restore its ties with the rest of the world by restoring its people their freedom and dignity? Myanmar can end its isolation and suffering of its people by allowing them to choose their own leaders and do their own thing.

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