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[ASIAN-BUSINESS] Doing business wit
- Subject: [ASIAN-BUSINESS] Doing business wit
- From: ider@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 00:05:00
Subject: [ASIAN-BUSINESS] Doing business with Burmese Junta.. (fwd)
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To engage in the virgin markets of Burma (Myanmar)?
Yes - No!!
Many managers have been in a dilemma.
We are reporting some in-depth material on Burma
so that you could conclude your own opinion whether
one should engage Burma in trade and thus bring the military
regime (SLORC) on negotiating table with democracy aspirants.
alternative ASEAN meeting
by U Tin Maung Win
Vice President, Democratic Alliance of Burma and
Member of the Presidium
National Council of the Union of Burma
Alternative ASEAN Conference
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I would like to begin my comments with an acknowledgement of thanks to
those activists in ASEAN states who have spoken out in support of the
struggle for democracy in Burma. The fact that we are meeting here today
is a measure of your success. On behalf of the Burmese people and
National Council of the Union of Burma, I thank you and am truly grateful
for your contributions to our efforts.
In the few minutes allotted for this presentation, allow me to highlight a
few points about our strategy to make democracy in Burma a reality.
Within the context of ASEAN and the international community, may I offer
some comments and make a few suggestio ns for your consideration.
I think we all share the vision of ASEAN as that of a community of young
democracies, joining together to attain mutual support and economic
development. We also understand that the current reality is far short of
our vision. And "Constructive Engagemen t" starkly reminds us of this gap
between the vision of tomorrow and the realities of today.
Before we can make our vision become a reality, we must first accurately
assess the current situation. Therefore, we should look deeply into the
situation that currently exists within Burma and ASEAN so that we may see
and correct some of the misconcepti ons and distortions to realise what is
truth and what is self-deception.
The whole premise behind ASEAN'S reluctance and belief, indeed, is its
refusal to condemn the reign of terror imposed upon the Burmese people by
the military dictatorship. "ASEAN does not want to 'interfere in the
internal affairs' of Burma".
Yet, when Singapore provides arms to Burma which is used to kill innocent
civilians, that is not defined as "interference". When NGOs speak out and
provide assistance to the hundreds of thousands of Burmese who are fleeing
genocide by the military junta, ASEAN defined as "interference". And when
tens of thousands of Burmese are forcefully relocated to resettle in
parched fields to make way for tourist related <strong>business</strong>,
ASEAN not defined
as "interference". ASEAN calls all of this "good <strong>business</strong>".
To ASEAN human rights and democracy are non-existent where the Burmese
populace is concerned, not to mention economic development of that
country. Their concern and priority is simple: <strong>business</strong> at
The truth is "Constructive Engagement" is neither constructive nor does it
benefit the peoples of the ASEAN or Burma. All is does is to stifle
Burma's capacity for long-term economic development. It is merely a
"fig-leaf" to camouflage the devious activ ities of the regional mafia
supported by authoritarian rulers.
Once we understand this truth about the deceptive "packaging" of the
Constructive Engagement policy, then we can understand the role the
generals in Rangoon play in this ASEAN arena.
Let me give you a brief example. SLORC is like a gang of thieves who had
taken over our home and property, then put up a "for sale" sign in the
yard while we are locked in the basement. When everything is sold they
jump on their motorbikes and leave tow n. What is disgusting is, the
buyer of our house and belongings in it are aware of our plight. And also
know that they are buying the stolen goods.
SLORC is an outlaw regime (by their own admission) which has seized
control of Burma, enslaved it's people, and placed the country's resources
on the market to international investors. The proceeds from these "fire
sale" transactions go directly in to th e pockets of the generals and
AN APPROACH FOR ASEAN.....
Forced labour, pillage and plunder is not an honoured tradition of Asians.
It is merely a policy practices by despised authoritarian rulers wherever
they exist. Today, SLORC is almost totally dependent upon ASEAN for its
To encourage the ASEAN governments to adopt policies supportive of
democratic reform in Burma, our task is as follows:-
* Make clear the distinction between people of ASEAN and the policies of
the elite which control their governments. There are indications that
some ASEAN governments are becoming sensitive to this gap between the
values of their citizens and the greed-ba sed policies of "Constructive
Engagement". We should explain our efforts to reach all the citizens of
ASEAN states to inform them about the deception of this policy.
* Identify by name those companies and individuals who, by investing in
Burma, are profiting from the suffering of the Burmese people and then
determine appropriate actions to encourage adoption of a policy of
* ASEAN investors need to be reminded of the risks associated with SLORC
at this critical time in the struggle for liberation against tyranny.
SLORC has declared war against our people. Investors who support SLORC
now are in a position to reap enormous profits if SLORC is victorious
against our people. At the same time they risk losing that investment
entirely and possibly losing investment opportunities in a new democratic
Burma of tomorrow.
CONFRONTING SLORC INTERNALLY.....
The political defiance strategy adopted by the Burmese pro-democracy
movement in it's internal struggle has proven to be effective. It is
progressively weakening SLORC sources of power. At the same time, it
remains non-violent and stands clearly on the moral high ground by seeking
only a transition to civilian democratic government in accordance with the
results of the 1990 elections. It does not seek revenge against SLORC
leaders, nor does it want to destroy the Burma army. It wants to change
the sys tem of government which corrupts those who serve it. These
objectives and non-violent strategy employed to achieve our goal has
contributed to the growing support we have received from certain member
countries of ASEAN. That is Thailand and the Philippi nes.
TO REINFORCE THE POLITICAL DEFIANCE STRATEGY, WE NEED TO.....
* Counter the attempts by SLORC to isolate the National League for
Democracy from the public. This can be achieved by more aggressiveness on
the part of the members of the NLD. And members of the NLD ( Liberated
Area ) to demonstrate that it can function without being dependent upon
the party headquarters in Rangoon. Importantly, our supporters in ASEAN
should continue to bear in mind our struggle for democracy.
* Keep the Burmese public better informed of the activities, policies and
announcement of the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) and the
world-wide democratic movement made up of Burmese expatriates. The NCUB is
a single organization which repr esents the entire opposition forces, made
up of the ethnic nationalities and Burmans against SLORC.
CONFRONTING SLORC INTERNATIONALLY....
The international strategy to expose SLORC's systematic corruption,
brutality and anti-democratic policies has been enormously successful in
documenting the illegitimacy of the military regime. Some ASEAN leaders
have become quite uncomfortable of late in openly supporting SLORC due to
these exposures. This strategy has also resulted in creating a precedent -
setting condemnation and sanctions which are the foundations for even
stronger international actions. We need the international community to
acceler ate these successful programmes.
PRIORITY FOR THIS INTERNATIONAL EFFORT SHOULD BE....
* To deny SLORC multi-national funding for infrastructure development
projects. Funding should be provided only when a " true " civilian
government is installed.
* To seek increased funding to support activities of Burmese pro-democracy
organizations within and without Burma.
* To ask our supporters in the United States to rally round the members of
congress of who are insisting that the administration implement sanctions
against Burma as authorized in the last congress.
* To ask members of the international press to visit the Karen National
Union (KNU) and Karenni National Progressive party (Karenni) areas along
the border to document the atrocities committed by SLORC against these
people, especially now that a major off ensive is underway.
SLORC is facing serious economic problems. Inflation is rampant.
Production of rice has hit near bottom. If the economic statistics
recently published by the US Embassy in Rangoon is correct, SLORC is
bankrupt and has depleted its foreign exchange res erves. All these
problems could only lead to further political instability.
Internationally, hardly a week goes by without some government or
organization, or the news media in Thailand, condemning SLORC for its
brutal oppressive policies against its people and their elected leaders.
Internally, the political defiance movement continues to strengthen in
spite of SLORC's attempts to crush it.
The carefully constructed "cease-fire" arrangements with many of the
ethnic groups are proving to be very fragile, with discontent becoming
clearly evident between the leaders who agreed to a cease-fire and the
people who continue to suffer from continuou s violations of the
There is growing resentment within the rank and file of the Burmese
military to carry out the extermination campaigns ordered by the generals
And, of course, there is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi whose courage and defiance
against the generals has placed the junta in a dilemma as whether to
silence her or not without feeling the wrath and condemnation of the
It is important, however, that we accelerate the pace on all fronts to
isolate the regime from its sources of power and to visibly strengthen
those organizations directly confronting SLORC inside Burma.
In conclusion, I believe the current multi-dimensional strategy adopted by
the Burmese pro-democracy movement and supported by the international
community and some member countries of ASEAN is very encouraging. SLORC
is feeling the impact of this. We hav e spent too long fighting on the
terms set by our opponent. Now, we have adopted a sound strategy and also
we have the ingredients for carrying out a successful strategic non-
violent struggle. This is the time to execute quickly and failure to do so
will leave our nation in chains for another generation.
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