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Power's darker side

Capture of 'trafficker' leads to gunfight with guerillas 
Aung San Suu Kyi celebrates 1990 win 
Khin Nyunt, 31st in Asia Week's Power 50
THE ASIAWEEK POWER 50 (the dark side)
Recover state wealth hidden abroad, says opposition leader

South China Morning Post
Friday May 29 1998
Capture of 'trafficker' leads to gunfight with guerillas 

The arrest of a Burmese-based guerilla for drug trafficking in Thailand
triggered a cross-border shootout involving hundreds of people in which
four rebels died, police said yesterday. 
The guerilla's comrades opened fire on more than 200 Thai soldiers, police
and "volunteers" after the 15-year-old soldier was arrested. 
Police said the shootout raged on both sides of the Thai-Burmese border
for more than half an hour on Tuesday night, leaving four guerillas dead
and one policeman injured. 
The conflict erupted when a soldier from the pro-Rangoon Democratic Karen
Buddhist Army was found allegedly selling amphetamines on the Thai side of
the border. 
It ended after a Thai village headman contacted the guerillas by radio and
promised peace talks in exchange for a ceasefire. 
A delegation of three Thai officials went to the guerillas' camp on
Wednesday to negotiate a peace deal. They were promptly taken hostage,
with the fighters demanding the release of the youth. 
The arrested boy was released on Wednesday afternoon in exchange for the
three Thai officials, police said. 
But Thai military sources in the area denied the youth had been released,
saying he had broken Thai law and would be punished accordingly.

The Straits Time
MAY 28 1998 
Aung San Suu Kyi celebrates 1990 win 
YANGON -- More than 400 people gathered yesterday at the residence of
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after a surprise move by the
government to allow her party's celebration of its overturned 1990
election victory. 
Amid tight security and an added deployment of riot police, more than 400
opposition members, including 40 National League for Democracy (NLD)
members of Parliament and a host of diplomats, attended the ceremony,
witnesses said. 
In a speech delivered to the crowd, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD's leader,
saluted Myanmar's ruling military for allowing the commemoration. 
"The very fact that this anniversary gathering has come about is not only
a victory for the NLD, but also for the military authorities," she said.
"I salute their courage." 
Myanmar's opposition won a landslide victory in polls held on May 27,
1990, but the government did not recognise the result. AFP 

Asia Week (May 29, 1998)
31 Khin Nyunt 
BORN Oct 11, 1939, Kyauktan, Myanmar 
EDUCATION Military academy, Yangon 
FAMILY Married, two sons and one daughter 
ADDRESS Office of Strategic Studies, Ministry of Defense, Yangon 
POWER POINTS The pragmatic Lt.-Gen. Khin Nyunt re-emerged as the leading
policy-maker of the ruling junta since Myanmar's admission to ASEAN last
year. While regional leaders hope he will accelerate economic and
political reforms, as intelligence chief Khin Nyunt keeps a close eye on
his opponents.

Asia Week (May 29, 1998)
Power's Darker Sides
By Roger Mitton 

VILLAINS ARE OFTEN MORE interesting than heroes, and Asia has had its
share of baddies in the past half-century. The following is an eclectic
(and decidedly subjective) list of Asian leaders who wielded their clout
in a way detrimental to their people. Some stand as convicted criminals,
others bumbling buffoons, a few plain bonkers. Each is rated from *
(benignly bad) to ***** (Satan's agent). Despot Pol Pot is excluded, since
he belongs in a separate category with the likes of Hitler. 
Cambodia: Lon Nol (1970-75). Seizing power with U.S. backing, he led the
country down the tubes, instituting pogroms against ethnic Vietnamese,
shackling the media and taking venality and corruption to new heights.
Fled into exile in 1975 as the nation was engulfed in savagery and taken
over by the Khmer Rouge. *** 
China: No shortage of candidates, but among the worst was Mao Zedong
(1949-76) for the disastrous final 20 years of his rule. The most
prominent of his debacles during that time: the Great Leap Forward, which
reversed industrial and agricultural progress and caused widespread
famine; and the Cultural Revolution, which decimated the country's best
and brightest and caused appalling and unnecessary hardship to millions of
Chinese. Not until after Mao's death, when the formerly vilified Deng
Xiaoping was able to return to power, did China begin to recover and show
its real potential. **** 
India: Asia's other sleeping giant has only recently begun to wake up from
the torpor induced by a series of lackluster governments. But really the
country started out on the wrong foot due to the misguided leadership of
Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-64). Shackled by notions of Fabian socialism and
non-alignment bordering on xenophobia and outright antipathy to
profit-seekers, this sainted champion of freedom and Third World dignity
kept India down in the dirt for 40 years. At least he was a democrat and
tolerated opposition. ** 
Japan: For sheer bald-faced corruption, Tanaka Kakuei (1972-74) takes the
cake. Indicted and convicted of massive bribery in the Lockheed scandal,
the ruthless Tanaka was a real Mafioso-type godfather who, even out of
office, wielded more power than most premiers did in office. **** 
South Korea: Chun Doo Hwan (1980-88) bests any recent Korean leader in
venality and corruption, not to say brutality and repression. Such was the
public antipathy toward him that after leaving office, he was forced to
apologize and later brought to trial. Narrowly escaped a death sentence.
Myanmar: No real contest - Ne Win (1958-60, 1962-88) wins hands down. With
the same kind of barmy arrogance that characterized the likes of Mao and
Nehru, this Burmese general imposed an idiosyncratic form of economic and
political isolation on his nation and kept the place in an impoverished
time warp that persists to this day. Thankfully, he saw the light in 1988
and stepped down - but only to give way to a bunch of fellow generals who
have done little better. ***** 
Philippines: Ferdinand Marcos (1965-86). What can you say about a guy who
held power for so long by means fair and foul? He initially maintained
stability but then precipitated instability and unrest. He was elected
democratically twice but later banished democracy by imposing a brutal
form of martial law. He elevated corruption to new heights and siphoned
off much of his country's wealth as it degenerated into economic and
political stagnation. Not a nice guy. ***** 
Thailand: Of the thieves and gangsters who ruled the country in recent
years, Banharn Silapa-archa (1995-96) is the one with the edge for
combining bumbling ineptitude with an unsavory reputation for all that is
bad in Thai politics. Still, his eminently forgettable and thankfully
brief administration contributed to Thailand adopting a new Constitution
designed to avoid such governments. Even the bad can bring good. * 
The worst of the lot? Perhaps a toss-up between Mao and Nehru who, though
well-intentioned, kept Asia's two giants backward for so long. This
towering duo, whose stars are undimmed in their own countries, are likely
to be judged by history as frustrating amalgams of good and bad. They were
the best of leaders, they were the worst of leaders.

The Straits Time
MAY 28 1998 
Recover state wealth hidden abroad, says opposition leader 
JAKARTA -- Indonesia's vocal opposition leader Amien Rais has called for
an independent body to locate and recover state wealth unlawfully
appropriated and taken out of the country "by certain families", a report
said yesterday. "Various assets abroad, which are in the possession of
certain families, should be frozen," he was quoted by the Antara news
agency as having said in Jember, East Java. 
He said the government should "seek to ask advanced countries which have
banks holding the wealth of Indonesian families obtained through unclean
ways to freeze them". 
The leader of the 28-million-strong Muhammadiyah Islamic movement said
several countries had been successful in recovering wealth embezzled by
their former leaders. 
The recovered money had then been used for the prosperity of the people,
according to Mr Rais. 
It was the duty of the government of new Indonesian President B.J. Habibie
to set up an independent team to go after the hidden wealth, he said. 
The President was quoted by another opposition leader, lawyer Adnan Buyung
Nasution, as having demanded the public provide proof of alleged wealth
and extensive business interests linked to him and his family, the Kompas
daily said. 
A list, circulated among the opposition, cited Dr Habibie and his family
as being involved in 59 businesses in fields such as the chemical
industry, trade, construction, telecommunication, real estate, tourism and
transportation sectors, Kompas said. 
Dr Habibie took over as President of the world's fourth-largest nation
after his mentor, veteran leader Suharto, stepped down last week, bowing
to months of growing popular pressure for his resignation. 
The daily also said that two Muslim youth and student groups had called on
Dr Habibie, formerly Mr Suharto's Vice-President, to disclose his personal
wealth as well as that of his family as part of his government's announced
drive to fight corruption, collusion and nepotism. 
The extensive business interests and growing grip on the economy by Mr
Suharto's family was one of the key factors in his downfall. AFP 

The Nation (May 29, 1998) Breaking News
Canada calls for democracy in Myanmar 

Yours sincerely,
Kyaw Zay Ya

"If you give a man a fish, he will have a meal. 
 If you teach him to fish, he will have a living. 
 If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed. 
 If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. 
 If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people. 
 By sowing a seed once, you will harvest once. 
 By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold. 
 By educating the people, you will harvest one hundredfold."  (ANONYMOUS

("If it is not broken, don't fix it" leads to the worst situation.)