We have to start with rule of law: Suu Kyi

We have to start with rule of law: Suu Kyi

SINGAPORE - Myanmar opposition leader and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi gave her first public speech in Singapore on Saturday.

She also took several questions from the audience at the two-day Singapore Summit, such as whether the reforms in Myanmar face the danger of backsliding.

Here are excerpts from her responses:

Q: How do you see Myanmar handling the Rohingya issue and can ASEAN be of help in resolving this?

It is one of the most difficult issues we've had to face in recent years. We have to start with rule of law. That is what I've always said, and people are not satisfied with the answer because it is not exciting enough. Without peace and security, we cannot get people with differences to sit down and work out an acceptable answer.

So, what we would like ASEAN and the world to do for us is to be more understanding of our problem, be more aware of the nuances of the problem, and not just see it as Muslims against Buddhists. It is not that. It is a matter of fear.

You can help us to overcome the fear by giving us your understanding, by trying to go deeper into the reasons why this communal conflict has taken place. It is not as simple as this community hates that community, or this community wants to destroy that community.

Please study the situation in depth. Please don't take a superficial look at it and try to condemn one community or the other. That will not help us to achieve the peace and understanding that we need so much.

Q: Should investors wait for conditions in Myanmar to improve, or should they start some activity in the hope that the rest of the regulatory, legal and political systems catch up?

I would like you to continue with your investments, but to make them as responsible as possible. We should not wait for the perfect moment, but work towards perfection. So please go on with your investment, but please do it with a human heart.

Q: How real is the prospect of backsliding in Myanmar's reforms?

Backsliding is something people always ask me about. If we are not to backslide, we do need to change the Constitution. This Constitution is not democratic. We have to amend it.

More and more, our government, like governments all over the world, is susceptible to international opinion. You can help prevent us from backsliding by insisting on certain standards that are recognised as necessary in a democratic society.



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