Thursday, October 25, 2007

ASEAN should stop passing the buck on Burma


The Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma released a briefer today.

The full report can be downloaded HERE.

The briefer asserts that ASEAN countries must exercise their substantial influence on Burma’s military leaders to secure the delivery of genuine political and economic reforms, instead of using China as an excuse for inaction. The briefer reveals that:

* Burma relies on petrol and diesel supplies from Malaysia and Singapore to keep business running and military vehicles on the road. The military is the biggest consumer of fuel.

* Burma relies on trade with ASEAN for 51.3% of foreign exchange revenue, with gas sales to Thailand alone accounting for 48.4% in 2005/06.

* Burma relies on Thailand and Singapore as their biggest sources of new Foreign Direct Investment, constituting a total of 98.61% of FDI in the past 2 years.

* Burma relies on Singapore’s financial services to store and move the wealth that they drain away from Burma.

The briefer recommends an ASEAN freeze or even a slowdown on economic, material, and diplomatic support in order to shepherd the regime to political dialogue and the achievement of genuine reforms. Action should include a temporary freeze on large Burmese-held bank accounts and other financial assets in Singapore as part of a money-laundering review.