Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang SMC Png Eng Huat has called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to firmly condemn the ongoing military coup in Myanmar by means of strong words and cooperative sanctions.
In a Facebook post on Thursday (11 Mar), Mr Png, who is currently a member of the Workers’ Party (WP) Central Executive Committee, shared a recent viral photo of a kneeling nun pleading with the police in Myanmar not to harm protesters, noting that the picture is “just so touching”.
“My view of the military junta in Myanmar, as encapsulated in my letter to the Straits Times [ST] Forum in 2007, remains unchanged to this day,” he expressed.
On 27 October 2007, Mr Png wrote a letter to ST Forum – titled ‘Stop all arms sales to Myanmar‘ – calling for Singapore to cease all arms sales to the junta as a clear statement of outrage at its recent violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators.
He asserted that Singapore, being one of Myanmar’s top trading partners, should do more to pressure the junta to seriously work towards reconciliation and a peaceful resolution of the situation in the country.
Coming back to his Facebook post earlier today, Mr Png noted that years of constructive engagement by ASEAN had “failed miserably” with the military leaders of Myanmar back then, adding that it “still rings true today” given the current circumstances.
“We even named an orchid after a member of this ruthless regime, then General Thein Sein, when he came here for a visit in 2009. Dendrobium Thein Sein? Give me a break!” he remarked.
“Flowers are powerful symbols of love, peace, remembrance and appreciation; almost everything the military junta in Myanmar is not associated with!”
Mr Png went on to highlight the transgressions of the military junta in Myanmar over the past decades.
“The military rulers of Myanmar refused to give up power peacefully in the 1990 General Election, led a bloody crackdown on unarmed monks in 2007, and delayed aids to survivors of the 2008 deadly Cyclone Nargis,” he recounted.
Mr Png concluded his post saying, “I hope ASEAN will grow some spine this time around and join the free world to condemn the recent military coup in Myanmar, in strong words and cooperative sanctions, to stop the killing of innocent people there and to bring peace to the country and the region.”