Aung San Suu Kyi calls for close economic ties with Singapore in official visit

Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi speaking at the IE Singapore's global conversations conference at the Shangri-La Hotel on Nov 30, 2016.
Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi speaking at the IE Singapore's global conversations conference at the Shangri-La Hotel on Nov 30, 2016. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Myanmar has for a long time grappled with political issues, but state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said it is now looking to Singapore and the business community to help the country on the economic front.

"Politics and business cannot be separated, particularly at this time when we are trying to make our country not just united, but prosperous."

"Unless we can maintain peace, we cannot maintain prosperity. For that we look to you to advise us, and to make our country vibrant not just politically but economically."

Ms Suu Kyi made the remarks on Wednesday (Nov 30) at the International Enterprise Singapore Global Conversations business dialogue, held at the Shangri-la Hotel.

She is in Singapore for her first official visit since her appointment in March this year. Thirteen representatives from Singapore's business community were invited to meet with Ms Suu Kyi and her delegation to hear her speak about the Myanmar government's new investment law, which was passed recently.

In her 10-minute speech, she recounted that at the beginning of Singapore's independence, Singapore's former minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew had said that in 20 years' time, Singapore will have caught up with Myanmar.

 
 

"I think we have to change that a bit - in 20 years' time, Myanmar will have overtaken Singapore," she said with a smile.

"I hope you will help us to do that, because success in one part of the region, means success throughout the region and we have never found it difficult to engage with Singapore economically."

She also gave her thanks to Singapore for the "informal education that you have provided for many of our people, who have been working here for the last few decades".

She added that she was struck by the enthusiasm of the Burmese community here, who went to great lengths to cast their vote in Myanmar.

"It was the sense of responsibility that... pushed them to vote. Working in Singapore seems to have given them a sense of responsibility, and the initiative to get what they want for themselves."