Political Situation in Myanmar 2016Myanmar 2016 political situation
The political situation in Thailand was relatively quiet in 2015.
Asiatic assistance for democracy in Myanmar
Burma is in a new stage of an attempt at politicization. In the course of time, three local democratic regions - Indonesia, India and Japan - have taken some, albeit somewhat prudent, steps to promote this about-turn. The three great Asiatic democracies could help to strengthen Myanmar's policy and its new administration as they face the challenge of a burgeoning democrat.
Mahiko Ichihara is an Adjunct Fellow at Hitotsubashi University in Japan. In May 2016, the writers travelled to Yangon and Mandalay to evaluate how Indonesia, India and Japan are responding to this new stage and to what degree they support a dynamic democracy. You noted that these great Asiatic democracies are still prudent in helping the Myanmar democracy-supporters.
Although assistance to these developing nations is still in development, it is long dispersed and implicit. Greater assistance would be an important part of a smooth and smooth changeover in Myanmar. Myanmar interviews have identified a number of areas where these Asia based democracies could work together to enhance Myanmar's democracy-building. The National League for Democracy (NLD) won around 80 per cent of the controversial Myanmar parliamentary election in November 2015 and in March 2016 established a new state.
Forming an NLD administration is not in itself the emergence of it. Political leadership is still essential to the army. Myanmar's NLD's inexperience and weakness is also being put to the test by the Myanmar peacemaking and conciliation processes. Although the Burmese militia's peaceinitiative achieved a major leap forward by getting eight communities to signed a cease-fire deal in 2014, the peacemaking progress is now in ruins.
Is Ketut Putra Erawan is Managing Partner of the Institute for Peace and Democracy in Indonesia. Aung San Suu Kyi receives counsel from a few individuals; she is still a very personal politician and must be separated from her. Although this may contribute to policy instability, it gives rise to concerns that individual NGOs may have difficulties in performing a monitoring role.
NLD's far-reaching election win and Suu Kyi's inspirational return marks the beginning of a new age in Myanmar's difficult democratically path. In spite of their early failures, Suu Kyi's administration and Myanmar's small moves towards democratization require substantial backing, especially from Asia's diplomatic representatives. Indonesia, India, Japan and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) must increase their assistance to the delicate Myanmar relocation.
Myanmar's leadership is addressing Indonesia as the most important point of referral when trying to learn from recent changes in the democratisation process. Indonesia in particular provides Myanmar with an educational example of how to deal with variety and peace consolidation during a transitional period. But Indonesia has pursued a cautious, non-interventional approach to support and strengthen Myanmar's democracies.
Obviously, Myanmar's policy changes, such as the NLD's triumph in Indonesia and its politics and civic communities, have been well-respected. However, what Indonesia can or wants to do to push ahead with reform must be done with care. In 2007 Indonesia was already actively committed to promoting democracy change in Myanmar.
In the midst of the suppression of the revolution this year, Indonesia sent its pensioned General Agus Widjojojo to convince the regime to open a certain amount of maneuver. But it was only after the Thein Sein administration presented the seven-step democracy reform policy in 2011 that Indonesia became much clearer in its support for the Myanmar changeover.
Indonesia's leaders supported the junta's roadmap for reforms at a wide policy level and supported their ASEAN presidency in 2014. In 2008, the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), an NGO founded by the Indonesian parliament (which is currently led by one of the authors), was commissioned to plan and implement projects related to the Myanmar reforms.
IPD has worked with a number of Burma's partner organisations such as the Myanmar Peace Center and the Myanmar Development Resource Institute to exchange experience on the democratisation of Indonesia. IPD/Myanmar dialogue results are often agreed with governmental stakeholders (in particular the Indonesian and Myanmar Messages and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
Since Indonesia's emphasis is on the exchange of experiences and expertise, the most important way to help Indonesia Myanmar is to involve Burma's civil society players in the dialog. As the IPD does not seek to promote the exports of the Indonesian pattern, it has been able to engage in dialog on country reforms, which is one of the most delicate facets of Myanmar's incipient democratisation.
New Delhi's Aung San Suu Kyi's return has sped up India, but New Delhi's hands-on assistance is unlikely to keep up with Jakarta's for the now. India's interest can be seen in the important publishing room that its majorstream press have dedicated to Myanmar's policy-making. Suu Kyi's profound attachment to India - which included her studies in New Delhi in the 60s (when her mom was New Delhi ambassador) and the significant amount of face-to-face contact she has established over many years in India - has aroused enormous interest in the NLD's ascent to Indian clout.
There was little detail among respondents on the bigger issue of India's co-operation with other great Asiatic nations - especially ASEAN and Japan. Whilst Burma's stakeholder wants such co-ordination, India's Yangon Charga d'Affaires was sceptical about an agreement or coalition between asia. However, some Asiatic embassadors are discussing non-formal, common roadmaps to support Myanmar's transit.
Referring to the proactive co-operation between India and ASEAN, which softly encourages the Burmese regime to take democratic moves, India authorities noted that co-operation between the Asiatic forces should be taken into consideration. India wants a more co-ordinated approach in Myanmar as the United States and Europe relax sanction and Asia (Australia, India, Indonesia and Japan) actively work towards a democratic avenue.
Whilst the Japan Mission and JICA recognise the value of the democratic system, they do not believe in a doctrinal democratic stance. Rather, they consider it more important to have at least a stable and growing economy for the moment. For this reason, Japan has concentrated most of its assistance on the peacemaking processes with minority groups ($1 billion support), the economical and welfare infrastructures ($6).
The JICA is a development-oriented organisation that is not allowed to provide either civilian or civilian aid under Japan's government. Japan has, however, indirectly supported Myanmar's policy reforms. Each year, for example, Japan has provided grants to seventy former Myanmar soldiers to attend Japan postgraduate school.
Just as the United States has used Fulbright Fellowships as a soft-power instrument to give foreigners the opportunity to live in a democratic environment and become pro-democracy players, Japan's Fellowships for Myanmar officials can offer the opportunity to live in a democratic environment in Japan. MISIS Director said in an interviewee that Japan's assistance in the judicial sphere was particularly useful.
Since 2013, Japan has sent three specialists to the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Supreme Court to assist in the preparation of bills and to give legislative guidance on the business sector. The main proponent of the JICA office in Myanmar advocates supporting business-related law as a starting point for building a sound and autonomous judicial system.
However, in the area of the constitutional state, Japan does not propose assistance to increase citizens' accessibility to the judiciary. Burma's powerful advocate U Kyaw Myint stresses the need to help not only the Chinese authorities but also social players. Kyaw Myint founded the Yangon Judiciary Center, the University Medical Clinic and the Myanmar Litigation Aid Network, all of which teach basic knowledge in the fields of legality and ethical issues.
This is a great omission, bearing in mind that Japan's wider work in Myanmar should allow it to press ahead with more profound judiciary reforms. Also Japan could begin to assist policing reforms, possibly in cooperation with Indonesia. The Asian Barometer Survey on Myanmar of March 2016 found that citizens' confidence in the policing system is particularly wan.
From 2007 to 2012, Japan backed the country's efforts to democratically transform the country's policing system. That was of strong historical importance because, even after the division between policing and the army, the military tried to keep control of security matters. In Myanmar, the fact that both the present embassies of Japan and Indonesia are former policemen opens up the opportunity for tripartite co-operation on similar policing reforms.
Indonesia's embassador to Myanmar is seeking to start a collaborative effort to promote Burma's political system's efforts to promote political and social change. Overall, Japan has so far largely adopted a wait-and-see attitude in supporting democracies, while at the same time providing significant socio-economic backing. Whilst Japan is avoiding the term "democracy support" in its help, it could and should increase and begin to promote the judiciary and to assist policing overhaul.
Indonesia, India and Japan have a favourable attitude towards Myanmar's democratisation, but all are reluctant to support proactive promotion of democracies. They are probably still affected by their tradition of sovereign and non-interference standards and agree with a shared Asiatic view that domestic democracies should grow. Naturally, all three have a preference for neighboring governments, ranging from democracies to authorities, because they are seen as more dependable, accountable, transparent entities and more robust.
Indonesia, India and Japan have chosen to strengthen their infrastructures, provide technological and capacity-building support, engage in dialogues and improve services provision rather than press directly for a quicker and more far-reaching process of democratisation. Asia's emergence of strong Asian diplomacy could do much more in the face of the enormous challenge and difficulty that the Aung San Suu Kyi administration will face in managing Burma's democratisation.
As the present NLD administration wants more and more concrete help from its Asiatic colleagues to help its democratisation processes, the moment is right for Asiatic nations to reduce their barriers and double their effort to reinforce the fundamentals of Myanmar democratisation. Since Myanmar's own sensibility for interventions is diminishing somewhat, the three Asiatic democratic states examined here could work together to offer better and more focused outreach.
Whilst Japan has a lot of money and provides extensive aid, India and Indonesia can exchange their wealth of experience with democratisation and their knowledge of the issues of federalism, the division of powers, peace consolidation and ethnical reconstruction. It' s important that the three regimes push forward specific trilateral co-operation with much greater priority and generosity or run the risks of a worsening of the current favourable policy environment in Myanmar.
Mahiko Ichihara is an Adjunct Fellow at Hitotsubashi University in Japan. Is Ketut Putra Erawan is Managing Partner of the Institute for Peace and Democracy in Indonesia. It is the author's responsability to express the views contained in this paper. Investigation with the author and directors of the Sandhi Governance Institute, Yangon, Myanmar.
Richard C. Paddock, "Aung San Suu Kyi urges the US not to apply to Rohingya", New York Times, May 6, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/world/asia/myanmar-rohingya-aung-san-suu-kyi.html? 3 "Suu Kyi will be above the president when the NLD wins the elections in Myanmar," BBC News, 5 November 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34729659. Sister Shanahan Renshaw, "Democratic Transformation and Regional Institutions:
Myanmar et ASEAN ", Journal of Southeast Asian Affairs 32, n° 1 (janvier 2013) : 29-54. Congratulations to Myanmar on the official result of the elections in Myanmar", Indonesia Foreign Ministry, 24 November 2015, http://www.kemlu.go.id/en/berita/Pages/Indonesia-Congratulates-Myanmar-for-the-Official-Result-of-Myanmar-Election.aspx. RI's Silence on Myanmar," Jakarta Post, 12 November 2015, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/11/12/editorial-ri-s-silence-myanmar.html.
Seven author talks with the vice-chairman of MSISIS at the MSIS Bureau in Yangon; author talks with Yangon University faculty and teachers. Eight author talks with Ito Sumardi, the Embassy of Indonesia in Myanmar, in the Embassy of Indonesia in Yangon. Ten author's interviewee with B. Shyam, India's Charge of Affaires in Yangon.
This opinion was supported by a number of actors, among them a number of pensioned diplomats, peacemakers, scholars and Myanmar civil servants. Twelve "Indian Ambassador Talks Trade, Connectivity, and the'Dignity' of the Myanmar Election", Mizzima, 26 janvier 2016, http://www.mizzima.com/news-opinion/indian-ambassador-talks-trade-connectivity-and-%E2%80%98dignity%E2%80%98dignity%E2%80%99-myanmar-election. Aung San Suu Kyi announced her discontent during her 2012 trip to India.
Suu Kyi said of India's shift in attitude, which led to a strong relationship with the army junta: "I was sad that India had left us[NLD]. "See Tint Sue Kyi, "Aung San Suu Kyi's visitor to India: See Thant Myint-U, Where China Meet India for an outstanding illustration of China's impact in Myanmar:
16-Author-Evaluation with Harn Yawnghwe, Managing Editor of the Euro-Burma Office (EBO), Yangon. Seventeen author interviews with U Wynn Lwin, Myanmar's 1990s Indian envoy. eighteen author talks with MISIS, Yangon's Nyunt Maung Shein, MISIS Chair. You can find an outstanding abstracts of the Indian interconnectivity missions in Myanmar at Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury and Pratnashree Basu, India-Myanmar Connectivity:
Opportunities and Challanges (Kolkata, India: Observer Research Foundation, 2015), http://www.orfonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/IndiaMyanmar.pdf. Nineteen author interviews with B. Shyam, India's most affaire in Yangon; author interviews with Ambassador Nyunt Maung Shein, President of MISIS, Yangon. Contrary to Shyam's scepticism, the chair of MISIS was quite enthusiastic about the concept that Asiatic democracies should create a democratization bow to promote the transition to democratization in Myanmar and other regional states.
But since most Asian nations are afraid of adopting a clear attitude towards the projection of value, the concept would need a great deal of backing. Twenty author interviews with the main representatives of the JICA office in Myanmar. mofa.go.jp/s_sa/sea1/mm/page4e_000055. html; and "Japan's Assistant to Myanmar", March 2015, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mm.emb-japan.go.jp/profile/english/oda.html.
Twenty-two author interviews with the JICA office's executive secretary in Myanmar. Twenty-three Author Interactions with Ambassador Nyunt Maung Shein, President of MISIS, Yangon. Twenty-four interviews with the main representatives of the JICA office in Myanmar. Twenty-five authors-interview with U Kyaw Myint. 25 Bridget Welsh and Kai-Ping Huang, Myanmar's political claim and perception 2015 Asian Barometer Survey Report (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia:
The Strategic Information and Research Centre, 2016), http://www.asianbarometer.org/pdf/MyanmarReport2016.pdf. Answer: 27 Ambassador Ito Sumardi of Maiko Ichihara and I Ketut Putra Erawan.