6th June, 2012
YANGON: Myanmar’s state media hailed Aung San Suu Kyi Monday as “the hope of Myanmar” and a leader alongside the president in a rare tribute to the democracy icon that urged the pair to “cooperate”.
In an article entitled “To the leaders who are the hope of Myanmar”, state mouthpiece the New Light of Myanmar said the future of the fast-reforming nation “depends completely” on Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein working together.
“Realising that the future of our people depends on the two leaders, president and Daw Aung Suu Kyi, they should cooperate based on mutual trust and understanding,” the article said.
But it urged them not to jeopardise a potential economic boom as the country opens up and to set aside “egoism and selfishness”.
Suu Kyi, who with Thein Sein was referred to as “visionary”, was afforded an unprecedented amount of print space in the newspaper, which has given only muted coverage to the opposition leader since her release from house arrest days after a controversial 2010 election.
The Nobel laureate, who was elected to parliament in April by-elections, returned to Myanmar on Sunday after travelling abroad for the first time in 24 years on a visit to Thailand that included addressing world business leaders in Bangkok and visiting Myanmar communities.
Suu Kyi had previously refused to leave Myanmar because of fears the previous junta would not allow her to return.
Her decision to travel overseas is seen as a key sign of confidence in changes that have swept the country under a new quasi-civilian government.
But Thein Sein’s unexplained cancellation of an official visit to Thailand during the same week raised concerns of a rift.
Addressing the Bangkok forum on Friday, Suu Kyi urged “healthy scepticism” over Myanmar’s dramatic reforms, saying only the rule of law can cement recent political progress and foster clean investment.
The New Light author said he was “relieved” that Suu Kyi’s focus on job-creating industries in her speech at the World Economic Forum on East Asia echoed the priorities of Energy Minister Than Htay, who represented Thein Sein at the event.
But the article raised concerns that Suu Kyi’s comments about Myanmar’s legal system and her exhortation to delegates not to be overly optimistic about the country’s progress, would “shut the door on purpose.”
The piece said the country’s dramatic changes had come about only when the democracy icon and president worked together, allowing people to “feel such hope and dream such dream”.
“It is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the history of the country. I am concerned that this golden opportunity will be lost,” the article said.