Aung San Suu Kyi to international community: Temper optimism

Aung San Suu Kyi, chairman of the National League for Democracy, speaks at the World Economic Forum on East Asian in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo by: Sikarin Thanachaiary / World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA

Key opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has two words of advice for donors and groups looking to re-engage with Myanmar: healthy skepticism.

“These days I am coming across what I call reckless optimism,” Suu Kyi said at a World Economic Forum event in Bangkok, Thailand. “A little bit of healthy skepticism I think is in order.”

This is not the first time Suu Kyi, who recently secured a seat in the Myanmar parliament, has urged the international community to be cautious in its response to ongoing pro-democracy reforms in Myanmar. But it is the first time she voiced the warning on foreign soil. Suu Kyi’s appearance at the WEF event in Bangkok is her first trip out of Myanmar in 24 years.

In her speech, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said the transition process in Myanmar is still in the early stages despite a blanket of reforms implemented by the nominally civilian government. Myanmar has secured a number of aid pledges and commitments from key donors in light of these reforms.

Suu Kyi also shared her thoughts on how the international community can help Myanmar. In particular, she identified what she thinks are the country’s priority needs: education, infrastructure and electricity.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.