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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Not above the law

ဒီကိစၥကို ၾကားေနရတာ ၾကာပါၿပီ။ ျမန္မာဘေလာ့ေတြမွာလည္း အဲဒါကို ေဆြးေႏြးၾက ေ၀ဖန္အႀကံျပဳ ေရးသားၾကတာေတြကိုလည္း ဖတ္ရွဳရပါတယ္။ စလံုးအစိုးရအေနနဲ႕ ခိုင္လံုတဲ့ အေၾကာင္းျပခ်က္ တစ္စံုတစ္ရာ မျပပဲ သက္တမ္းတိုးမေပးတဲ့အတြက္ ျမန္မာအေရးလႈပ္ရွားသူေတြအေနနဲ႕သတင္းစာရွင္းလင္းပြဲေတြ လုပ္ၿပီး ေျဖရွင္းေပးဖို႕ ေတာင္းဆိုခဲ့ၾကေသးတယ္။ အခုေတာ့ စေနေန႕ထုတ္ သတင္းစာမွာ ျပည္ထဲေရး၀န္ႀကီးဌာနက ေျဖရွင္းခ်က္ ေပးပါၿပီ။ ထင္ထားတဲ့အတိုင္းပါပဲ။ စလံုးအစိုးရဘက္ကေတာ့ ထံုးစံအတုိင္း ဥပေဒအထက္မွာ ဘယ္သူမွ မရွိေစရမူကို ကိုင္စြဲၿပီး ေခ်ပသြားပါတယ္။ ေနာက္ဆံုးေတာ့လည္း ဒီဘူတာပဲ ဆိုက္ရတာပါပဲေလ။

Myanmar activists not above the law
(By Sue-Ann Chia)

They have persistently ignored police warning in the past year, says MHA

Some Myanmar nationals involved in political activism here believe that they are above Singapore laws, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said yesterday.

It said foreigners who works, study or live here must "respect the law and local sensitivities in Singapore".

"The police and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) have no objection to members of the Myanmar community in Singapore pursuing their political activities so long as they abide by our laws," a ministry spokesman told The Straits Times.

"Indeed, the police have approved and facilitated many such activities conducted through lawful means."

His statement was in response to a group of Myanmar nationals who held a media conference yesterday, the second in three weeks, to press the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to reveal why it did not renew the passes for six of them.

The spokesman singled out the Overseas Burmese Patriots (OBP) - a loose grouping of about 50 Myanmar nationals - and noted that it is one of a number of groups that organized activities to express their concerns about the situation in Myanmar.

But unlike other Myanmar groups "which have conducted their activities in a lawful manner, the OBP has chosen to do so in open and persistent defiance of our laws", the spokesman said,

There are about 30,000 Myanmar nationals living in Singapore.

MHA said OBP members have been investigated by the police for staging a number of illegal protests.

"The authorities have chosen to issue several of them with a warning for their offences instead of prosecution so as to give them a second chance. Regrettably, this leniency is not appreciated," it said.

Some individuals in the OBP "continue to maintain a position that suggests they see themselves being above the law which Singaporeans observe," it added.

Members not only ignored repeated police advice to act within Singapore's laws, but also ignored requests from government officials to meet to discuss the group's conduct.

At the press conference, OBP spokesman Myo Myint Maung confirmed that of the six whose passes were not renewed, five had taken part in a public protest last November.

The sixth person was in the vicinity of the protest in Orchard Road.

"We do have a suspicion that the rationale for the rejections might be because of the protests and our activities," he said.

The press conference was attended by political activists, bloggers and opposition party members.

Some of OBP's activities include what Mr Myo called a "peaceful protest" in Orchard Road during the Asean Summit last November, and the "Vote No" campaign to protest against Myanmar's new Constitution in April and May this year.

Since last month, at least six of the Myanmar nationals did not get their visas or permits renewed or extended by the ICA and Manpower Ministry.

The two agencies, in line with existing policy, did not give reasons.

At the press conference, Mr. Myo, 23, a business undergraduate, identified four of the six, saying one was a permanent resident here for eight years.

He insisted that all six had not committed any crimes, even though some were issued a stern warning by the police for their activities, which advocate political change in Myanmar.

To him, this meant the activities "were not unlawful enough to put us to court".

The ministry spokesman, in addressing this point, said: "The right of a foreign national to work or stay in Singapore is not a matter of entitlement or a right to be secured by political demand and public pressure."

Saturday, August 23 2008, Page B7

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