Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at a rally in Arakan State
According to the Burmese government, Aung San Suu Kyi is a tax evader. The state-run newspaper The New Light of Myanmar, according to New York Times, stated that Aung San Suu Kyi had evaded taxes for the millions of dollars she has received for her work towards democracy in Burma (I tried looking for such articles in the Burmese language editions of The New Light and The Mirror, but could not find any–maybe they’ve been censored). These include the Nobel Prize and the Free Spirit prizes, each of which have monetary gifts of USD$1 million. Apparently, the government wants a share of the money Ms. Suu Kyi cannot spend. It’s ironic that the government would make such accusations, knowing that she won such awards through its oppression and unwillingness to transfer power to the Pyithu Hlutdaw (People’s Assembly). The government should be ashamed of even mentioning that it has the right to tap into the money she has earned, along with the accolades from the international community.
But, this accucastion is not new. In 1998, according to Agence France-Presse’s “Myanmar junta says Aung San Suu Kyi a bad mother and bad citizen”, Suu Kyi was accused of being a “foreigner” and “non-citizen” of Burma by the state media, even though the British embassy denied she is a British citizen. In AFP’s “Myanmar junta says Aung San Suu Kyi same as a child abuser”, the government-run media accused Suu Kyi of evading taxes. According to the article,
The tax official then went on to accuse Aung San Suu Kyi of breaching several tax and currency laws and saying she had received more than one million dollars in honorariums including the Nobel award.
And all the while, the government also claims that it is being lenient by imprisoning Suu Kyi in her own house, rather than in jail, as the ta-ya u-ba-dei (rule of law) dictates. She is being detained under laws passed by the military government in the 1990s, including the “Law to Safeguard the State Against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts” (shortened to State Protection Law, which allows the government to detain persons without a charge or trial) and an array of other laws.
But, I’m not surprised these accusations come at this time. ASEAN members, during the annual summit, have been trying to persuade Burma to release Aung San Suu Kyi, as have the international community and the UN. The government feels the need to muster up accuastory remarks to rebut, albeit a rudimentary one, on charges that Ms. Suu Kyi is breaching Burmese law (even though only a few years ago, the government considered Suu Kyi a foreign citizen).
Hypocrisy, pure and blatant hypocrisy, to the millions of Burmese who see the lifestyles of the rich and famous (namely the high-ranking military officials).