PAP MP Charles Chong: ASEAN should consider Burma expulsion
‘ASEAN has failed to influence Burma in any way,’ Chong said. ‘ASEAN must consider, regretfully, suspending Burma from the association.’
Although he later made clear he was speaking for himself and not for the Singapore government, Chong’s statement adds to a growing chorus in the region that Burma is going overboard by seeking to extend Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest. This isn’t the first time Chong has taken a position opposing that of the Singapore government’s. In 2007, he gave a speech in the (largely rubber-stamping) Parliament supporting the repeal of Section 377A, that law which criminalises private sexual activity between consenting homosexual males:
Chong was one out of only four MPs in Parliament then supporting its repeal. The others being NMP Siew Kum Hong, MPs Hri Kumar and Baey Yum Keng. He may have committed a minor error in judgement earlier this year by labeling critics of Perm Sec. Tan Yong Soon’s lavish five-week vacation in France as “lesser mortals”, but his actions show that he’s no rubber-stamp for the ruling party.
MP Chong deserves a round of applause for his stand on Burma. It remains an interesting excercise to see whether the Ministry of Home Affairs would reiterate Chong’s statement that he was speaking for himself only, or if Chong himself were to claim he was quoted out of context or seek to downplay his statement.