YANGON (TIP): Cronies of Myanmar’s military junta which kept democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for nearly two decades have reached a milestone in their quest to rehabilitate their image: they’re now donors to Suu Kyi’s political party. While the Nobel Peace laureate’s willingness to accept military-tainted funds for education projects might jar with her international image, her supporters praised the move as politically shrewd and financially necessary.
Suu Kyi’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy, accepted $250,000 at a fundraising concert from companies owned by Western-blacklisted businessmen who made fortunes under the military dictatorship. The donations have caused barely a stir in Myanmar, a sign of how much Suu Kyi is revered and of how successfully the cronies have repositioned themselves since a reformist government came to power in March 2011. AGB Bank, owned by self-proclaimed billionaire Tay Za, once described by the US Treasury as “a notorious regime henchman and arms dealer”, donated $47,000.