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George Yeo now working in Myanmar

Posted on 18 April 2012

Former foreign minister George Yeo seems to be enjoying life, post-politics

George Yeo accepted the role of vice-chairman of Hong Kong’s Kerry Group, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s investment holding firm, Kuok Group, in January. He was in Yangon for business the day before Myanmar’s historic elections which not only saw Aung San Suu Kyi basking in her popularity, but also being elected into parliament.

He described Myanmar’s reforms as a dam that’s been broken:

“So there’s a rushing torrent, in the process, many things get knocked down. Tremendous force. There’s no way it can go back to what it was in the past. But how the water flows will depend critically on how the various players act out their roles and interact with one another,” he said.

The former foreign minister of Singapore, Yeo was often a lightning rod for human rights activists banging on about Myanmar’s human rights violations. But like all good PAP politicians, he refused to bow down to populist pressures and doggedly engaged the junta for years, amid heavy sliming from NGOs.

It seems to have paid off. Back in 2008, Yeo already had a hunch that Thein Sein was different from your average blood-hungry military general — while charing the Cyclone Nargis tripartite group with the United Nations, Yeo sensed that Thein Sein had a “love for his people”.

In his years of foreign minister, Yeo seemed to have dealt only with the junta — he met Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time only during her election campaign. He says that it was because she was under detention previously.

Read the rest of the article here.

In other news, George was just appointed to a panel at the World Trade Organisation to examine challenges to global trade.

Note: You know what, he’s probably better off not stuck in parliament. 

 

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