In an interview with CNN’s reporter Fareed Zakaria, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said her country will not become an illiberal democracy.
The interview was carried out during Suu Kyi’s visit to the United States.
As Mr Zakaria said, the main point of a book he recently wrote, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Dremocracy at Home and Abroad, focused on illiberal democracy was that there are countries where democratic majorities systematically erode human rights and persecute minorities. With reference to this he asked whether there was danger that Myanmar will become an illiberal democracy, given the country’s communal tensions.
No, I don’t think so. I think one of the reasons why there are so many problems in the Rakhine State is because there is a lot of fear,” said Suu Kyi. “It is not just on the part of the Muslims. The Rakhine also fear for their existence, for their status, because it is a very poor state – it is naturally very rich – but it is very ill-developed, so we have to, alongside our attempts to bring social communal harmony, we really have to develop the state.”
As she said, sometimes the answers are so simple that people overlook them.
“It is also to do with very limited resources, and everybody feeling that they are threatened,” she told CNN.
Mr Zakaria asked about the change from being under house arrest to becoming leader of a country.
She said she doesn’t think she is doing anything that different than what she was doing as leader of the opposition.
Mr Zakaria asked what her goal was for Myanmar, whether it should be a multiparty democratic system or because it is a small Asian country it will have a different path of development.
Suu Kyi said all countries develop differently but she said “multiparty democracy, if you can make it work, is the healthiest and best in the long run.”
She said her aspiration was to do herself out of a job, that she would no longer be needed.
Mr Zakaria referred to the late South African leader Nelson Mandela and the issue of forgiveness.
“When people ask me about forgiveness, I always explain that I don’t think it is for me to forgive or not to forgive,” Suu Kyi said. “I really don’t have any feelings of bitterness. That I think is just my good fortune, perhaps it is something you are born with, your attitude to like.”
As she said, she is not very good at remembering things done to her.
“I like to think I have a deep sense of gratitude,” she said.