Report claims 38 Singapore-based companies are supplying Myanmar military – The Diplomat

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Beat ASEAN | Policy | South East Asia

In a new report, Justice For Myanmar names 116 companies that supply arms to the Tatmadaw, including 38 from the city-state.

Members of the Myanmar army march during a parade to commemorate the 77th Myanmar Armed Forces Day in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, March 27, 2022.

Credit: AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo, File

Singaporean companies are among the arms brokers supplying the Myanmar military with arms and are “complicit” in atrocities since last year’s coup, according to advocacy group Justice For Myanmar ( JFM).

In a report released yesterday, the Myanmar-based organization identified a total of 116 companies that have supplied millions of dollars worth of weapons and equipment to Myanmar’s military. Of these, 31 companies have had active business relations with the army since the February 2021 coup, while another 27 companies have done so since 2017, the year the armed forces launched attacks. violent – and allegedly genocidal – attacks against Rohingya communities in western Myanmar.

According to JFM, the report is based on documents leaked by the procurement department of the Ministry of Defense, in addition to industry sources and other information available online.

A total of 78 Myanmar-based companies supplying the military are linked to at least 38 subsidiaries or associated companies in Singapore – a country long known as an offshore trading hub and financial sanctuary for the Myanmar military and its galaxy. of allied friends and businessmen. One was a company called Venture Sky International Ltd, which “had at least 12 contracts with the Myanmar Air Force to supply aircraft spare parts in 2016 alone.” Another was a Singaporean subsidiary of Burmese company MCM Pacific Pte Ltd, which “supplied parts for Mi-2, Mi-17 and Bell 206 helicopters to the Myanmar Air Force. ”

The involvement of Singaporean companies in supplying the Burmese military “poses an imminent threat to the lives of millions of Burmese”, the report says. “As a member of ASEAN, Singapore has an important role to play in resolving the crisis in Myanmar. It must begin by ending its complicity in the junta’s international crimes.

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More generally, the report offers granular details on where and how Myanmar’s military sources the weapons, military vehicles and spare parts needed to keep its jets, tanks and armored personnel carriers in the field. . In the report, which includes a link to an Excel spreadsheet listing the companies and their directors and key shareholders, JFM called for “urgent sanctions against these companies and individuals”. He also specifically called on the Singapore government to “prohibit the use of its territory, including its banks and ports, for the supply of arms and equipment to the Myanmar military.”

Western countries like the US, UK and Canada have already imposed sanctions on a number of the most notorious and high-profile arms dealers. Chief among them are the Htoo Group of Companies, a company owned by prominent tycoon Tay Za, which is responsible for importing fighter jet parts from Ukrainian and Russian companies; the Myanmar Chemical and Machinery Co., which JFM associates with the purchase of a range of equipment, including K-8 training aircraft, armored personnel carriers and light tanks; the International Gateways Group, which “is one of the largest arms suppliers to the Myanmar Air Force and Navy, especially in trade from China”.

But as JFM notes, “only a few of the companies supplying arms and other products to the military junta have been sanctioned, while the vast majority continue to operate freely.”

One may wonder if economic sanctions are the key to bringing down Myanmar’s military administration. The military has a long track record of international isolation and is housed in a neighborhood welcoming Asian neighbors including China, India and Thailand, not to mention Singapore, which has long resisted calls from militants to seize control. dirty money from Myanmar parked in its banking system. But this report shows that while Western countries are truly interested in stifling funding for the military, there are many more targets waiting to be brought within reach.

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