February 2021 turns out to be the month for a planned coup in Myanmar. The country's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was detained by the Myanmar military. The detention was based on allegations that Aung San Suu Kyi had illegally purchased radio communications which was discovered by the military during a search of Aung San Suu Kyi's house. Some democracy activists in Myanmar argue that the military coup that took place on Monday (1/2) is one of the strategies of the top military leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, so that he can remain in power after retiring from military service in July 2021.
Khin Ohmar, a veteran democracy and human rights activist in Myanmar, at a press conference with the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, Tuesday (2/2) perceived that the military coup was carried out not because of general election fraud in the November 8, 2020. According to Khin Ohmar, General Min Aung Hlaing's reason for a coup against a democratically elected government in Myanmar is that he wants to maintain his position in the military. This is to secure business networks within the military that involve the families of high-ranking officers and their business partners. Interestingly, although the majority of the community disagrees with this coup, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar see it as something grateful. Suu Kyi is considered to have ignored the torture experienced by the Rohingya Muslim community. She is considered to have tolerated and taken side with what they call genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Meanwhile, the US and a number of Western countries reacted by pressing the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) to release a number of government officials, including de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. White House spokesman, Jen Psaki, said that the US urged the military and all other parties to comply with democratic norms and rule of law, and release those detained.
The international community, including Indonesia and Singapore, have criticized what happened in Myanmar and hoped that all parties would exercise restraint. So far, the location whereabout Suu Kyi is detained has not been officially published by the Myanmar military. But in fact, after Suu Kyi's detention, there was a massive cabinet reshuffle by the new ruler, and 24 ministerial seats were replaced.
Seeing what Suu Kyi experienced and the pace of democratization efforts in Myanmar is like seeing a thick fog that is difficult to predict. In 2015, Suu Kyi became the de facto leader, a position that made her unable to touch and control the Myanmar Military which eventually became her rivals in her leadership. In 2015, there was a shift in global perceptions of Suu Kyi, who had previously become an icon of democracy and human rights. The military's crackdown and brutality against the Rohingya minority in Rakhine State has been criticized by many countries. About one million Rohingyas have been forced to flee from the military by taking refuge in Bangladesh or other countries, including in Indonesia, without adequate provisions. Unfortunately, Suu Kyi defended the military action as part of a counter-terrorism operation and asked the court to drop the case.
Although there are many international parties that condemn the coup action in Myanmar at this time, it seems that support for Suu Kyi is not the same as before. Still, of course all parties hope that democracy in Myanmar can continue to develop and Suu Kyi will receive protection and justice.