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Singapore implements stricter arms control measures in response to UN findings on Myanmar weapon trading

An UN special rapporteur reports that Singapore has cut weapon material exports to Myanmar by 83% following his report, which noted US$254 million in transfers from 138 Singapore-based companies to Myanmar between 2021 and 2022, significantly impacting Myanmar’s military capabilities.



In a report on Friday, Al Jazeera detailed Singapore’s forceful response to the United Nations’ scrutiny over arms sales through its territory to Myanmar. Following the 2023 findings of Thomas Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, the city-state has significantly tightened controls on its role as a conduit for arms materials to Myanmar’s military.

Speaking to the international publication, Andrews highlighted the swift and effective actions taken by Singapore, noting, “My subsequent report to the Human Rights Council found that exports of weapons materials from Singapore to Myanmar had dropped by 83 percent. This is a significant step forward and an example of how governments can make a difference for those who are in harm’s way in Myanmar.”

Despite the Singaporean Government’s firm denial of involvement, Andrews’s report, titled “The Billion Dollar Death Trade,” had earlier revealed substantial transactions totalling more than US$1 billion, with US$254 million worth of weapons materials transferred from Singapore-based companies to Myanmar from 2021 to 2022.

These companies were not specifically named in the report sections on Singapore, unlike those on China, Russia, and India.  The Special Rapporteur has decided not to list the names of Singaporean entities transferring arms to the Myanmar military in order to allow time for the Singapore Government and other UN Member States to take action.

In response, the spokesperson of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed appreciation for Andrews’s efforts, stating, “We appreciate Mr Andrews’s efforts to providFe information to aid Singapore’s investigations into whether any offences were committed under Singapore law.”

Last July, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan confirmed the involvement of these entities in Parliament, noting an additional identification of 91 entities on top of an initial list of 47, all contributing to the military supply chain in Myanmar.

He further clarified that nine of these entities are no longer registered, thus unable to operate legally or conduct business in Singapore.

In September last year, two Singaporean individuals were fined a total of S$80,000 (approximately US$58,649) for their involvement in selling a sonar system that ultimately ended up with a survey centre operated by the Myanmar Navy.

Singapore’s decisive action has put significant pressure on Myanmar’s military, particularly during a time when they are struggling to suppress a coalition of ethnic minority and majority Bamar resistance forces.

The military’s woes are compounded by new conscription laws aimed at bolstering their ranks amidst battlefield losses.

In his follow-up report, Andrews mentioned, “There was no evidence that the Singaporean government had any knowledge of the transfers that were taking place,” indicating a significant oversight gap that Singapore has since moved to address.

Furthermore, the National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar has lauded Singapore’s efforts.

NUG cabinet minister, Sasa, remarked, “Singapore’s actions have highlighted the power that ASEAN members possess to disrupt the Myanmar military junta’s acts of terrorism against its own people by cutting off their access to weapons, finance, and legitimacy.”

This news comes as the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar escalates, with over 2.5 million people displaced since the coup began in February 2021.

Singapore’s measures reflect a broader ASEAN divide over how to handle the crisis, with some nations advocating for engagement and others, like Singapore, taking a firmer stance against the military regime.

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Why do we NEED Andrew to tell us this? Why is SHAME sleeping?

And eng hen’s Sid? All for decor?

What was earlier ‘not stricter’ or less strict which even CAN be no Restrictions OR arms exports controls, right?

Lying to LOCALS is 1st Nature. Now lying internationally is What Nature?

This statement is purely a public relations and damage limitations exercise, … after foreign agencies exposed substantial arms transactions from SillyPore based companies !!!

C’mon, if it’s “ownself monitor/check ownself”, … you haven’t gotta look very far at how well and effective that is !!!

On the world stage and with the world press, … SillyPore, if “involved” will be highlighted and caught out every time !!!

Yes..this SGov is the biggest hypocrite.

Where is that myanmmar pr who has ties with the junta .

If the UN did not raise it, our junta would have kept quiet. How many of Myanmar junta’s family and friends live in Singapore? As long as monies are parked here all undesirables are welcomed. The world is suffering because of weapon manufacturers who are the actual rulers of the world. The American President ‘s campaign is funded by weapon manufacturers. American taxpayers’ fund the transfer of these weapons to Ukraine and Israel. If you join NATO you have to buy weapons manufactured by the Americans. China’s and Putin’s threat to its neighbours also increases revenue for the American weapons… Read more »

We the voters are implicit to this.
We voted for the PAP which is the Government of Singapore.
We embraced the policies that PAP implemented
We gave the mandate and we left them alone.

We are responsible.

Yah stricter this and that on Myanmar but MIW still allow the Junta to park their cash and savings here no? Hypocrisy level 99.