SINGAPORE: Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong believes that Aung San Suu Kyi will be a capable leader of her country if she is elected in the next election scheduled in 2015.
Mr Lee made this point at a meeting with a group of journalists from ASEAN nations on September 17.
They had asked him how he felt the rest of ASEAN would feel about a government led by Ms Suu Kyi.
Ms Suu Kyi arrived in Singapore on Friday for a five-day visit during which she will be speaking at two events and meeting Singapore leaders.
Mr Lee stressed that Singapore's policy is to work with the legitimate government of the country.
On development in Myanmar, he noted that the country is making up for lost time.
Mr Lee said that in recent decades, Myanmar had seemed to remain "in a time capsule" compared to the developments seen in other parts of the region.
He said: "If you went back 50, 60 years, actually Myanmar, like Yangon, compared to Bangkok, compared to Singapore, the difference is not so great. But today, the rest of Southeast Asia has moved and Myanmar has now decided it also wants to move and be part of that.
“I think you have to take it step by step. You have to build up your capabilities, educate your people. Build up your civil service, build up your administration to be able to implement the laws and the policies, which will enable the country to grow. It is not something you can do overnight. But I believe it is something which your (Myanmar) leaders are very focused on and want to happen.
“But how exactly to do that, the problems which will arise in doing that – that depends very much on the complexity of each country. And I think one of the problems which Myanmar has had is that many outsiders tell (it) what to do without knowing what is happening inside the country, without really understanding the complexities of the country. And I do not think I should add to (Myanmar's) problems by doing that."
Mr Lee also noted that Myanmar has prepared intensely for its chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014.
It had passed on taking the chairmanship in 2006.
Mr Lee believes Myanmar is now ready, and that the theme set out for its chairmanship is a suitable one.
Myanmar has announced that the theme will be "Moving forward in unity towards a peaceful and prosperous community".
Mr Lee said this is apt given that ASEAN's continued development is a work in progress.
Brunei will hand over the chairmanship of ASEAN to Myanmar at the upcoming summit in Bandar Seri Begawan on October 9 and 10. - CNA/gn
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