Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has drawn the wrong kind of attention after her party, the National League for Democracy, was criticized for accepting money from some of the country's most notorious cronies.
The Times of London said the NLD "has admitted receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds from companies owned by the reviled bosses, who amassed fortunes through their close relationships with the brutal junta that controled Burma for almost 50 years."
According to The Irrawaddy, Aung San Suu Kyi said the junta's former cronies should have a chance to reform themselves. "People may have become rich in different ways. But whether they were involved in any illegal action to make themselves rich must be investigated," Suu Kyi reportedly said on Jan. 9.
She defended her party's move, saying, "Those who are considered cronies have supported the social activities of the NLD and others. What is wrong with that? Instead of spending their money on things that have no purpose, they have supported things that they should support. It’s a good thing."
The NLD reportedly received $82,353 from Tay Za for education and health initiatives, while another donor, Kyaw Win, gave $158,824 to the NLD. Tay Za is suspected of smuggling weapons, while Kyaw Win is linked to recent land confiscations, according to Asian Correspondent.
"I don’t want to be a bad crony. I want to be a good one," said Zaw Zaw, the owner of Max Myanmar who has been under US and EU sanctions and also donated to the NLD, according to The Irrawaddy.