S'poreans in Myanmar advised to remain vigilant amid military coup: MFA

The Myanmar military has taken hold of the country and declared a state of emergency for a year.

Julia Yeo | February 01, 2021, 12:42 PM

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) advised Singaporeans in Myanmar to "remain vigilant" and monitor the local news closely as the military took control of the country earlier today (Feb. 1)

Military coup in Myanmar

In the early hours of Feb. 1, Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, was arrested amid rising tensions between the civilian government and the country's military.

Military-owned TV channel Myawaddy TV later announced that the military has seized power, and declared a state of emergency for a year.

The military-backed Vice President, U Myint Swe, is now the acting president.

It was also announced that state power had been handed over to Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Min Aung Hlaing, Reuters reported.

MFA monitoring situation closely

In a statement released in response to the military coup this morning, MFA said:

"Singapore expresses grave concern about the latest situation in Myanmar. We are monitoring the situation closely and hope all parties involved will exercise restraint, maintain dialogue, and work towards a positive and peaceful outcome.

Myanmar is a close friend of Singapore and key member of ASEAN. We hope that the situation will return to normal as soon as possible."

MFA also encouraged Singaporeans in Myanmar to e-register with the ministry for ease of contacting purposes.

U.S. called for military to respect the will of the Myanmar people

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had also expressed "grave concern and alarm" over the arrests of Myanmar's government officials and civil society leaders, calling on the military to release them and "respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8". He added:

"The United States stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development.

The military must reverse these actions immediately."

Countries warned Myanmar military against staging coup

A number of countries including Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., and the United Kingdom had warned the Myanmar military against staging a coup after the military claimed that the country's election results in November 2020 were fraudulent.

"We urge the military, and all other parties in the country, to adhere to democratic norms and we oppose any attempt to alter the outcome of the elections or impede Myanmar's democratic transition," a joint statement issued by diplomatic missions in Myanmar read, reported ABC News.

Embassies called on citizens in Myanmar to exercise caution

Japan's foreign ministry has advised its citizens in Myanmar to exercise caution and stay indoors.

In a statement posted on its foreign ministry's website, it said the situation in Myanmar at this point did not appear to involve ordinary people, but advised people to exercise caution, reported Reuters.

A foreign ministry official from Japan said that there are no plans to repatriate its citizens from the country.

The U.S. embassy in Myanmar said on its website that there is "potential for civil and political unrest" in the country, and will continue to monitor the situation.

In response to the military takeover, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne urged the Myanmar military to "respect the rule of law", reported 9News.

"The Australian Government is deeply concerned at reports the Myanmar military is once again seeking to seize control of Myanmar and has detained State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint," Payne said in a statement. He added:

"Australia is a long-standing supporter of Myanmar and its democratic transition.

We call on the military to respect the rule of law, to resolve disputes through lawful mechanisms and to release immediately all civilian leaders and others who have been detained unlawfully."

Consular assistance for Singaporeans in Myanmar

Singaporeans in need of consular assistance while in Myanmar may contact the Singapore embassy in Yangon, or the 24-hour MFA Duty Office.

Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in Yangon

238 Dhamazedi Road, Bahan Township, Yangon, Republic of the Union of Myanmar

Tel: +95-1-9-559-001

Emergency Tel (after hours): 09-250-863-840

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office (24-hours)

Tel: +65-6379 8800/8855

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Top image via Getty