YANGON — Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi praised a former chairman of the National League for Democracy (NLD) as someone “who always stood for democracy” at his funeral in Yangon on Thursday.
In her public eulogy at Yeway Cemetery, the State Counselor noted that her party was lucky enough to have a leader like U Aung Shwe, who passed away on Sunday. He was 99.
The former brigadier general and ex-ambassador served as the second acting chairman for the NLD in 1990 while Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the then party leader U Tin Oo were under house arrest.
U Aung Shwe led the party when the then military regime tried its best to destroy the NLD. In 1991, the regime forced him to either expel Nobel Peace laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi or dismantle the NLD.
Left with no choice but to keep the party alive, U Aung Shwe expelled her, and faced serious criticism as a result. But he handed the leadership position back to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi when she was released in 1995.
Rather than punishing him for her expulsion, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi praised him as one of the “guardians” of the party.
“Our NLD is able to stand as it is today because of him,” she said at the wake, which was attended by thousands of people.
The State Counselor said she honored him as a person, a former brigadier general, and an ex-ambassador.
“Especially, I would like to honor him for his former chairmanship of the NLD as well as being a leader in the struggle for democracy,” she said. “The way to honor him is simple. It would be best for him if we make a vow for collaboration to build a true democracy.”