Suu Kyi for UK-style parliament in Myanmar

London: Seeking international help to re-establish democracy in Myanmar, democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi today told British lawmakers that she looked forward to a time when her country`s parliament would cherish freedom of speech as robustly as Westminster.

Addressing both houses of parliament ? the first honour accorded to a woman apart from the Queen in the Westminster hall`s 900-year history ? Suu Kyi recalled the contribution of her father, Aung San, in drawing up Myanmar`s first Constitution in 1947, and hoped she would be able to play as "practical" a role in re-establishing democracy as her father had.

As the gathering in the historic Westminster Hall gave her a prolonged ovation, speaker John Bercow described her as the "conscience of a country" and "heroine of humanity", who had stood up against the "cabal" ruling Myanmar. Suu Kyi recalled in her 30-minute speech that Jawaharlal Nehru had given her father a British army coat to deal with Britain`s cold weather before he left for London to discuss Myanmar`s independence with Prime Minister Clement Atlee.

She also referred to the music of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and Mozart as helping her to endure the years of house arrest, besides the radio broadcasts by the BBC and other international radio stations.

Suu Kyi repeated her "tributes" to Myanmar president Thein Sein for his sincerity and commitment to the process of reform, and said if the present opportunity to re-establish democracy were missed, "it will be several decades more" before such opportunity comes again.

Earlier, speaking to newspersons after meeting Prime Minister David Cameron, Suu Kyi repeated her conciliatory approach towards the military regime by saying that "We don`t want to be shackled by the past".