Cries for federalism dominate second-day session of 21st Century Panglong Conference

(Continued from 1st September session of the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong)

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THE Union Peace Conference- 21st Century Panglong Conference continued its second-day afternoon session at the Myanmar International Convention Centre in Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday.
Lt-Col Thant Zaw said the executive and judicial systems described in the 2008 constitution are consistent with federal regulations regarding the rights of self-administration pertaining to the regions, states and self-administered zones and divisions.
Pa-O National Liberation Organisation (PNLO) Chairman Khun Myint Tun hinged on political approaches to political problems, pledging their cooperation with other ethnic brethren in establishing a unified federal union. He called for avoidance of any confrontation and use of force including military conflict in the struggle for the emergence of a unified Shan State and a Pa-O state within the framework of the law.
U Khun Tun Shwe of the Pa-O National Organisation suggested ethnic nationalities be addressed as ‘union nationalities’ to effectuate more fairness and implication in the creation of a democratic federal union. He also called for the establishment of a geographically-based federalism.
Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr Win Myat Aye blamed lack of stability and peace for social ills, referring to the plight of the displaced people, mine-related physical disabilities, human trafficking and drug abuse in the conflict areas. The union minister stressed the need for result-oriented dialogue at the negotiating table, calling for a concerted effort to root out the political divisions in the interest of the people.
Yebaw Myint Hein of the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) proposed a calculation of current trends and future prospects in the adoption of a new security policy, pointing out the need to strike a balance between federal and democratic criteria.
U Pu Chin Sian Thang of the Zomi Congress for Democracy called for genuine goodwill and collective cooperation at the 21st Century Panglong.
Parliamentary representative Daw Nant Than Than Lwin spoke of the nature of horizontal and vertical federalism, saying that the essence of both forms focus on the sharing of powers with the aim of preventing the rise of tyranny. The federalism of their choice should be one that would end over 60 decades of armed conflict and guarantee justice and equality in the delivery of democratic rights and the rights of citizens, she stressed.
U Khaing Tun Win of the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) expressed his expectations on the inclusion of federal regulations regarding the percentage of representatives and a guarantee for vesting of legislative, executive and judicial powers in states.
U Shwe Min of the Lisu National Development Party asked for a self-administered zone for them in Kachin State “were the country to form new states” based on geographical locations.
Col Soe Tint stressed the need to participate in the undertakings of regional development through the full exercise of the constitutional rights.
U Sai Ngin of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) pledged strenuous efforts to enhance national reconciliation and establish a federal union in collaboration with partner organisations and the people.
Dr Manam Tu Ja of the Kachin State Democracy Party spoke of the need to enhance national reconciliation in his state, stressing that Kachin State would retain its name and territory as designated since independence. He called for the formation of an advisory body manned with senior political gurus from all the ethnic nationalities residing across the country.
Yangon Region government Social Affairs Minister U Naing Ngan Lin spoke of the need to consider the public role in natural resources management, in addition to the roles of the central government and regional governments.
U Yan Kyaw of the Wa Democratic Party called for recognition of the Wa state, expressing his party’s earnest support for the achievements of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, the action plans of the Mai Ja Yang Conference, and the national-level political dialogue to be conducted based on the outcomes of the 21st Century Panglong Conference.
Parliamentary representative U Min Oo called for wisdom and courage in deciding what should be changed and what should not in the interest of the entire population of the Union.
Nai Layae Tama of the Mon National Party expressed his belief that the establishment of a democratic federal union would meet with success if the discussions at the Union Peace Conference maintained consistency with the pledges of the 1947 Panglong Agreement and the Panglong Pact.
U Yaw Thap of the Lahu National Development Party said they deserved a specific area given their population and geographical location. He also called for a quick end to armed conflict, the amendment of the 2008 Constitution and the adoption of a constitution that promises a federal union.

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