Chairman U Zin Aung of the Democracy Party for Myanmar New Society presented the party’s policy, stance and work program on radio and television on 11 September.
Following is a translation of the presentation:
Respected and esteemed people,
Born together with the 8888 democracy movement in Myanmar, the Democratic Party for a New Society was an organization with the second largest force in the democratic revolution.
After the general elections in 1991, the State Law and Order Restoration Council declared our party unlawful. Those colleagues that remained above ground endeavoured and struggled continuously for democracy in a multifaceted form, sacrificing sweat, blood and life.
Among them, we ourselves remained above ground in the political war arena in continuity and journeyed the rough road for twenty years, still carrying on the democracy struggle and laying down the following strategy:
(1) For the legitimate and lawful revival of the Democratic Party for a New Society that we have valued;
(2) For the lawful repatriation with dignity of our colleagues who are left behind in some foreign lands;
(3) For the release of our colleagues from detention centres, now for many years, and to let them participate in the democratic transition.
With these aims, the Democracy Party for Myanmar New Society has been legally formed and constituted. As a political party, it does not count just by competing in the general elections, but to get ahead on the journey with the aims and objectives laid out.
The revolutionary journey is long and the 1988 democracy and human rights struggle was like a strategy to gain independence again, resulting in suffering, anguish and agony.
In the first independence struggle, it was to fight and drive out the British colonialist and the Japanese fascists. While struggling, we have formulated democracy practices in our strategy.
With the approach of a win-win theory, we preferred the constitutional rather than the military administration, and therefore, we decided to form a party.
Today, we wish to ease food, clothing and shelter conditions of the people, to be under just laws, to own individual rights. With a view to fulfilling these necessities, politicians and people should endeavour hand in hand.
Today, the majority of the people are those who extremely suffered under political conflicts. For many decades, people remained silent, and therefore, people today should have more freedom to express.
The essence of democracy is checks and balances among the three pillars — administration, legislation and judicial, in accordance with the law.
Due to a mess up of the three pillars caused by some people and institutions, the democratic system could be destroyed. Therefore, it is time to check and balance the three pillars through a transparent approach by the fourth pillar – the media. Consequently, all hindrances on the freedom of media must be eliminated with the strength of the people.
In a democracy, people entrust others to administer and govern the country. Therefore, the transfer of power must be strong. In some developed countries, the terms of lawmakers are fixed for four years and the upper and lower house meetings are held two years alternatively.
This creates close intimacy among voters, political parties, and the politicians. Moreover, it brings in the skilful lawmakers and representatives from many fields to the parliament.
In our current system, elections are held for Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and regional Hluttaws once every five years at the general elections, with the winning party sitting in power for a long term and the losing party being knocked down. As voters have no opportunity to choose and create new situation, the current system needs to be amended. Since it is drafted and enacted by human beings, there is no constitution in the world that could never be revised. Therefore, in making the multi-party system stronger, the general election of Pyithu Hluttaw and the Amyotha Hluttaw should be held every two and a half years, and this aim is to be carried out with the strength of the people.
Voters have the right to choose the respective representatives as lawmakers, and they have the right to recall back the representatives and revoke them from their duties. These rights have been stipulated in the constitution. However, necessary by-laws have not been regulated by the previous Hluttaws, and the current Hluttaw also neglected to bring in the by-laws resulting in the deprivation of the original rights of the voters.
Moreover, Chapter 9, article 397 of the Constitution states that necessary laws should be enacted regarding electoral matters of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. This should be implemented without delay by the representatives. These responsibilities have been forgotten and obliterated by the representatives.
In a democratic system, proposals are decided by the majority; however, the desire of the minority is never to be neglected. There must be a guarantee for equal rights of expression. Liberty, equality and justice are the hallmarks of genuine democracy, and politicians must embrace the people as co-workers in the tasks for realizing these aspirations.
We are neither the servants nor the masters of the people, and therefore, we are ready to join hands with the people as co-workers. During the current transitional stage for democracy, transitional justice is needed. Internationally, during transition from one system to another, there are means to treat and console the mental trauma and sufferings of those people sustained from the past system. This is to be undertaken as a responsibility by persons who are leading the new system, giving guarantee that the same thing would not happen again.
In this transition period, those who have suffered in the past should be entitled for rehabilitation and treatment legally, especially political prisoners and long-term detainees through human rights violations.
In the Philippines, some years ago, a rehabilitation law was enacted in the parliament. Other nations in transition also managed to have justice for their victims. Political leaders and lawmakers in our country should follow suit. We would do our best in the implementation of the same.
Political parties must take responsibility and accountability in consoling the trauma of the victims, for which we advocate for implementation. In a civilized society, people and politicians do not neglect the injustices, but redress them.
Moreover, politicians in the new society needs to act and show ideals and values in redressing the problems. This is nothing to do with the notion of revenge, but to take responsibility. In the task of national reconciliation, the transition period must uphold the values of justice, as this is the culture of a civilized nation. Moreover, responsible and accountable political leaders must look for ways to trim down the role of the Tatmadaw in the 25 percent representation.
In the political, economic and social sectors, justice is needed. The process of democratic transition and the peace process in the nation is like the head and tail of a coin, and it is the aspiration of the people. In attaining to reach the destination, only the Hluttaws and the government which value justice should lead the way. Justice in the time of transition should be endeavored. The above tasks are the aims and objectives of our party.
By supporting national reconciliation, it could create solutions for political conflicts and problems, resulting in good outcomes. Finding solutions and taking responsibility under the theme of national reconciliation are our commitment, and at the same time we continuously urge responsible persons to do the same.
The existing political problems may show the pathway for a democratic understanding in future. At this juncture, we need to contemplate on topics, such as that of the national races, that of the ways and means to address the desire of the ethnic armed groups, that of the construction of federal system, that of to stand tall among the nations of the world, and that of the way forward in the future. As we are heading towards a democratic system, the participation of the people and the political leadership must be in harmony and accord to overcome the problems and hurdles.
We based ourselves in the interest of the nation and the people, and embrace the people as associates and teammates in tackling the general crisis, problems, difficulties of the workers and farmers. The democratic values such as liberty, equality and justice would be upheld, and that priority would be given for the production of machineries and support for better agricultural produce. Moreover, meritocracy would be applied in recruiting skilful persons from various fields and the party would lay down a policy combining talented and good people to forge ahead.
Market oriented economic system would be visibly practised. The nation’s economic system would not be based on land and resources, but on human resources policy. As the economic sphere is to be concentrated on human resources, skilful and talented persons would be given priority. In a way, it would end the conflict of interest between the lands and the resources, enhancing the value of human being with the view to ending the armed conflicts in the midst of economic development.
In our industrial sector, emphasis would be given on better and enhanced quality.
All agricultural lands must be owned by citizens who work in the farm lands. The agriculture production cost would be lowered in conjunction with elevated crops production rate. A banking system owned by farmers and peasants would be created to protect themselves from the exploitation and monopoly by some groups from inside the country and abroad. Peasants’ Unions and organizations would be legally allowed and considered as colleagues and partners.
Multipurpose educational system will be implemented through theory and practice. With adequate teaching aids, pragmatic approach would be applied in nurturing skilful scholars. As it is intended for a multi-dimensional education, all the policies that stand as barriers and hurdles would be abolished. Independent students’ unions must be allowed. Compulsory free education system would be introduced.
Persons attaining the age of 18 with adequate qualifications would be assigned with party responsibilities, whether adults or youths.
In a democratic system, the people possess the highest power. In order not to forget that factor of people’s power, the existing timeframe of holding general elections once every five years should be changed into a new election system, and to hold general elections twice for parliamentarian term. If you agree, please vote for our party.
People have the rights to choose lawmakers by vote, and we all need to have the rights to recall the representatives. If you agree, please vote for our party.
We must have justice in the political, economic and social sectors. If you agree, please vote for the Democratic Party for Myanmar New Society.
We consider the people as our colleagues and partners, and therefore, our party vows and pledges to outshine in the democratic transition together with the people.
Translated by UMT (HK)