DG of Ministry of State Counsellor Office meets press

Director-General U Zaw Htay meets with the journalists in line with social distancing procedures at the Press Hall of the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA

Director-General of the Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor U Zaw Htay met the internal and external media in accord with the social distancing procedures at the Press Hall of the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw on 19 June, and explained the current situation.
At the press conference, the DG said first that he would explain the aid programme for the grassroots with no regular income. For the first time five kinds of basic food items worth K50 billion were distributed to four million households in the whole country during the period from 10 to 19 April before and during the Thingyan holidays. The distribution programme began in regions and states on 10 April and completed in the whole country on 19 April.
A review of the programme shows that Magway Region and Kayah State were the quickest in distributing the five items of basic food; that the two had fully completed the programme within four days; and that the slowest were Chin State and Sagaing Region which took 10 days to complete the programme. The review also indicates that although the area of Kayah was small, that of the Magway Region is large. The whole process from the collection of the list to distribution in Magway Region was reassessed. Chin State has places where transport is poor, so, there are difficulties in transporting food. So officials made a review of the programme, and sought better means for the next programme, he said.
The first point the review has indicated is that there might be families who were not included in the list for certain reasons because of the time limit in the collection process; and the second point is that there were returnees from neighbouring countries who could be missed out. So, a second programme was arranged to provide food items to the families who were missed out for certain reasons. According to the count, the number of missed-out families is 1.4 million, and an order has already been made to directly hand over K15,000 per family, the DG explained.
Various criticisms surfaced at the basic level during the first distribution programme, as some were not included in the programme for various reasons. Some officials started to consider the direct distribution system as the best way, and the officials have instructed to present K15,000 per family, and the programme is underway, he noted.
Moreover, an instruction has already been given to present K20,000 per family to over 5.4 million households including those who were not included in the first programme and those who had received the five kinds of basic food items. So, the programme will be carried out. This time the mobile phone numbers of the listed households were also recorded to make mobile payments. As such programmes are available, discussions were held to know the right system for the right place. Three townships have been chosen for the pilot project before the start of the programme in the entire country. They are Pobbathiri Township in Nay Pyi Taw, Meiktila Township in Mandalay Region and Kalaw Township in Shan State, and the mobile payment system will be conducted there. As for the remaining places, the system of distributing through the administrative machinery will be applied. The system is conducted under the Covid-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP). The experience in collecting the previous list in April shows occurrence of disputes on the categorization system. So, time is being taken to ensure satisfaction for all stakeholders, Director-General U Zaw Htay explained.
Then the DG answered the questions asked by internal and external media persons about the legal action taken against Dr Aye Maung, the involvement of heads of the departments in Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited, the ICJ interim report, the control of the administrative machinery of Rakhine State, the repayment demand made by Daw Khin Sanda Win, wife of U Aye Zaw Win, for what would be the receivables, according to her, from MPT, the matter of whether the President and the State Counsellor will stand for the 2020 election, the action taken against the senior officials of the Myanmar Police Force, the resignation of the high court judge of Mandalay Region, the financial provision programme for workers earning a bare living, without having any regular income, action taken against senior police officers in connection with the case of Victoria, the allotment of land for Daw Khin Kyi Foundation and the leaders of the State and Union level officials, the dialogue between the Government and the Northern Alliance, the control measures against the people entering the country from Bangladesh, and the matter of returnees from China, Thailand and Malaysia.
As regards the case of Dr Aye Maung, the DG said he had read articles about the case. Dr Aye Maung has faced legal action not for criticizing the Government or standing as an opposition figure. There is some misunderstanding of the case. The articles he was taken action under should be reviewed. He was taken action under the article 122 of the penal code for high treason, and the other case is under the article 505(b) of the penal code for causing, fear or alarm to the public.
The expression of criticism against the Government is not a legal problem. But all must notice the articles that are concerned with the act of harming the interest of the State and the people. He was revoked from MP and barred for taking part in any future election under the relevant parliamentary laws and rules. The Union Election Commission has acted in accordance with the legal provisions. There would be no remarks as the parliamentary laws and rules have no direct relations with the administrative sector. It is obvious that the legal action was not taken against for criticizing the Government. A comprehensive understanding of the matter as required as his misdeeds amount to high treason and harming interest of the State and the people, he added.
As regards the allotment of land for Daw Khin Kyi Foundation and the leaders of the State and Union level officials, U Zaw Htay said the matter of issuing land permit for the Layaungdaw project of Daw Khin Kyi Foundation has already been explained in detail at the press meet held by the Nay Pyi Taw Development Council, the body that is mainly concerned with the issue, at the Ministry of Information. In four townships of Nay Pyi Taw end with the word “Thiri” in their names, land was allotted to 24 NGOs at the price of K5 million per acre. Two acres of land were allotted to Yangon City Development Committee, 1.5 acres to Myanmar Fisheries Federation, 1.5 acres to Myanmar Livestock Federation, over five acres to Fisheries Association, nearly two acres to Mandalay City Development Committee, six acres to UMFCCI, 2.5 acres to Myanmar Medical Association, and Myanmar Dental Surgeons Association, Myanmar Computer Federation, Myanmar Midwives Association, Myanmar Traditional Practitioners Association, Myanmar Timber Entrepreneurs Association, Myanmar Women and Children Development Foundation, Pobbathiri Township War Veterans Office, Ottarathiri War Veterans Organizing Committee Office, Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, rural vocational education camp, Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation, Maternal and Child Welfare Association (Central), (Central) War Veterans Headquarters, Myanmar Red Cross Society (HQ), Township War Veterans Supervisory Committee, Red Cross brigade office, Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association (Central), Myat Cetana Foundation, Nay Oke Education Foundation, Myanmar Anti-Narcotics Association Office, Myanmar-China Friendship Association Office, Myanmar Engineering Council (Nay Pyi Taw branch), Union Solidarity and Development Party HQ, USDP Office, Myanmar War Veterans Organization, All Myanmar Motherless Child Care, at a price of K5 million per acre.
Moreover, land was allotted in view of the security of the important departments in Nay Pyi Taw in connection with the proposed location and land use. Officials of Nay Pyi Taw Development Council have already answered that scrutinization will be based on the mission, project, location, potential benefits for the State and the people of the proposals in allotting land for new NGOs, the DG explained.
A lot of disinformation was found in the matter concerning the allotment of land for Union level officials and Union ministers. It is true that land was allotted. But in social media the measurement of a plot is stated as 700-foot by 500-foot which will be about eight acres. So, the intention of giving false and exaggerated information is clear in this matter. It is a disinformation campaign as the 2020 election is drawing nearer, he said.
The DG said Nay Pyi Taw Development Council reclaimed 10 two-acre plots and six one-acre plots in Ottarathiri Township, and allotted them to the Union level officials and Union ministers who applied for them at a fixed price. In case a Union minister or a deputy minister presents an application, Nay Pyi Taw Development Council will send the application to the Union Government after scrutinizing it. In fact, a Union minister or a deputy minister is a politically appointed official, so, there is the practice of allotting land for the official of a political post at that level by the State when he/she retires. It is true that land plots were allotted, but there are too much exaggerations on the social media platform.
Nay Pyi Taw Development Council is also reclaiming land plots for heads of departments and organizations who have not received land yet. It is also building 3,000 two-bedroom apartments each with a space of 650 square-feet for retired government employees. Additionally residences for rent are being built in Nay Pyi Taw for retired civil servants. The list of retired personnel who want to rent is being collected, and the 300 completed apartments are being rented under lucky draw system. Under a five-year contract, the per month rent fees are: K30,000 for ground floor, and K28,000 and K27,000 respectively for upper floors. The rent contract can be renewed. Rental arrangement will be under lucky draw when 100 apartments are completed in the coming September. A budget allotment has been requested to build 10,000 more apartments. Other means are also in hand for ensuring a safe future for the civil servants who are going to retire soon. – Naing Myo Aung (Translated by TMT)

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