A ceremony for the International Day of Democracy 2017 was held yesterday at the Hluttaw in Nay Pyi Taw.
Mahn Win Khaing Than, the Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and of Amyotha Hluttaw said, “Our country is exercising a multi-party democratic system, controlling the sovereignty of the State—legislative power, executive power and judiciary powers under the principle of checks and balances among the President, Congress and the Supreme Court. Our Hluttaw has to exercise the legislative power, so it can be said to be a major panel of the reform. With the strengthening capacities of Hluttaws, the democratic system will become firm, so Hluttaw representatives are required to constantly try their best to upgrade their capacities. Only if the legislative Hluttaw will become strong, will democracy become strengthened. In doing so as well people play a major role. People-oriented democratic system which complies with our country and the actual situations must be exercised. Especially, by transforming differences into driving forces, we can overcome distrust, doubts and disagreements with the strength of unity.”
The Speaker of Amyotha Hluttaw added, “Hluttaw representatives must present questions and motions concerning needs and difficulties of the people in your regions, at Hluttaw, trying yourselves to assimilate people’s desires to their lives, so that the Union Government can implement tasks for regional development with changing times, for the socio-economic development of the people. Then, with the momentum of multi-development in the economy, health and education sectors, our people will be able to march happily on towards the democratic way.
For security for the people’s lives, for no one to be above the law, for every individual to acquire equal rights and for rules and laws to comply with the democratic system, it is incumbent upon our Hluttaws to compile and promulgate laws in accordance with the current situations, concerning amendment, cancellation of the laws. We must strive ourselves to implement promulgate laws that will bring about peace, rule of law and national reconciliation.”
Afterward, Dr May Win Myint, Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee for Government’s Guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings, read out the message sent by the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for International Democracy Day with the message sent by the UN Secretary General read out by Ms. Renata Nicola Lok—Dessallien, the UNDP representative.
Following that, paper reading programmes continued to be held. In these paper-reading sessions, Papers on Student Youths, Civic Societies, Kachin State Democracy Party, Kokant Democracy and Unity Party, National Unity Party, Wa Democratic Party, Tatmadaw representatives, Lisu National Development Party, Zomi Democratic League, Pa-oh National Organization (PNO), Ta’ang (Palaung) National Party, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, Union Solidarity and Development Party and National League for Democracy were read by representatives.
U Win Myint, the Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw, then delivered a speech highlighting the aspects of the International Day of Democracy.
U Win Myint said he is thankful for the opportunity to deliver a speech at the ceremony in accord with the motto of “Unity for Democracy to survive”. “Our national martyr, the architect of freedom and father of the Tatmadaw, General Aung San, had spoken of democracy before,” said U Win Myint.
He then quoted General Aung San saying, “Democracy is in tandem with freedom. Only this system promotes peace, which is why we must aim for it.”
U Win Myint continued his speech saying that the democracy in the country right now is the achievement of the heroes and martyrs of the past. He said that democracy encompasses fairness, freedom and equality, which are part of the laws of nature. Democracy aims for the development and welfare of the people of the country and also for union peace, said U Win Myint.
“Democracy gives equal opportunities in business and legal rights to people based on their skill and contributions,” he continued, and then quoted the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, saying “Democratic countries do not war with each other,” and “If all the world’s countries were democratic, then we would have an era of peace.”
The Speaker then said that since 1988, the public, including the monks and students, have struggled for attaining democracy and the country has just taken its first steps towards it. Since it is still in its infancy, the country has to deal with the shifting political climate in the country, so if we want our democracy to survive then we must respect the law and follow the rules and regulations laid out for us, said the Speaker.
He said that democracy includes compromises and negotiations between the diverse people. He said we need to promote the development of private organisations and the media sector as well, saying that the media is an important institution of democracy.
The Speaker then said that in a democracy, the government is the foundational organisation that works alongside the political parties, private and public sectors and the media. He then said, “There is one thing we must be careful of and that is the semblance of democracy that those who aim for dictatorship use as a disguise to further their goals. There are those who will use whatever means necessary to secure power instead of securing the trust of the people through lawful and fair means.” He ended his speech by saying that the people need to unite to get rid of the dangers to democracy.
Afterwards, the Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and the Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw conferred flower garlands and cash prizes to the participants of the entertainment programme from the Department of Fine Arts.
The ceremony concluded with a viewing of “Naychi Mhar Shwe Yi Laung”, one of the movies that will be shown at the Myanmar Democracy Film Festival in accord with the 2017 International Day of Democracy.
This year’s motto for International Day of Democracy is “In Defence of Democracy”.
Present at the ceremony were U Htun Htun Oo, Chief Justice of the Union, U Myo Nyunt, Chairman of Constitutional Tribunal, U Hla Thein, Chairman of Union Election Commssion, U Aye Tha Aung, Deputy Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, Thura U Shwe Mann, Chairman of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission, Union Ministers, Union Auditor General, Governor of Myanmar Central Bank, Chairman of Anti-Corruption Commission, Chairman of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, Hluttaw Speakers of Regions and States, Deputy Ministers, Hluttaw Affairs Committee Chairmen, departmental heads, representatives from political parties, diplomats, World Parliament Association, Inter-Parliamentary Union, representatives UN Organizations, prize-winner students and invited guests.