Remarks of Amyotha Hluttaw Deputy Speaker U Aye Tha Aung
Amyotha Hluttaw Deputy Speaker U Aye Tha Aung together with Rakhine Chief Minister U Nyi Pu and State Minister for Social Affairs Dr Chan Thar visited the Maungtaw region on 12 and 13 September and provided cash and rice to families of security personnel and ethnic nationals killed in the attacks by ARSA extremist terrorists. They also encouraged and provided rice bags to ethnic nationals who remain in their respective villages.
Below are the remarks of the Amyotha Hluttaw Deputy Speaker and Hluttaw representatives who made the trip.
U Aye Tha Aung (Deputy Speaker, Amyotha Hluttaw)
“Of the violence and terrorist attacks that occurred thrice in Maungtaw region in 2012, 2016, 2017, this is the worst. The number of armed attackers and supporters is quite high, according to relevant authorities. This is dangerous and of serious concern for the security forces, local people and the nation’s sovereignty.
When the latest attacks occurred, we came along with Shan, Kayin, Kachin and Rakhine ethnic national Hluttaw representatives to find out how the Hluttaw can support from its side with the Hluttaw representative observing the situation first-hand. To find out what can be done immediately and what is to be done for the long run. This is why we came.
In this trip, we provided cash donations to the best of our ability. Cash donations from the Hluttaw, Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker family and my family as well as those who came along with me were divided into two parts. We donated cash to families of the Tatmadaw and Police Force personnel killed. We also donated cash to families of the ethnic nationals killed. Of the remaining, we bought food, mostly rice and donated this.
The rice was donated as a priority to villagers who were fearful but resolutely remained in their respective villages instead of going to temporary relief camps. We also donated rice bags to relief camps in Sittway. There is a lot need to be done for the fear felt by the ethnic nationals we met throughout the trip. For now, I would like to thank the Tatmadaw, Police Force and public servants who are defending the region.
This time, it (the attack) was done with a specific aim. They are planning to take over the region if there are no police posts and security forces. It had reached the stage of attacking the sovereignty of the country.
Meanwhile, some countries and media are supporting and inciting terrorist organisations by describing the incident in many ways. Whoever says whatever, we could not forgive and turned a blind eye on the attack on the sovereignty of our country. The current work is the responsibility and duty to protect the local ethnic national people’s life and property. Locals dare to stay only if there is security. They said they dare not stay behind if the security forces leave.
Therefore, security posts need to be in place. For the long run, transportation infrastructure needs to be good and for regional development, peace and stability, our hluttaw will do our part to work together with and support the government and Tatmadaw”.
U Nyi Pu (Rakhine State Chief Minister)
“Amyotha Hluttaw Deputy Speaker and ethnic national hluttaw representatives bought rice with their own money and provided this in person and encouraged the ethnic nationals who remain resolutely in their respective villages. It is strengthening these ethnic nationals who remain determinedly in their villages.
Ethnic nationals were surprised and appreciated the Amyotha Hluttaw Deputy Speaker came in person and provided support. There were invitations to come again. I also saw indications that if we provide more adequate security arrangements, they will stay on and maintain their own places without fleeing from it”.
U Saw Moe Myint (Amyotha Hluttaw representative)
“I didn’t expect ethnic nationals to steadfastly stay on in their respective places, but I’m glad to see this. I greatly respect and honour such endeavours. These people do not want aggressors and interlopers taking over the lands of their forefathers and will stay on in their own places. I’m happy for this. The government needs to reconstruct their lives. Plans need to be thought out for them to live on forever through agriculture and livestock breeding and for their sons and daughters to have sustainable economic activities.
For now, support and assistance need to be provided for agricultures and livestock breeding. Another is transportation. Transportation needs to be improved so that there is no recurrence of terrorist activities and to effectively and quickly defend and remove terrorist activities if it occurs again. Fake and untrue news were seen to be distributed by some countries. There is a responsibility to say that these are not true. We will continue to do so. This region is very good for agriculture and livestock breeding. That is why they will come back.
When they come, responsible persons should ensure that administrative and judicial sectors are in place”.
U Soe Thein @ U Maung Soe (Amyotha Hluttaw representative)
“In this trip, we went deeply into villages with the Amyotha Hluttaw Deputy Speaker and found ethnic nationals who stayed behind in some villages to have fears and worries. They fear for their lives more than they worry for their livelihood. Providing aid is a temporary resolution of current difficulties. I think the Hluttaw should decide on reconstructing their lives with the union budget.
I consider the terrorist acts on these ethnic nationals as a terrorist act against the union. I felt quite badly for these terrorist acts. As it is visibly obvious, I think this needs to be handled on the union level. Priority should be given to use the union budget for Maungtaw region development. The government needs to think of setting up aims and plans to rebuild the damaged and destroyed villages, to have a regular income and for long-term economic development. Our Hluttaw sector will also do so. It is important for ethnic nationals to live on in their region and land where their forefathers had lived.
By Tin Maung Lwin, Min Htet Aung