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“Keep Moving Forward to Achieve Our Goal”

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Speech delivered by Chairman of the State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
on the Occasion of the Eighteenth Month of the Assumption of State Duties
by the State Administration Council

Nay Pyi Taw, 1 August 2022
(Translation from the Myanmar original)

Esteemed National People,
Eighteen months ago today, our State Administration Council government assumed the duties of the state. I would first like to wish good health and well-being to all our national people. Yesterday, the National Defence and Security Council held a meeting where a comprehensive presentation was made of the situation of the nation. In accordance with Section 425 of the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the term of the State Administration Council has been extended by six more months.
Today, I would like to share some information on the political and security measures taken by our government, the initiatives in the social arena, the implementation of two national visions and two economic visions, and our future plans.

Esteemed National People,
Allow me to first touch on political and security measures.
Unavoidably, the Tatmadaw had to assume the duties and responsibilities of the state in accordance with the Constitution. This was because despite the clear evidence of voting fraud in the 2020 elections and requests by the Tatmadaw to resolve this matter, the responsible officials not only failed to resolve the matter but also tried to forcibly take over the state power.
From the time we assumed the duties of the state, we have tried our utmost to discharge our responsibilities. However, terrorists based inside and outside the country and the people and organizations supporting them are committed to the utter devastation of Myanmar, instead of trying to nurture democracy in Myanmar.
Peace and tranquillity at home are important for the development of our country. To this end, the Tatmadaw has issued ceasefire statements 21 times from 20 December 2018, covering the period to the end of 2022.
Over the past 18 months, I met personally with ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) nine times, and the negotiation committee met with EAOs, political parties and peace-seeking organizations 75 times, for the purpose of securing peace and for the best interests of our country and every region.

Esteemed National People,
We declared 2022 as the Year of Peace. Consequently, to move forward pragmatically with the peace process, I invited the leaders of ethnic armed organizations for peace talks on 22 April 2022. Seven ethnic armed organizations among the NCA signatories and three NCA non-signatories – a total of 10 groups – responded positively. We have held discussions on peace with nine organizations. We will hold talks with the remaining organizations soon. We will also meet a second time with the organizations that we have already met in the first round. In all these discussions, we were able to talk frankly and cordially on exercising multiparty democracy in line with people’s wishes, building the Union based on democracy and federalism, and on actual needs and relevant issues for the regions and the country.

Moreover, both sides were able to discuss the Union Accord Part I, II and III and Table 2 of Part III, and we were able to sign agreements. On 14 June 2022, we extended invitations again to the leaders of ethnic armed organizations who had not attended the talks on the first invitation. Our government has kept the door wide open to peace. I would urge them to enter the door with trust. I would also like to say that if they want to serve the interests of the Union and the interests of the ethnic national people, attending these peace talks would be best.
Working against this government formed under the Constitution, the illegal committee, parallel government and terrorist organizations are using various means to destroy the security, peace and stability of the country. Over the past 18 months, from 1 February 2021 to 23 July 2022, there have been 7,246 attacks conducted with bombs /grenades/mines, 6,567 assaults and murders, and 1,094 arson attacks, altogether a total of 14,907 violent incidents across the country. These incidents left a death toll of 3,483 monks, nuns, public service personnel, administrative officials, children and other innocent civilians, injured 3,065 people and resulted in 41 missing persons. I am greatly saddened by these deaths and injuries and assure you that effective action will be taken against terrorists. There were 4,026 violent incidents in Sagaing Region, 2,442 incidents in Yangon Region, 2,194 incidents in Mandalay, and 1,395 incidents in Magway Region. These were the worse regions, and as such, we will continue to impose security measures, and restore peace, stability, and the rule of law until normalcy is achieved in these regions. I did not exercise the option of imposing martial law, except in some very crucial townships. No matter that full executive, judicial and legislative powers were entrusted to us, the measures we took were in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and existing laws. Over the past 18 months, large numbers of weapons and ammunition made their way into the country. The weapons and ammunition seized from terrorist groups include 6,311 assorted arms, 335,184 rounds of ammunition, and 11,715 grenades and mines. A total of 6,236 terrorists have been arrested.

From February 2021 to May 2022, during the period of this government, the trade surplus reached US$1.14 billion. Priority is being given to export of finished goods rather than raw materials to international markets, to increase state revenue.

Our government has kept to the basic principles of our foreign policy in relations with the international community. Our country is an ASEAN member state and as such, we respect and value the ASEAN Charter, its treaties and conventions. As a result of the political events in 2020, I attended the ASEAN Summit held on 24 April 2021 when the Five-Point Consensus was adopted. In adopting the Consensus, Myanmar declared that it would implement the Consensus under the ASEAN Way, ASEAN Practice and ASEAN Spirit. During the previous year, Myanmar was severely affected by the second and third waves of COVID-19. At that time, our country was forced to make strenuous efforts to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic while dealing with violent riots and terrorism. With the lack of stability in the country, implementing the ASEAN Consensus at the time was challenging. This year, as the situation has improved on all fronts, we are implementing the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus to the extent we can within the ASEAN framework. We are also striving to prevent any encroachment upon our internal affairs, our judicial, legislative, executive powers, and the sovereignty of the State. As the country begins to achieve normalcy, we will be able to make progress.
From 10 to 16 July 2022, I paid goodwill visits to the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tatarstan. During the visit, I attended the ceremony hoisting the gem and diamond orb, pennant-shaped vane and golden umbrella atop the Shwezigon replica pagoda, as well as the consecration ceremony in Ethnomir World Culture City, Kaluga in the Russian Federation. I also held meetings with military and civilian officials and visited significant landmarks, universities and factories. During that short trip, I was able to hold meetings beneficial to the country.

Esteemed National People,
I would like to continue with issues related to the economy.
Three economic objectives have been adopted and are being implemented as a priority for the economic development of the nation. The aim is to develop the socio-economic status of rural people who are primarily engaged in agriculture and livestock in regions and states, as well as in self-administered zones. To this end, we have set up a separate fund of K400 billion out of the K491.18 billion remaining from the National Fund for Natural Disaster Management fund, which was being used for COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment under the stewardship of the COVID-19 National Central Committee. We are also accelerating the remaining economic tasks.
In previous years, loans had been disbursed to help businesses recover from losses sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to various reasons, progress has not been perceptible. Therefore, priority will be given to improving the economy as follows. The first priority will be given to agriculture and livestock, which will lead to quick wins. Subsidies will be provided for both summer and winter crops, such as pulses and beans, edible oil crops, maize, as well as for chicken, pig, fish and prawn farming. The next priority will be to support and upgrade factories that turn out finished products from agricultural produce, and to support factories linked to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Consideration will then be given to the remaining factories and workshops. Separate arrangements will also be made for individual projects as necessary. I expect progress to be seen in six months. First, many job opportunities will be generated. Second, all workers will have the chance to earn income. Third, demand will increase. Fourth, as the volume of goods sold increases, national income will rise. The strength of our country lies within the country. We must use this strength to make the country progress.
From February 2021 to May 2022, during the period of this government, the trade surplus reached US$1.14 billion. Priority is being given to export of finished goods rather than raw materials to international markets, to increase state revenue.
With population rising in the country, edible oil consumption is also increasing. We are making efforts to extend the cultivation of sunflower in all parts of the country, a crop which produces some 140 viss of oil per acre for local consumption. Plans are underway to grow sunflower crops on 1.5 million acres in the country in the 2022-2023 financial year. From the COVID-19 special fund, under existing rules and regulations, the government has allowed the disbursement of K100.248 billion in agricultural loans for 690,017 acres of cultivable lands. While imports of fuel oil cannot be reduced, I urge people to reduce their consumption of edible oil. I also urge the ethnic national people to help put this in practice. In our country, it is only groundnut that meets production targets. The other pulses, beans and edible oil crops are yet to reach their production targets. Farmers can earn increased income if they increase crop yield per acre, without the need to expand the cultivable land they have. The government is stepping up efforts to supply fertilizers, pesticides and access to water for agriculture. Moreover, efforts are being made to supply diesel fuel for farming.

Our government is implementing the national vision of prosperity by ensuring community peace and tranquillity and the rule of law with the least possible impact and using a patient approach. Continuous efforts are being made to extend the rule of law and ensure peace in both rural and urban areas.

 

Esteemed National People,
According to the current political situation, CNG prices have increased sharply. Our country lacks sufficient natural gas. We are having to repair gas-fired power stations as well as deal with sabotage of the national grid by terrorists. The country does not have a sufficient supply of electricity. Thus, 29 hydropower stations, one coal-fired power station, 28 natural gas-fired power plants and 610 diesel generators as well as two solar-powered stations are generating 7,121 megawatts of electricity.  Some 50 per cent of total generating capacity for electricity is from hydropower. A total of 60 renewable energy projects, including hydropower, wind power and solar power projects, will be implemented to generate 6,287 megawatts of electricity. Hydropower plants cannot generate electricity quickly, as these projects need at least five years for completion. The quickest generation of electricity is from solar power plants, and even these take about one and a half years to complete.
Efforts are being made to supply the national grid with 442 megawatts of electricity from Upper Yeywa Hydropower Project, Upper Kengtawng Hydropower Project and Thahtay Hydropower Project. Arrangements are also ongoing to implement other hydropower projects.

Esteemed National People,
Regarding the social sectors,
All our citizens can practise their faith freely. Some 87 per cent of the people are Buddhists. However, the new generation of youth have been subject to propaganda, brainwashing and indoctrination by some politicians and are brutally destroying race, language, religion and culture. Already, 52 members of the Sangha and one nun have been brutally killed and nine members of the Sangha have been injured; eight Sangha are missing.
Moreover, in the second term of the democratically elected government, teaching-learning materials aimed at undermining Myanmar’s traditions and culture were inserted into the basic education curriculum. Young people lost respect for teachers. Consequently, 47 education staff were murdered, 21 injured and 25 missing, meaning a total of 93 education staff. Surprisingly, Sagaing and Magway regions had a high number of murdered Sangha and education staff. Work is ongoing to arrest the perpetrators of these brutal killings, prosecute and sentence them under the law, with severe punishment. They will all need to face justice and receive appropriate sentences if found guilty, since no one is above the law.
Myanmar culture is being abused and misused by youth through online media. Consequently, youths are weak in their capacity to preserve their respective ethnic cultures and customs. Hence, during this short time, we have taken steps to promote and revitalize Myanmar’s traditional cultures as much as we can. The 23rd Performing Arts National Competition will take place in October 2022.
Our government is accelerating efforts to eradicating narcotic drugs which can destroy our human capital. During the tenure of our government, narcotic drugs and related accessories worth K1,546,705.6365 million (US$836.06 million) have been seized. Drug eradication actions will be accelerated. As we have evidence that these narcotic drugs came from Shan State, more efforts will be focused on searching, exposing and eradicating drug production, drug trafficking and drug dealing.

Esteemed National People,
With COVID-19 coming under control and stability being restored in the 2021-2022 academic year, a total of 39,242 basic education schools were opened, and 4,225,887 students enrolled. A total of 281,751 students sat for the matriculation examination in March 2022 and 123,877 students passed this examination. The government is making efforts for all school-age children to complete the KG+9 (middle school level). Basic education schools were reopened on 2 June, and more than 7.2 million students are attending. As our country still has a long way to go in education, basic education has to be compulsory. In order to support rural businesses and SMEs, one basic education high school in each of 50 selected districts will teach agriculture, livestock and mechanical subjects to students in grade 10 to grade 12 in the coming academic year. Students having completed Grade 12 will have the chance to continue learning at three-year courses at agriculture, veterinary science and technical institutes. Outstanding students will have the chance to continue at universities and pursue higher education. Students from the regular basic education high school will be able to choose the university they like after completion of Grade-12. We will need to build a modern nation by uplifting education.
COVID-19 was found on 23 March 2020 in Myanmar, and there were 614,083 patients with positive results until 30 July 2020. COVID-19 vaccination has been administered to 35,981,535 people up to 23 July 2022. The country has obtained more than 76 million doses of vaccines including donated ones. So far, Myanmar itself has produced 4,091,625 doses of vaccines locally.
In the sports sector, a total of 287 athletes from our country participated in the 31st SEA Games and secured nine golds, 18 silvers and 35 bronzes, totalling 62 medals. The achievement in medal tally is 2.25 times more than that in the 30th SEA Games. The number of Myanmar athletes in the 31st SEA Games was less than those in the 29th and 30th games but these Myanmar athletes won a larger number of gold medals. Consequently, the government has recognized the success of these athletes who brought honour to the State. Preparations are being made for Myanmar to compete in the coming 32nd SEA Games.

When I personally held talks with the ethnic armed organizations, we agreed on all the matters discussed. The Constitution can be amended by the Hluttaw under Chapter XII. These were what we discussed. To make amendments at the Hluttaw, the parties representing the ethnic national people and regions need to enter the Hluttaws. We are trying to make this happen. I would like to urge EAOs to cooperate with the government.

 

Esteemed National People,
I would now like to turn to the prosperity of the nation and food security, which are our two national visions.
The prosperity of the nation means that peace must be achieved, jobs must be generated, and the country set on a democratic path. In our country, endowed with abundant natural resources, the quicker we can achieve peace, the quicker we will achieve stability as well as development and growth.
Our government is implementing the national vision of prosperity by ensuring community peace and tranquillity and the rule of law with the least possible impact and using a patient approach. Continuous efforts are being made to extend the rule of law and ensure peace in both rural and urban areas.
Food security is essential for the survival of all citizens. Our country has some 33 million acres of cultivable lands on which rice, beans and pulses, maize, sesame and cotton are primarily cultivated. In some places, crops are cultivated through mono-cropping and in some places double-cropping. Across the country, each person’s rice consumption rate is 155 kilogrammes (97 pyi) per year, and arrangements are being made to increase the per-acre yield of crops. In order to ensure food sufficiency for people, priority is being given to the extended cultivation of rice and wheat. Additionally, the respective regions are emphasizing the expanded cultivation of other crops for supplementary foods.
Some 70 per cent of the country’s population are residing in rural areas of the country. They are engaged in livelihoods based on agriculture and livestock farming. Hence, it is necessary to develop production procedures based on modern techniques, to enhance the living standards of rural people, which in turn will raise the living standards in the country as a whole.

Esteemed National People,
Our two political visions are strengthening genuine disciplined multiparty democracy and building the Union based on democracy and federalism.
Every person and organization need to support the establishment and strengthening of a genuine disciplined multiparty democracy to make such a system successful. In so doing, the first basic requirement will be to avoid any derailment from the path to democracy. All persons and organizations need to follow the Constitution and laws. Holding a free and fair general election successfully is crucial for strengthening multiparty democracy.
The election is a national duty linked to the prestige of the State. Only when the election is free and fair, will multiparty democracy desired by the people flourish and only then will the nation have higher prestige in political history and among the international community. Committing electoral fraud and using unscrupulous ways to fix the election will tarnish the image of the State and delay the democratic process of the country. The voting fraud in the 2020 multiparty democracy general election tarnished the image of the State’s efforts to achieve a democratic culture.
In order to ensure the strengthening of genuine, disciplined multiparty democracy, it is crucial to have correct voting lists in the multiparty democratic general elections. Relevant organizations cooperate with each other in compiling the basic voting list. When completed, relevant township-based political parties participate in checking the voter lists for correctness.
The Union Election Commission joined hands with combined inspection teams to inspect political parties and collect the list of political parties, including the compilation of voter lists under Section 18 of the Political Parties Registration Law and Rule 23 as of August 2021. Up to the end of July 2022, 85 parties have been inspected, and plans are underway to inspect the remaining parties.

Esteemed National People,
Democracy is a governance system where people choose their representative to represent them. Federalism is a system of power-sharing among different regions and states, ethnicities and races. Thus, a Union system based on democracy and federalism means that ethnic national people across the nation live together under a governance system of their own choice, with each state or region having the right to legislate. Only then will a genuine, disciplined multiparty democratic system emerge.
Our country gained independence through the Panglong Agreement with Union spirit. The essence of the Panglong Agreement is the Panglong Spirit, which is also called the Union Spirit. The Union Spirit is based on building a future Union rooted in democracy and federalism. Therefore, holding meetings with ethnic armed organizations must be based on the Union Spirit to be able to discuss the actual requirements of the regions and the country.

Esteemed National People,
I would like to share some of the future plans of our government regarding state duties.
In order to hold a free and fair election, the nation must be peaceful and stable. The entire people will need to cast their vote as they wish without being exposed to threats, coercion and pressures in any form. The coming election must be held in all parts of the nation freely and fairly. To ensure there is no unfairness, threats or coercion in the coming election, armed conflicts must cease. To be able to hold the elections, our public security system will accelerate efforts to stabilize the politics and security of the country.
Within the past six months, KIA and KNU insurgents have been providing large numbers of manpower and military equipment, including arms and ammunition, to some areas of the Sagaing region, some parts of the Magway Region (North), and some parts of Kayah and Kayin states. These areas, therefore, are now subject to terror attacks and destruction. It will be imperative to restore normalcy to these the regions by imposing the rule of law, and peace and stability measures. Some captured weapons and ammunition were produced by KIA and flowed from the KNU controlled areas such as the Myanmar-Thai border regions. Emphasis will be placed on preventing the production, the purchase and trafficking of illegal weapons and ammunition.
The 4th of January 2023 will be the Diamond Jubilee Independence Day of Myanmar. We will continue to prioritize the cessation of armed conflicts. As 2022 has been set as the year of peace, it is necessary to implement the peace process in a pragmatic way. Thus, I myself invited the leaders of ethnic armed organizations-EAOs to join the peace talks. These talks brought good results for the regions and the nation, so, if the ethnic armed organizations come to the peace talks, the future politics of the nation will be assured.
In order to ensure completion of the basic voter lists for the next elections, the population and voter list were checked in 298 townships, with the process underway in 14 townships and 13 more townships to be undertaken to meet the cent per cent completion.
Many persons broke the law by casting votes without citizenship scrutiny cards in the 2020 general election. To address this, the Pankhinn project is being implemented from 3 March 2021 to issue citizenship scrutiny cards (CSC) to 3.4 million people. So far, we have been able to issue the cards to 3.3 million people. Work processes were delayed due to threats from terrorist groups in some areas. But the government will strive for a 100 per cent completion of the project. The CSC will be issued to 1,748,575 estimated people (more than 1.7 million) so that all eligible voters have the right to cast votes in the coming election.
As 46 more districts were formed for ensuring a smooth process of political, administrative, economic and social matters of the State, efforts will be continued for ensuring a smooth work process in regional development and administrative measures.

Esteemed National People,
Our country is a nation where ethnic people have been residing for many years. From before losing independence, the whole country was under the administrative system of centralization, although the types of administration were different in regions and areas. Thus, when we gained independence, the whole nation, the whole Union collectively gained independence.
Hence, our country, which had been formed through the Union system since historical times, must now build a stronger Union system for ensuring its long-term existence. All ethnic national people must have equal rights under democracy. To ensure a strengthened and stable state and enjoy equal democratic rights, it is necessary to undertake two reforms. These are political reform and ethnic affairs reform.
Despite seeming to be separate, these two points are interrelated with each other. With regard to political reform, three general elections have been held since the country shifted into a multiparty democratic system. There are 330 townships in the country. The 2010 election was held in 325 townships, the 2015 election in 323 townships and the 2020 election in 315 townships. It can be seen that the number of townships where elections were held have declined progressively with each election. The majority of the townships where the election could not be held are located in ethnic areas. Thus, it was during the period of governments elected by democracy that the number of ethnic areas that have lost their democratic right to vote has increased. This is a fact that we should all heed.
In the townships where elections could not be held, the reasons were a lack of peace and stability. No matter what the underlying causes were, as the saying goes, “The strength of the nation lies within”, the only answer is to ensure equal opportunities to ethnic national people and ethnic areas. Opportunities must be given to ethnic national people to demand their rights and address their grievances on an official political platform. To do so, Hluttaws are of importance under the Constitution. It is crucial that ethnic national people and people from all walks of life are represented in the Hluttaws. Our country’s current election system is Winner takes All or FPTP–First Past The Post. Due to powerful political parties, other political parties representing ethnic nationals and other groups are weak. Thus, there is less chance for these minority representatives to be elected, and less chance for their voices to be heard on the official political platform of the Hluttaw.
Please observe the political parties in our country. Basically, they can be divided into three types. First, they are political parties based on political doctrine. Second, the parties representing the regions, and third, the parties representing ethnic groups. All have the support from their respective groups. What is needed for them to all participate on the political platform (Hluttaw)? We need to reform the electoral system. It can be seen that it is necessary to implement not only the FPTP system, but also implement PR – the Proportional Representation system. In so doing, the government, the Union Election Commission and relevant organizations as well as political parties need to reform the systems. It will be vital to take adequate time for the reform process.
We have to implement such a system for ensuring the long-term existence of the Union and the country and for ending the armed conflict between ethnic nationals. Only then will the people and the democratic system be in harmony. To bring this about, we will have to raise public awareness about such a system, adopt plans for the work processes and organize all to participate in such a system.
When I personally held talks with the ethnic armed organizations, we agreed on all the matters discussed. The Constitution can be amended by the Hluttaw under Chapter XII. These were what we discussed. To make amendments at the Hluttaw, the parties representing the ethnic national people and regions need to enter the Hluttaws. We are trying to make this happen. I would like to urge EAOs to cooperate with the government. I will hold meetings with ethnic armed organizations for the second time. At the same time, I invite other EAOs that have yet to hold talks to participate. If they actually want to serve the interests of their regions and ethnic people, hold discussions, make requests, and join the official political platform, we have kept the door wide open. I would like to invite them to bravely walk in.
Serving the interests of the State and ethnic people, our government will build a better State and improve socio-economic life.
In line with the theme “Keep Moving Forward to Achieve Our Goal” our government will build a better nation and improve the socio-economic conditions to serve the interests of the State and ethnic national people. In line with the theme “The Strength of the Nation Lies Within”, I would like to conclude by calling for unity and cooperation.
Again, I wish all national people and citizens good health and well-being.
Thank you all.

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