Ma Ba Tha rails against Yangon Region Chief Minister while urging calm

THE Central Committee for the Protection of Race and Religion, whose local acronym is Ma Ba Tha, has released an announcement on 12 July in which it urged its subcommittees nationwide to focus on ‘peaceful missionary work’ rather than mobilising mass rallies in response to recent political setbacks.
Ma Ba Tha is known nationally and internationally as a provocative and outspoken Buddhist ultra-nationalist organisation that promotes ideals of racial and religious purity.
The announcement was directed to deter possible protests against Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein’s comments on Ma Ba Tha in Singapore and in Yangon. The chief minister remarked that the committee was ‘unnecessary’.
Following the chief minister’s remarks the committee called an emergency meeting with leading monks and reached a decision to call the president and the State Counsellor to lodge complaints over the chief minister’s words.
In a recent response to queries by the media in connection with what the chief minister said, Union Minister for Religious and Cultural Affairs Thura U Aung Ko refused to comment but said the chief minister exercised his democratic right to free expression.
Ma Ba Tha later appealed to its subcommittees to remain calm in its announcement after learning that U Phyo Min Thein’s statement was a free expression of his personal opinion.—Myanmar News Agency

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