In their second one-year performance review, the Mandalay Region Government states they have promoted public healthcare, education and socio-economic development.
Concerning public healthcare the regional government has upgraded rural health departments to township hospitals and also expanded existing hospitals.
Mandalay Region Chief Minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung said they expanded the patient wards and staff residencies when upgrading to township hospitals. “We upgraded five rural health departments into township hospitals this year and we stocked them with appropriate medicine,” he said.
The Mandalay Government spent Ks 177.68 million for healthcare in 2016-2017 fiscal year and Ks 230 million in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. “We purchased 113 types of medical products in 2016-2017 and Ks 230 million worth of medicine in 2017-2018,” said the regional chief minister. He added that there are three vaccination programs. “In 2016-2017 we administered 93 per cent of ringworm vaccination and we managed the same number the next year. In 2017-2018 we administered 90 per cent of vaccinations for Japanese Encephalitis. Our region still has cased of elephantiasis but we’ve managed to perform 96.28 per cent of vaccinations in our two year term.”
Concerning public education, the regional government built new schools, expanded existing ones and established new examination centers.
“In our two years we’ve spent Ks 15.698 billion of the union budget to construct 573 new schools,” said the regional chief minister. “Donors contributed Ks 3.54 billion for the construction of 74 new school wards. We have upgraded 70 existing schools and have established 21 new examination centers throughout 28 townships in the region.” The regional government also provided extracurricular education for working children in seven townships. In the first year, sixty volunteer teachers provided education for over 600 children and in the second year they reached out to 400 children. “We allotted funds for ensuring children reach 6th or 7th grade. There were request to teach ethnic literature and languages, noticeably Shan and Lisu,” said the chief minister.
Mandalay Region reportedly received US$ 1.882 billion in foreign investments and Ks 2829.67 billion in domestic investments. “We receive foreign investments from twelve countries,” said the chief minister. “As for domestic investments it comes from thirty local corporations. It’s very encouraging to see these numbers. We have formed the Mandalay Region Investment Committee that provides one stop service. Investors attend meetings and can gain approvals and licenses on the spot.”
With regards to further attracting investors to the region, the chief minister replied that there is huge potential for investment in Mandalay. “That’s why we’re working for increased electrical energy production. If we can provide more stable electricity and use of land then investors will come in fast. This is good for both the region and the country as a whole and it will create jobs for local residents as well,” said the chief minister.
The regional government is also constructing rural and urban residences under a five-year project, and a residence for civil servants called the Aung Myay Mandalar Residence.
Dr. Zaw Myint Maung said there are 2,000 housing projects for Mandalay Region. He added that over 65,000 civil servants in the region and only 3.28 per cent of them have residency. This means only three in a hundred civil servants have residence. In the two year period the regional government has built 936 apartment rooms and in the Aung Myay Mandalar Residence will have housing with 240 rooms each.
The civil servants are only required to pay 30 per cent mortgage upfront.
The regional government has also equipped 2,117 out of 4,807 villages in the region with electric power. The chief minister said Ks 18 billion was spent building six 66KV sub-power stations and thirteen 33KV sub-power stations among other processes to provide electricity to the aforementioned villages.
Both rural and urban Mandalay has received considerable improvements to infrastructure and power supply. “Visitors from other cities are fond of Mandalay,” commented the chief minister. The regional government has constructed a total of 7.4 miles of concrete roads, 196 miles of tar roads, 109 concrete bridges, and 225 bridges over bodies of water all over Mandalay Region using Ks 13.89 billion.
“Some of the banks along the Irrawaddy river have collapsed and we had to relocate a village from Myingyan and Nyaung-U each,” said the chief minister. “We’ve spent Ks 2.5 billion constructing 33 irrigation canals to control flooding for 31,525 acres of fields,” he added.
The chief minister said he wants the people to understand that the government is elected by the people and therefore has a duty to fulfill the needs and requirements of the people. But he also added that active participation from every citizen is needed as the government cannot accomplish things by itself.
Dr. Tayzar San, Director of Association for Spreading True Knowledge, spoke of the Mandalay Government’s performance, “It is important to know how to use the people’s strength to carry out the people’s will. The people need to be involved in such things as anti-corruption movements.”
The Mandalay Region Government has expressed interest in dealing with confiscated lands and anti-drug movements. The regional government has returned 3,000 acres of confiscated lands to their original owners in the two year period. The chief minister said the scene of farmers protesting for their confiscated lands is disheartening. “We do everything we can for them,” he said. “There are about 140,000 plots of confiscated land that we are scrutinizing for returning. We want to return it the rightful owner.”
“We recently came into possession of 4,000 acres of land confiscated for building an airport and 290 acres in Pyin Oo Lwin. We want to give back as much as possible within five years but we have other concerns too,” he added.
The chief minister said that Mandalay Region receives harsh criticism for drug abuse. “Our region is a hub point so there are many people coming in and out all the time,” said the chief minister. “We have apprehended a lot of drug dealers and users. But the rate of smuggling is higher than the rate of apprehending them so it only seems drug abuse is rampant but we manage to seize them at gates and through informed contacts,” added the chief minister. Every June the confiscated drugs are destroyed but more keep pouring into the region.
Another thing the region is criticized for is vehicle accidents involving motorbikes. The chief minister said cooperation from the public is key here as even after much awareness raising there are still frequent reports of vehicle accidents.
The chief minister said he is not very satisfied with the status of security in the region. “We have a force of 400 officers patrolling around the region constantly. It is not a lawless region but the rate of crime, especially by young people, is persistent. It may be due to influence of drugs or gambling but young people will steal or commit robberies in all forms,” said the chief minister.
Dr. Zaw Soe, from the International Relations and Political Science Department, Mandalay University, that active participation from the public is paramount in a democratic state. He said that many citizens do not follow traffic rules even though there are traffic lights and officers in place.
The chief minister said there are still bountiful opportunities for improvement and development in Mandalay Region. “There’s the New Yatanarpon City Project and another project in Pyin Oo Lwin. We are building and improving ports with help from Singapore. We have a lot of merchandise and commodities to transport along the Ayeyawady River but not very developed ports yet.”
The chief minister said the Mandalay government will do its best to continue providing for the people for the remaining three years of office.
By Ma Hanni
(Translated by Chris)