(ME 1380, 1st Day of New Year)
Dear esteemed citizens, on this auspicious occasion of the New Year, I send you all, greetings and good wishes to be blessed with good health and happiness.
Dear esteemed citizens,
The priority goals of our Union Government have already been declared on 30th March, the day on which I took my oath of office as President. On this matter, I have heard that the expectations of our citizens have become high and they are also quite eager to know how these goals would be met. At this opportune time I will present an explanation to our esteemed citizens.
In our efforts to tighten management controls over departments that are lagging behind in reform, these departments will have to implement the development policies of our Union Government in accordance with priority. Out of the three basic needs of our citizens which are “food, clothing and shelter”, it has been found that housing for the people is a vital need. We have also noticed the sufferings of our people who have to live in make-shift shelters because they do not have a place to live. Among our civil service personnel who are still in active service, there are some who do not have proper housing. I have also noticed that a great number of civil service personnel after retirement are suffering greatly because they do not have housing. That is why our Union Government will work hard on a priority basis so that civil service personnel will have at least a house or an apartment and live in dignity by the time they retire. During the two year term of our Union Government, we have already built (4627) housing units for public service personnel in States and Regions.
In the remaining three years also, we have already made arrangements to build more than (7000) housing units for civil service personnel. In the remanding three years, by extending this Programme, (10,000) housing units will be built and sold for civil service personnel to be repaid in installments on a monthly basis. So that the salary scales of clerical staff and officers are in accord with the minimum daily wage Ks. 4800 of a worker, the Union Government has already made calculations and drawn up plans to increase the salary scales of all clerical staff by 20 per cent and that of all officers by 10 per cent. According to that calculation, the salary of a lowest level clerical staff will increase from Ks. 120,000 to Ks. 138,000 and the highest salary scale of an officer will increase from Ks. 500,000 to Ks. 550,000. Since the Union Government has made these arrangements for civil service personnel, they should be reminded that they also need to reciprocate by participating in the reform programmes of the Union Government by cooperating and accepting responsibilities.
The Ministry of Electricity and Energy will produce 6000 MW in the coming three years by making an increase of 3000 MW from the current 3000 MW in its effort to increase electric power. In electric power distribution, in addition to the (230) KV line currently being used, another (500) KV line will be added within the next three years.
As for the Ministry of Construction, it will build (100) miles of new highways during the next year. From among the (200) miles of gravel roads, we will be turning these into tar roads or concrete roads. As for rural roads, we will be building about (600) miles of new rural roads. From among rural roads currently being used, we will be upgrading about (1000) miles of rural roads to tar or concrete roads. For smooth transportation and the safety of our citizens, we will be conducting detailed inspections and assessments of (29) suspension bridges all over the country within three months with the cooperation of foreign experts. From among these suspension bridges, those bridges which may pose danger will be repaired within six months in order of priority. In giving out loans to SME’s (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), a Credit Bureau will be established which can speed up the loan disbursement process and gather information regarding the credit worthiness of such enterprises. Permission to establish such a bureau will be given within one month.
To shore up and strengthen the judiciary sector, I have already met the Chief Justice of the Union and the Union Supreme Court judges, and have given necessary instructions to make sure that in all respective courts, judges at all levels are exercising proper supervisory functions with full accountability and responsibility. Our Union Law Support Association and Rule of Law Centers should cooperate actively in this regard. We need to strive for a judiciary branch that is impartial, independent and which balances fairness and judicious reasoning.
We need to ensure that in the face of the law all are equal and that things are done in accordance with the law.
In our efforts to combat corruption which has become customary and has taken root in most departments, with increased intensity it will be necessary to review the rights and responsibilities of government staff to ensure that there is a proper balance. Each department will have to take responsibility and respectively take action. The Anti-Corruption Commission, the Media and the People will have to weed out corrupt cases in a proper manner. It is very important to report cases of involvement by people with authority and their efforts to interfere, with accurate information and credible evidences. To intensify efforts to combat corruption, I have already urged the Anti-Corruption Commission to draw up an Action Plan and to exert more efforts in this endeavor.
Dear esteemed citizens,
To intensify our efforts to protect against human rights abuses, our Union Government will redouble our efforts in cooperation with CBO’s (Community-based organizations) and CSO’s (Civil Society Organizations), the Media and the People. The Human Rights Commission should endeavor to provide protection to ensure the legal basic rights of individuals, the fundamental rights of citizens and the freedom and security of citizens at interrogation centers, police station lock-ups, court detention rooms, jails, and hard labor prisoner camps, in fact, in all these places without discrimination. I have already met the Human Rights Commission members and have given instructions to ensure that citizens do not lose their inalienable rights, in other words their fundamental rights. The organizations themselves which are working in the area of human rights should take extra care not to trample upon the fundamental rights and dignity of any individual and to act fairly in accordance with the law.
To intensify our efforts to combat narcotic drugs, it is necessary to focus our attention on the large operators who are engaged in production, distribution and storage of these drugs. In cases where we have an individual who turns a blind eye or knowingly fail to take action, while narcotic and psychotropic drugs are being traded freely, we need to take action against the person who has primary responsibility. At the same time we need to take stringent action in cases where we lose track of the perpetrators, and cases of abandoned ownerless drugs. We need to give more authority to drug enforcement police officers and on the other hand we need to make the reward and punishment system more effective. If the situation requires, I will establish a Rapid Response Drug Enforcement Unit at the national level.
To prevent the wastage of public funds, to carry out proper management of projects and to estimate project costs as accurately as possible, it may be necessary to calculate based on local prices. Furthermore, we need to change the current habit of not using the allotted funds for submitted project budgets. For programmes which have huge financial outlays, we need to upgrade the capacity for project monitoring and evaluation. We will also need to take very harsh actions against officers at various levels who report fake project completion reports; failure to follow international procedures for inviting tenders; and cases where advantages are taken by using loopholes in tender invitation procedures. In this case, the Union Auditor-General and all Audit Committee established in all departments should be able to perform their duties without giving favor and without engaging in corrupt practices in strict compliance with the rules.
Dear esteemed citizens,
I will work for the return of farmlands confiscated illegally and to ensure that compensation has been given, in close consultation with various States/Regional governments based on the findings, remarks and opinions of different levels of committees, formed for the review of farmlands and other lands, which also include Hluttaw representatives. I will also work to ensure that confiscated farmlands and garden lands which have been released are returned to their original owners. I will also work to ensure that in regard to confiscated farmlands and garden lands which have not yet been released, expeditious review is made by the various review committees in consultation with the States/Regional governments for the return of these released lands to the original owners.
In working for uplifting of the socio-economic life of farmers, I will work speedily and diligently for the farmers to get land ownership certificates in the entire country within one year. I will also work to ensure that agricultural loans are disbursed without delay in time for planting. Tax will not be collected on agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, pesticides and agricultural implements.
Priority will be given to drinking water, agriculture, electricity and roads.
To improve the life of workers, in the short term, we will have to strive to manage the workers social security fund effectively. To improve job opportunities within the country, we will invite foreign investments. We will also work to make sure that our workers in foreign countries are safe, and that they enjoy their rights. For this we will work with other countries based on bilateral agreements.
To enable students to pursue higher learning, we will work to raise the assistance provided. At the same time, we will focus and work towards having more students in the professional disciplines. Providing opportunities to students from low income families and poor families to pursue higher education will soon become an important policy for the State. We have to work to ensure that students with abilities get the opportunity to pursue the disciplines for which they qualify. To ensure they get the positions they deserve, we need to improve ways and means for them to study abroad or at home.
Dear esteemed citizens,
In future years, our Union Government in its march for reform needs to begin at the base level which is closest to the People, who are the original owners of sovereign power. We need to approach reform with the twin ideas of “together with the people” and “United strength”. When we say “together with the people”, it does not merely mean listening to the voices of the people. It means we have to build “United strength” by giving high regard to the wishes and opinions of the people.
In places where there is a mismatch in the reform process, we will need to replace with people who are qualified and can work expeditiously, if need be. Especially in view of the fact that we need to make preparations for the Federal Union administrative system, we will need to reduce central control and make changes where needed based on the suggestions and recommendations of the States and Regions.
In carrying out the above programs, the basic idea we need to follow is thus: “make reforms without hurting stability”. I wish to submit that we need to work with the “United strength” of the Union Government, other branches of government, professionals, civil society organizations, the Media and the People. Especially, we need to work for the transition process based on the standards of transparency, openness, accountability and responsibility at all levels.
Dear esteemed citizens,
I will strive with heart and soul to bring forth the changes which are the aspirations of the people; make them see with their very eyes. In this New Year, if we all work with “United Strength”, with renewed body and spirit, I am fully confident that we will reach our common goal and our common aim, very, very soon.
At this auspicious time of the Myanmar New Year, may all Union citizens have peace of mind; may the Union be blessed with Peace, Development and Prosperity. May all Union citizens participate in the building of the Democratic Federal Union, in whatever role they may be assigned. I conclude this speech with these good wishes.
Thank you all.