Shan Nationalities League for Democracy paper read at 2018 International Day of Democracy ceremony

SNLD copy
Nan Khin Saw

Mingalarbar! I am Pyithu Hluttaw representative Nan Khin Saw of Kunhing constituency in Shan State. I am going to read the paper on the commemoration of 2018 International Day of Democracy, on behalf of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD).
Greetings and well wishes to government officials concerned, officials from the Hluttaws, diplomats and all special guests from the SNLD. It’s found that the motto of this year is, “Let’s all lend a hand in making democracy thrive”. I also want to say that this motto is suitable for Myanmar, because Myanmar has been making an attempt for the democracy system to thrive.
Myanmar has been a state that was largely ruled by one person throughout. Moreover, the country has been suffering the effects of armed conflicts for 70 years. We have already formed Hluttaws, comprised of 75 per cent of representatives elected by the people. That’s why we can carry out the legislative process at the Hluttaws.
Although we could not fully run a government fully by Pyithu Hluttaw representatives, we are now able to form the 75 per cent of democratic government. We haven’t yet established the emergence of federal union that all the ethnic races desire for. Moreover, plans are under way to implement national reconciliation and internal peace process that are of great importance for the country. As far as I can see, rule of law plays a pivotal role in forming a democratic system.
There will be difficulties in establishing a democratic government without the rule of law. Democracy is being run by laws and regulations, thus it is needed to put emphasis on the judiciary and administrative sectors. As I mentioned above, armed conflicts can make hindrance to the prevalence of law, and we should take into consideration ceasing of the armed conflicts as a top priority, aiming to build the democratic state.
Another salient point is that we should not put aside the freedom of expression because everyone is entitled to hold their own opinions freely at the Hluttaw or other places. The democracy system cannot be flourished without the freedom of expressions, and we need to shun hate speech and other trivial matters.
The advantages of democracy include right to freedom of thought, freedom of worship, freedom of press and freedom of innovations that are very crucial in enhancing the development of the country, and moreover, every citizen of the state can enjoy the quality of life. In fact, democracy is a system of rule by law, not individuals.
Democracy is a collective leadership system that can resolve the differences through discussion. Everyone has to perform his or her duties while taking a hand in running the country. In a democratic system, we may inevitably meet some delays and inconveniences because decisions have to be made through the approval of the majority that can reduce the objections. I want to put emphasis on the importance of media freedom, which is one of the salient points in the democratization process. Media is a powerful pillar of democracy that can be considered as the fourth pillar of the state all over the world. Freedom of the media can measure the level of media independence of the country.
In a democratic system, it is necessary for authorities concerned to listen to people’s voice. Through the free media, the government and the Hluttaws can know the people’s voice. Thus freedom of expression is of paramount importance in the democratization process. In my opinion, we can know if the country’s democracy breaks down or not by judging the media freedom. The government should try to improve the media development if they want to implement the motto of today’s ceremony. I would like to conclude my paper by urging all of you to work towards a flourishing democratic system in the country.

Thank you.

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