State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi held a meeting with the chairpersons from leading bodies of the Self-Administered Division/Zones and heads of administrative bodies from Nay Pyi Taw Council Area, regions and states yesterday.
The meeting at the Thingaha Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw was also attended by Union Ministers U Kyaw Tint Swe and U Min Thu, Deputy Ministers U Khin Maung Tin, U Tin Myint and U Hla Maw Oo.
At the meeting the State Counsellor said that Myanmar was a country which was moving towards the goal of a Democratic Federal Union; to establish a genuine democratic union, basically, it was necessary to achieve unity based on diversity; the fires of internal conflicts have existed in Myanmar ever since she gained independence because she has not been able to establish unity based on diversity.
She said when she used the term diversity, she meant not only racial but also ideological diversity; that was why she hoped that everyone understood how important it was to achieve unity based on diversity; to get this kind of understanding it was necessary to study the situation of the world; the main thing that she wanted to say was the fact that it was possible for political systems to exist based on different characteristics among the people; it was necessary to balance these two things; it was natural for everyone to want to preserve their different characteristics.
In her opinion, she thought that the reason for the existence of diversity due to its preservation was the result of the basic belief that there was no security for these people; if a certain attitude develops which feels that there was no security for that individual if this person was different from others, this person would consider others who were different as enemies; this person would see others as people who would endanger his security; that was why it was necessary to strive to reach a stage when we could eliminate this kind of outlook and give security to the basic laws of the country and its basic values; in striving for this, the Union Government and various levels of the governmental departments also need to make efforts; in the same way every individual need to make an effort.
Today, she wanted all the self-administered division /zones to think how they could assist in the establishment of the Democratic Federal Union; people in every area and every group want to preserve their unique characteristics; it would be possible to say we are firmly on the path towards a Democratic Federal Union if we were able to nurture a spirit which believes such preservation has a better chance of success under the umbrella of a Union.
The self-administered division / zones are not the same as the states; in the states there were all kinds of ethnic races; we could say that this was a challenge; we could also say this was a kind of strength; we need to turn diversity into strength; for example in a group, in solving a problem, this group would be able to solve many different types of problems if there were people with different skills.
That was why Self-administered zones should try to seek ways to turn diversity into strength with a firm determination; a country such as ours with so many diverse races was rare; we need to turn diversity into strength; not only to turn diversity into strength, we need to strive towards turning it into unity; we need to strive so that if one person lacks in strength, the other person would fill in the needed strength; we need to work for this kind of belief to develop.
The chairmen of leading bodies of self-administered division / zones need to strive for developing their division and zones in the best possible way; she believed that all of them understood how big and difficult the challenges they were facing were; the reason for this meeting was to overcome these challenges together; she said the ultimate goal was to establish a Democratic Federal Union and in order to do this to solve and eliminate matters which can obstruct and cause problems for establishing a federal union.
The two main challenges we are facing are in terms of health it was the COVID-19 matter and in terms of politics it was the general elections to be conducted in the near future; the participation of all the people was number one priority for us to be able to overcome these two matters; we have repeately said “People are the key”; all of you who are sitting in this room are included in “the people”; we are all citizens; please do not forget that each individual person is crucial; as persons holding state responsibilities in key positions as citizens, you have responsibilities; she believed that they have heavier responsibilities than others; that was why she wanted to urge everyone to overcome the two challenges currently being faced effectively and successfully; these challenges could be overcome; she said.
To be successful in doing something, first of all you need self-confidence; you need to believe that you have the requisite skills to be able to solve, face and solve a problem; it is also necessary to believe that there is not only individual skill but also a collective of skills; if there was a belief that you have collective strength and that there were people willing to provide support and assistance, you can assume that your path to success is assured.
She wanted to say something about COVID-19; in our whole country government personnel have to work very hard and suffer great hardships; we can be proud of the fact that these efforts have resulted in meeting the challenge of this disease not only at the country level but also at the global level; she was grateful for all those who have participated in these efforts; the COVID-19 thing is not yet over; the duty to solve this problem is not only for our country; the main thing is that it is related to vaccines and doing research; we cannot say that we have overcome this problem until a vaccine has been developed; we should not feel disheartened for the fact that our country is not capable of producing a vaccine; everyone is working in cooperation to develop a vaccine for COVID-19; the fact that each and everyone is working hard is not only for our country but also for the whole world. That is why we need to keep our discipline and follow the rules and regulations until a vaccine has been developed.
The relevant departments and government personnel need to ensure that our people do not let down their guard and become careless; the general elections will be conducted on 8 November; for the general elections to be successful, the basic thing that is needed is for it to be free and fair; to have the freedom to vote, we need to ensure that all eligible citizen who have the right to vote are able to vote; in carrying this out there must be fairness.
The right to vote is the biggest right for a citizen, not only is it a very valuable right, but it is also a very important duty; it is the duty of the State to ensure that citizens are able to perform their duties and to exercise the right to vote; therefore it is the first duty of all government personnel to ensure that all eligible citizens who have the right to vote are able to vote and not to leave behind any eligible voter; the biggest challenge we are facing at this time is this matter; we need to create the right conditions so that all these citizens are able to vote in freedom and security.
She added that when she said security, what she meant to say mainly was health security; this was the responsibility of the State and also the responsibility of governmental personnel; the states/regions were performing their duties; now the self-administered division / zones need to perform their duties; the Self-administered division / zones need to show that they can really perform their duties effectively; in this way we can show that we have laid down the basic foundation of a democratic union; we can present the best image for our country by showing that our citizens can exercise their rights and are able to perform their duty; she wanted the responsible persons of the self-administered division / zones to try and make sure that the citizens have the right to vote and that the people perform their duties. Our country works with collective strength; that was why we always make it a point to mention “national reconciliation” in presenting our government policy; “national reconciliation” – means everyone working together to harmoniously merge different opinions and values.
All of us should realize how difficult it is to build unity based on this present matter; we would be able to build a genuine Democratic Federal Union only if we have mutual understanding, open-mindedness and mutual respect and mutual trust. In reality, it is not easy to build mutual respect and mutual trust; it is not easy to trust someone; there are persons one can trust but one must also strive to become a trustworthy person.
Governmental personnel who are interconnected with the people’s development are also important; it is important for the people to trust governmental personnel; responsible officials should listen to the voices of the people; by listening to the voices of the local people, a better understanding could be achieved among each other; trust has to be build based on understanding.
For the self-administered division / zones, there can be requirements in the administrative sector. The Union Government is working for the whole country to the best of its ability to ensure harmony and equality; it can be assured that the Union Government would work to the best of its ability in accordance with the need of each region and area; as the responsible official of each region knows what is needed, the Union Government would make a suitable decision as to how and what kind of assistance need to be provided; therefore, based on the submissions made by the respective responsible officials, she would take immediate action on urgent matters and with respect to matters that would need more time, continuous efforts would be made to assist and provide support for these matters.
After the speech of State Counsellor, the Chairperson of Naga Self-Administered Zone, U Kay Sai, discussed the requirement of infrastructural development in their area, Chairperson U Ar Kar from Danu Self-Administered Zone about negotiation with leading bodies of self-administered division/zones before appointing civil service staff of the government ministries, the role of their administration in drawing laws and bylaws, the formation of planning and implementation committees and attending the events for peace-making processes.
U Khun San Lwin from Pa’O Self-Administered Zone discussed control and elimination of narcotic drugs, developing pilot projects, low-interest loan programmes for young entrepreneurs, the establishment of training schools for local ethnic people and land plot for construction of a court.
U Win Kyaw (a) U Aik Mein from Pa Laung Self-Administered Zone discussed upgrade of departmental offices, budget allocation for a combined office, legal actions against the illegal import of tea leaves; U Kyauk Tal Chan from Kokang Self-Administered Zone talked on the situation of their areas, organization and population, upgrade of the hospital, national registration for Kokang people and development of Chinshwehaw economic zone; U Yan Kyaw from Wa Self-Administered Division presented peace and local development issues.
In response to the discussions, the State Counsellor said that: the government will work for the development of self-administered areas; the rule of law is taken into serious consideration as it is necessary for the development and requires financial, human resources and material supports; approval for citizenship is required to meet the existing law; schools need to educate students to avoid narcotic drugs; peace is fundamental for national development; fair trade must be considered in the development of Chinshwehaw economic zone and it will be discussed with China; diversity must turn into a strength; the government will emphasize border area development.
She also made a wide range of discussions on the government’s plans for these areas.
In her concluding remark, the State Counsellor said that it is expected that all the nationals have a common hope for the country although people have different backgrounds of political parties and areas; serving for the nation is a noble task for all civil service staff; the duty must be performed with the highest capacity in a proper way.
She added that the persons who were elected by the public must not betray the trust of people; all the common people expect peace and development and it is an undeniable truth; diverse interest must be negotiated for peace and development; peace should be developed by both brains and hearts; military powers should not be used in building peace; development must be encouraged through rule of law and justice; rule of law, national reconciliation and non-terrorism play crucial role for Myanmar and the establishment of a Democratic Federal Union, and the discussions at the meeting could support it.
The State Counsellor concluded her speech, saying that hidden problems cannot be solved and that they must be identified first; the government welcome the report on problems to be able to address them; it has been firmly believed that the collective strength could ensure a harmonious development of the country, and all the stakeholders are to share this determination.—MNA (Translated by Kyaw Myaing, Aung Khin)