State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in her capacity as Chairperson of the Central Committee for Development of Border Areas and National Races, visited Cocogyun Township yesterday. She held talks on development programmes of the township with departmental officials and viewed the high school and the people’s hospital. Her entourage included Union Ministers U Min Thu, Lt-Gen Soe Htut and U Thant Sin Maung, Yangon Region Government Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, Chief of Myanmar Police Force Police Lt-Gen Aung Win Oo and officials.
At the meeting hall of the Township General Administration Department, the State Counsellor held discussions with the local officials.
GAD officer Daw Moe Moe Aye reported on the situations of area, including population, rainfall, works for reopening of schools, renovation of school buildings, monthly rice supplies, electricity, major business of the township, development programme and facts about the township.
Deputy Director-General U Kyi Tin from the Yangon Region Development Committee explained upgrade of roads, free distribution of drinking water and construction projects; Chairman U Maung Maung Latt from Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation (YESC) about distribution of electricity from diesel-fueled generator for the township, installation of electrical meter boxes, quota of diesel for generators in 2019-2020 financial year, erecting lamp post, maintenance of generators, plans for replacing old power lines with new ones, 0.5 MW power generation project by the solar hybrid system for the township and requirement of school buildings and reconstruction of some facilities.
In responding to the discussions the State Counsellor said, in looking at the main strength of the nation, one could not look at the largest areas and say that there was great strength; we can say that the nation was strong and sturdy only when the smallest areas were strong; she was happy to come to a place like Cocogyun to visit and study the situation. One could say that Cocogyun situated on the outer perimeter of the Union territory is providing the security of the nation.
She said that was why she wanted the citizens of Cocogyun to take pride in themselves; at one time this island was known as an island for convicts; furthermore, there were many prisoners of conscience who had been imprisoned here; Myanmar had progressed because of such prisoners of conscience who had the courage to struggle mainly for their convictions and beliefs; that was why Cocogyun could be proud of her history.
She was happy to note that only a few of the local residents left the island; this showed the love they had for their place of residence; the fact that the residents of this island decided to remain here in spite of the hardships of this place, this kind of spirit was a very valuable characteristic for the country. Another thing was the fact that due to the small area of this place, it was easy to transform this area into a model place; some might think that because of the smallness of this place they felt weak in spirit, insignificant and that there was nothing to be done for this place; however, it was possible to turn such a small place into a model place; this was an easy thing to do; to speak in a pragmatic way, in a developing country like Myanmar, one could not operate without thinking about costs; we have to think pragmatically; however for a place like Cocogyun, there was no reason why we cannot do it; the fact that Cocogyun was going to get electricity from solar energy was very good indeed.
The request for four additional rooms for the school was not a problem at all; it can be done immediately and we will certainly do it; it was the most important thing to raise the level of education here. She wanted highly skilled male and female teachers to serve in a place like Cocogyun; she wanted them to take pride by serving in a place like the Cocogyun for the development of the country, in their own small way. She wanted youths and middle-aged people to have the spirit and willingness to meet the challenge and of overcoming this challenge by serving in a place like this.
She said she was not satisfied with the percentage of students passing the university entrance exams; she wanted the success rate for the university entrance exams in a place like Cocogyunto be 100 per cent; she wanted this place to be exemplary; the Union Government would work hard with special focus to transform Cocogyun into a model township in the education and health sectors. She said in this effort, she wanted not only the residents of Cocogyun but also all the teachers in the whole country to nurture and encourage the spirit to serve on this island among the youths and middle-aged people. She said the biggest difficulty she noticed when she setting foot on Cocogyun was the difficulty of connecting with the mainland; this was the low frequency of ships coming to the island; that was the reason why she wanted U Thant Sin Maung, Union Minister for Transport and Communications to look into this matter and take immediate action to resolve this matter so that the frequency of ships coming to the island could be raised; he needs to find out whatever is needed, what could be done and how it should be done.
With regard to COVID-19, she has noticed that in a place like Cocogyun, one could feel very safe; because the island was small and the population density was not that high, it was much easier to maintain discipline; however she wanted to remind everyone here to be forever vigilant; in such a place just as it was easy to implement protective safety measures if there was a breach in the protective safety measures, it was very difficult to reinstall the protective safety protocols. In a place like the Cocogyun, if an outbreak occurred, the virus infection could spread to a large portion of the population; if preventive measures could be taken, maximum security could be guaranteed; that was why she wanted to stress the need for preventive measures. In looking at a problem, one had to look at the positive side and the negative side; in a place like the Cocogyun there were advantages as well as disadvantages; these disadvantages can be handled and corrected; there was no reason why these matters could not be resolved.
She wanted to transform Cocogyun into a model township, a remote outpost providing and protecting national security; in a way to designate Cocogyun as an indispensable place and work for the development and progress of this island as a priority; to look at this in another way, when we study the progress of our country, we can look at the image of Cocogyun and gauge how far our country has progressed. Security and peace of mind are important for all the 1,360 people of Cocogyun Township; health and education are in the list of top priorities at present; people are in good health and this status should be maintained; the government is working for reopening high schools across the country soon; it is expected all the classes could be resumed in Cocogyun Township under favourable conditions.
The future of country is depending on the new generations; quality education is required for the great future; children must be encouraged for desirous of education; the government will focus on the education standard of Cocogyun Township. The elections play vital for the whole country; the elections are important for political sector not only for the internal affairs, but also for international relations; if Myanmar could conduct the elections successfully despite challenges in health sector, then it would be a political glory in international arena; the administrative officials, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and the election commission need to work together for ensuring voter rights of all eligible voters. The government will do the best not to lose voting rights, while people are responsible for voting as a national duty.
There are only a few businesses in Cocogyun; however, each business needs to strive for the success; the arrival of commercial vessels and good transportation are required; poor transportation has posed a burden on the common people due to higher commodity prices; this problem should be tackled. The government is seeking an appropriate reform which can ensure the welfare of local people in Cocogyun Township; although the township is a small area, it has many advantages for development if suitable management are performed by taking these opportunities; people will enjoy progress; the role of administrative sector is more important in this area; their works must be correct and effective for the people; the administrative officials are advised to serve for the welfare of common people; if these officials also participate in health, education, transportation and electricity supply, this area could see significant development in months or years.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications needs to concert more efforts; power supply project is expected to complete by 31 January next year; authorities should actively fulfil the needs of public; although there is no demand from healthcare sector, the government will provide more assistance; the request of headmistress was not very special, and that it will be implemented soon.
In conclusion, the State Counsellor made her wishes for being healthy, wealthy and peaceful of the people in Cocogyun Township.
Cocogyun Township is powered by the 350 kVA diesel generator from 6 pm to 12 midnight every day, and the new solar hybrid system could produce the electricity for 24 hours per day in the township. All the lamp posts will give lights from 6 pm to 6 am. The project will be started soon and the township will have access to the 24-hour electricity commencing January 2021.
Out of 2,127 villages in Yangon Region, 1,849 villages have connected to electricity, and the remaining 259 villages will have the power by 31 December 2020. After paying respect and donating offertories and cash to the leading monk of Sasana Mandine Monastery, the State Counsellor visited the state high school. The State Counsellor advised that the township administrative body needs to create employment opportunities; teachers should persuade the children to have more interest in education; plans are underway for reopening middle schools and more classes could be resumed only when there is no worry about the pandemic. The State Counsellor greeted the school children, and presented cash assistance to the schools.
The State Counsellor and party then visited the public hospital, comforted the patients and presented cash assistance. She also congratulated the doctors and health workers at the hospital for their services in remote areas before she gave cash for the nursery school and the hospital. After looking around the airport ground in the motorcade, the State Counsellor and party arrived back to Yangon in the afternoon.—MNA (Translated by Kyaw Myaing, Aung Khin)