State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told villagers in central Myanmar yesterday that peace and power supply efforts must be priorities of the country.
At a peace talk with the villagers of Myay Taing Kan Village, Wundwin Township, Mandalay Region, she said “I came here to talk about peace and power supply.”
“The reason I chose this village is because this village just recently got electricity and I wanted to know how it has affected the people here since it is a high priority that the entire nation receives adequate electricity. Equally important is peace,” she added.
“Because of the conflicts between ethnic races in the past there is no trust or compassion with each other and there is no peace yet,” she said.
“If there is no peace in the country then it doesn’t matter if we are doing well in other areas, we cannot say that the country is doing well. I want to discuss this in these areas where there is no evident peace.
I want to know what kind of thoughts, if any, a village like this has on peace especially a village far away from conflict areas. Have you ever considered it?” said the State Counsellor.
“I understand that this village was linked with electricity in March this year, so it has been four months now. Has there been any significant changes with your village, with your family or individually? I want to know the differences in situation before and after you got electricity,” she said.
She told the villagers that electricity is as crucial as peace, expressing the goal of the government to supply power to the entire country by 2030.
Currently, only 38.5 per cent of the country has got access to electricity.
“There’s 13 years to go to achieve our goal. But, we will try to make it faster as we go along,” she said.
“We cannot neglect the problems of a small village as insignificant because by considering the problems of a small village we can find similar possible solutions to the problems of the entire nation,” she added.
“I was informed of an interesting fact about this village on my way here. Apparently the young people don’t leave this village to find job opportunities somewhere else. This may seem normal here but many villages across the country have no young people in them anymore. Many of them say they leave their villages to find better business opportunities but it hurts the economy of their village. Also from a social standpoint it hurts their family and by leaving their village,” she said.
Afterwards, eight local residents discussed about peace process, building trust, building unity from diversity, education, health, electricity, agriculture, infrastructure, job opportunities and small and medium industrial business developments.
U Tun Win (teacher)
First of all, let me present the educational situation of our village, “Myay Taing Kan.” Our post-primary school of the village run by 6 teaching staff has 69 students in total from KG to 5th standard. It has two school buildings. No 1 building built in 1953 was renovated, thus it was in a dilapidated condition. For it, the budget for its renovation of the building in a critical condition was demanded to be granted in the academic years—2015-2016 and 2016-2017. Yet, the grant was not allowed until now.”
He added, “Because of the acquisition of electricity in our village, villagers have had an access to run light industries such as weaving machines and its related works. Previously, they had to work for other businessmen in Wundwin Township as daily wagers and laborers. Now that they can work at the village, they can make more money. With the better economy, children’s education will develop for sure.”
Daw Khin Swe ( shop keeper)
I want my daughter to be an educated person, but she did not fulfill my wish. I intend to have her taught how to sew. Regarding Peace, I know nothing.
U Ye Sein (truck owner)
I bought a truck under the two-year hire purchase contract, paying K 4-5 million every six months. Yet, during six months I disconnected with the company as my business is not related with it, finding it difficult to run my transport business as my car was running to and fro nearby the village. In actuality, it is impossible to pay K 4-5 million in a period of six months. 30% interest rate is too much, in my opinion. So, I want the contract due period to be extended.
As regards education, when we were young we could not proceed to get our learning after passing 4th standard examination. At that time, we could not imagine buying a bike. It is very lucky of today’s children to pursue their learning with the gradual development of the country.
Daw Poe Ti (Broker)
I use basket as weighing unit in purchasing crops, with viss used in selling. As it is, I cannot store crops. I cannot run a brokerage centre. Instead I had to sell crops just after buying it. I purchase all agricultural produce.
U Win Zaw ( Owner of weaving machine)
Business is not good. These days, I lose almost always. Prices of materials are too high, as they are imported goods. After passing sale centres at many levels, the prices skyrocketed in our hands. I think it will be more beneficial if these are produced in the country.
U Aung Tint (Farmer)
Now, we need not have firewood for cooking as we have electricity. In future today’s land for firewood can be reclaimed. So, I hereby want to express my wish to help us to acquire electricity to the full. We want peace because we can develop only if we achieve peace. Our region is peaceful, but my son and my daughter were serving as the township head of the department of the traditional medicine in Kutkai in northern Shan State. As battles are taking place there, I am always worried about them and all the nationals. So, I want peace. With the nationwide peace, our country will become pleasant. I deeply express my desire to make our country stable and peaceful.
Daw Htet Htet Aung (MBA student)
Generally, an ordinary graduate is unemployed. Without practical training, they do not have any skill nor proficiency. It is not convenient to have an ordinary degree in actual life. As regards the peace, we wholly support the leaders’ efforts to achieve a successful 21st Century Panglong Agreement. As for us, we can study peaceful ly learning in our regions. I want nationwide peace. I deeply request to Union Government to work for improving the livelihoods of all the people of the whole nation and for national solidarity.
In response to the discussions of Myay Taing Kan villagers the State Counsellor touted peace efforts, saying that lack of peace has hurt the country’s economy and development. “For example, international businesses will not invest in countries where there is no peace. They need assurance for their investment,” she said.
She also urged the villagers to consider that the peace process is a matter for everybody and the government can maintain development only when the country has peace.
There must be a deep desire for peace. This must be followed by great effort. Then we need to develop the correct spirit. Then of course we need knowledge.
Regarding creating job opportunities in the country, she has urged the parents to encourage their children to receive vocational skills.
“There is a higher possibility of people who have vocational education to get a job right away after completing the vocational training,” said the State Counsellor.
“We have ethnic nationals in our country with different beliefs, origin and languages. People with far sighted visions know well that these differences can be turned into strength.
“The light of electricity, the light of peace and the light of education all drive away darkness, she added.” Regarding national reconciliation, she said national reconciliation is the most important thing for the country and a difficult task since the beginning. She did not want to answer the question of why it was difficult because I did not to blame anyone. She had repeatedly said that all were responsible for it. It was important for all to think about it from all angles. It must not be a one-sided view based on one’s own view. There is no national reconciliation in our country because there isn’t enough trust against one another. All need to strive hard on this, she said.—Myanmar News Agency