Successful change from . . .

  • By Aye Maung Kyaw 

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These days, talks, workshops and debates concerning Myanmar’s changes were frequently found here and there. Debates are mostly found to have been concerned with the matters as to which achievements the government had had during the two-year-period when the incumbent government took the office, as to how much the government ministries implemented the national projects and concerning to which level the changes reached.  Some criticisms were made on facts and figures, with some made on hypothesis. Some people have been found to eagerly find fault with the performances of the respective ministries. Most were the success-orientated debates, that is, they would recognize the government’s performances as the successful ones provided that remarkable achievements could be made. Some debates were kinds of the Process-Orientated approach.  Their idea is as follows: “Changes are moving in a process. They must start from the basic foundation. Though noticeable changes cannot be found yet they sure are destined to become a strengthened change.”In fact, that is the concrete change. To start with the time when U Thein Sein Administration took office, remarkable changes were found at that time. For example, permits for importing motor vehicles, rice and cooking oil were granted to all. As a result, prices of cars and cooking oil plunged rapidly. But, if we traced to whom these permits were granted in the past and which concessions the then government had to give the above-said ultra-opportunists it can be easily seen that they had myriads of opportunities not less than the first ones. Now, we have to study whether there are still existing similar events. Over one year ago, a paper of rendering titled “necessities for a successful change” was contributed to the People’s Affairs Journal. The write wrote it based upon the interviews with Presidents and Prime Minister-Level Dignitaries from 12 countries. In brief, the paper included some 20 important points though it had broader opinions.
Some of them are as follows: 1. Opposition group is the one who gets People’s supports enough to challenge the government. 2. They must get rid of fear between the dictatorship groups.  3. The oppositionists should make efforts to become trustworthy negotiation partners for the governments desirous of outlet strategy.  4. Though only some parts were successful in some matters of importance, that is, though some of one’s supporters were reluctant to support, the opposition group is to prepare for negotiation.  5. Though the highest brave political demands may be attractive, they are not practically useful.  6. It will be the longest challenge for democracy activists to put security forces under the civilian administration.  7. There are not yet civilian organizations in the countries such as Egypt, Myanmar, Gambia, Thailand and some countries.  8. There may be challenges on Constitutions whereas Constitutions are usually renewed in most countries.  9. In drawing a Constitution it is necessary to represent the majority so that similar anxieties on the major parts can be reflected.10. At the time when the democratic transition is being performed, sometimes there may be blames over democracy leaders from the people. And, there may be occasionally political and economic failure on the way to democracy. 11. Free judgment must ensure the accountability for administration without hindering new occurrences. Likewise, media with freedom and accountability will ensure deep-rooted democratic system. 12. Had many parties been free from their personal interests and interests for cronies will they play important roles. 13. Changes are caused by political movements, but economic challenges will rise for the new government. 14. Prior to the decline of supports from the party’s strong supporters, incumbents are to reduce social difficulties being experienced by those from the lowest layer.15. Nearly all of the leaders making changes usually exercise market-orientated large-scale monetary and financial policies, but they need to avoid the error of selling public interests to the ultra-opportunists, with great care. In Myanmar, most of these points can be found happening. It needs to study whether ways of solving these situations as for the Myanmar Government is similar to or different from those included in the paper. Points in no 1,3 and 4 already existed in Myanmar. For this, the incumbent government is implementing the national reconciliation. Type of no 5 can be widely seen here in Myanmar. Points included in 6,7, 8 and 9 can be said the facts the government and the people are now experiencing. It is necessary to be well convinced that it will take time to build it up. Point nos 10 and 11 must be said to be the facts for the government to pay great attention. Now, judicial sector is coming to be independent. But it is required to control spirits of some authorities concerned of exploiting opportunities to take bribes at favorable times, by means of arresting and punishing. In Myanmar, there are many political parties. Most did not get even a seat in the parliaments. Nowadays, declarations of 20 parties and 24 parties were being made. As regards this, we should analyze them in consultation with the point no.12. Points 13, 14 and 15—the most essential part of the paper are of the greatest importance as the government is now facing. Among these points, the only difference is that there is a civil war in Myanmar. The saying “larger the warring domain the narrower the democracy sphere” is now widely spoken out these days. So, the government is now prioritizing to bring about internal peace. Very recently, in the paper read by Sayargyi U Myint at UMFCCI, it was submitted to prioritize national economy likewise the national peace. This must also be considered. Since after gaining the Independence, what all the governments must to carry out essentially are two things. One is the problem concerning Yangon and another is the affairs of farmers. Yangon is the only place which reflects Myanmar’s politics and economy to the full. Farmers, 70 percent of the national populace belongs the very fundamental class in Myanmar. These days, farmers are earning excellent incomes. Apart from shortage of laborers in farming and climate changes, they can be said in favorable conditions. Had farmers earned excellent incomes internal consumption rate will arise and money circulation in the nation will be better. What most of the critics are saying is based on Yangon. In the whole country, Yangon city dwellers only are mostly suffering from the impact of high rises of commodities’ prices. Expenditure in Yangon may be double of the expenditure in local areas. Especially, stagnant commodities prices at the higher level may be attributed to higher transport charges and reliance upon mini-markets. In 2011, inflation rate was 11 percent, with that of the present year standing at 4 percent only, decreasing gradually. That was a reliable index to be referred, based on monthly collected data of over 200 items of commodities. The question as to how many years we will wait for, in fact came from some critics. In actuality people are still ready and willing to actively cooperate with the government. People have been well convinced of the process rather than result. In other word, people had already known concerning the gradual change. We firmly believe that people will be encouraging the government struggling in the midst of restrictions on constitution, the internal peace and Maungtaw region issue.

 

Translated by Khin Maung Oo

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