As mandated by the Constitution, the Government led by the State Administration Council has now passed its fifth month in its journey to ensure the rule of law and ultimately, democracy based on truly free and fair elections.
State visit to the Russian Federation
The Chairman of the State Administration Council, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing addressed the 9th Moscow International Security Conference “The Asia-Pacific Region in the Context of Global Politics”. The two-day conference, held on 23 and 24 June, provided a platform for discussing issues of international security. In addition, the trip raised awareness in the international community of Myanmar’s international stance and the actions of the government led by the State Administration Council. The trip will strengthen the basis for future cooperation between the two countries.
While in the Russian Federation, the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services attended the consecration ceremony and mounting of the diamond bud, vane, and golden umbrella at the top of the Replica Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Moscow, and also donated the Saddhamma Jotika Ordination Hall on 21 June. The events were organized by the Myanmar Theravada Buddha Vihara in Moscow.
On 21 June, the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services and the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation met and held friendly talks to enhance the existing friendship and cooperation between the two countries’ armed forces. On 22 June, the Commander-in-Chief was welcomed by the honour guard of Russian Defence Minister General Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoigu, with whom he had a friendly exchange of views.
The Myanmar delegation led by the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services visited Rosoboronexport Company and Ostankino Tower in the Russian Federation on 22 June. On 24 June, the Military University of the Russian Federation awarded an honorary doctorate to the Commander-in-Chief. Interviews were held with Russia-24 and RIA, where the Russian and international audiences heard his views on Russia-Myanmar military-technical cooperation, current political developments in Myanmar, and COVID-19 disease prevention, control, and treatment.
During the visit to Kazan in the Republic of the Tatarstan, the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services and his delegation met with the President of the Republic of the Tatarstan Mr Rustam Nurgaliyevich Minnikhanov. The delegation toured medical instrument manufacturing companies, shipbuilding factories, the KAMAZ Holding Company, the largest producer of trucks and other vehicles in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Kazan Helicopter manufacturing facilities, and the Kazan Higher Tank Red Banner Command School. The delegation also attended the Tatarstan traditional Sabantuy summer festival. The delegation then left the Republic of Tatarstan for Novosibirsk, where they visited the Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, Higher Military Command School, and the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science on 26 June. During the visit to Russia, a delegation led by the Commander-in-Chief (Navy) General Moe Aung attended the International Naval Defence Exhibition and held talks with Russian counterparts.
Other international affairs
On 5 June, the State Administration Council Chairman received the Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Mr Chen Hai in Nay Pyi Taw. The Chairman emphasized that Myanmar was willing to work with ASEAN to enhance domestic stability and that Myanmar sees China as an important neighbor. Ambassador Chen Hai stressed the traditional friendship between China and Myanmar, and China’s support and constructive role for the consensus by ASEAN and Myanmar. The two sides also discussed China-Myanmar relations and joint prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 3 June , Phoenix Television — a Hong Kong media outlet — premiered its earlier interview with the Chairman. The Chairman answered questions on the current political situation, international relations, and socio-economic aspirations for the future of the country.
On 3 June, the Chairman of the State Administration Council received a delegation led by Peter Maurer, Chairman of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to discuss humanitarian issues. On 4 June, the Chairman received Brunei’s Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof and ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi. COVID-19 vaccines figured among the topics of discussion.
At the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Dialogue Relations and related meetings held in Chongqing, People’s Republic of China, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin discussed regional cooperation and the situation in Myanmar. He also met with senior officials of China and ASEAN. An agreement was reached to implement 22 socio-economic projects worth more than US$8 million for Myanmar, which will be implemented with the Mekong-Lanchang Cooperation Special Fund.
In June, Union Minister General Mya Tun Oo attended the 15th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting and related meetings, and the 8th ASEAN Plus One Defence Ministers Meeting and related meetings. He also joined the Asia-Pacific Regional Summit on Silk Road Cooperation held on 21 June through video conferencing. In addition, Myanmar and Russia co-chaired the
11th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus Experts’ Working Group on Counter-Terrorism on 30 June. Myanmar also participated in the discussion of the ASEAN-Russia Security High-Level Security Dialogue on 28 June. The Myanmar Deputy Attorney General chaired the ASEAN Senior Legal Officials Meeting. Myanmar participated at a workshop on disaster management between ASEAN sectoral organizations and related organizations.
On 2 June, the ASEAN Disaster Management Workshop between ASEAN Sectoral Organizations and Related Organizations was held in Jakarta through videoconferencing. A delegation led by Deputy-Attorney-General U San Lwin attended the workshop.
On 11 June, the coordination meeting of the Citizenship Verification Committee discussed the return to Myanmar from Bangladesh of 72 persons displaced by the unrest in earlier years.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued three press releases on 13, 15 and 19 June, strongly condemning the 11 June statement issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) and strongly objecting to the 13 June statement of the G-7 Summit on Myanmar internal politics, noting that both statements were based on biased information from unverified sources. The third press release issued on 19 June stated that Myanmar would continue to work for its own national interests in line with its foreign policy and does not accept any interference in the internal affairs of the country, which would undermine the sovereignty of the country. This was in response to the draft resolution “The Situation in Myanmar” submitted by Liechtenstein to the United Nations General Assembly.
Ongoing efforts to boost the development of States/Regions
On 1 June, the Chairman of the State Administration Council officiated at the unveiling of the new name for the bridge which joins Bilu Kyun island to the mainland. Construction of the bridge had started in 2015, and local people had led protest marches and petitions to no avail in 2017 against the then government’s name for the bridge “General Aung San” since they had wanted and asked for a local name. Thus, the official changing of the name of the bridge now to “Thanlwin Bridge (Chaungzon)” is a response to the wishes of local ethnic groups. On the same trip to Mon State, the Chairman of the State Administration Council inspected the reopening of operations in the Sittoung paper mill, the development of Mawlamyine Airport and Port, and projects in the agriculture and livestock sectors. He also met with local military personnel, donated some supplies to military hospitals, conducted visits to the Padonma soap factory at Paung, and discussed efforts to enhance public access to the Sports Park near Min village in Mon State.
On 5 June, designated by the United Nations as World Environment Day, the Chairman of the State Administration Council issued a directive to reduce the risk of natural disasters caused by climate change and to support efforts for ecological recovery and rehabilitation.
At the meetings of the State Administration Council (12/2021) and the Management Committee (8/2021, 9/2021), the Council Chairman discussed the state’s political, social, education and healthcare sectors and made important decisions for the country, such as changing the country’s budget year, prioritizing rural businesses, and reducing taxes.
Vice-Chairman of the State Administration Council Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice-Senior General Soe Win coordinated with ministry officials with regard to decisions on COVID-19 disease prevention and control at the fourth and fifth Coordination Meeting of the COVID-19 Control and Emergency Response Committee.
On-the-ground inspections of the 2020 election voter lists
The Union Election Commission released the results of field inspections of the voting process and documentation in 28 townships of Mandalay Region (excluding Union Territory) on 1 June. The field inspections revealed that the Regional Chief Minister for Mandalay and the NLD party conspired to break the law in order to win the election. In June, in a fully transparent process, the Union Election Commission released its findings on voter lists and voting conditions in Kunhing, Mongshu, Maukmai, Mongpan, Namtu, Namsang and Mantong townships in Shan State; Waigmaw and Momauk townships in Kachin State; 28 townships in Bago Region; 9 townships in Chin State; 10 townships in Taninthayi Region; 37 townships in Sagaing Region; 26 townships in Ayeyawady Region and 49 townships in Shan State. The results showed fraud on a massive scale, including vote rigging, premeditated actions, and misappropriations of the commission’s authority.
Measures to stabilize the banking sector and the economy
Arrangements were made in June by the banks and tax authorities to enable company employees to make tax payments through electronic means, such as mobile banking, MPU cards and online tax payment systems. To address the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Administration Council enacted a Law Amending the 2020 Union Tax Law on 17 June. To facilitate the flow of trade, meetings were held in the first week of June with relevant committee chairpersons, factory owners, wholesalers, purchasers, and retailers of raw materials, with a view to resolving the bottlenecks in the banking sector. The government welcomed two new local investments worth more than K6 billion in Yangon Region on 9 June, which should increase job opportunities for the local population. The Union Ministers of relevant ministries conducted inspection tours in Yangon and Mandalay regions and Kachin State, including to factories producing fireproof bricks, wood finished products and garments.
Agriculture and livestock sector
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation gave a boost to projects for systematic and mechanized farming, including on 105 acres of farmlands owned by 86 farmers in Myothit Township of Magway Region in the first week of June. The activities included the improvement of irrigation management and the construction of access roads.
In June, the government imposed a fourth-month ban on fishing from May to August to develop fishery resources in the long term. Plans are underway to release some 101,207,500 million fish fingerlings into rivers, creeks, and lakes across the nation this rainy season to boost food security and fishery resources.
Planning for the 2022 Agriculture Census has started, and the concerned officials have been holding workshops on census techniques. The Ministry is promoting research on agricultural products, river water pumping, upgrading of drainage channels, waterways, and roads to boost the agriculture and livestock sector. Attention is also being given to preventive measures against natural disasters. The government is working closely with Economic Counselors posted in Myanmar embassies abroad, to promote Myanmar products, especially agricultural products, and increase trade volumes with trade partner countries.
The COVID-19 Control and Emergency Response Committee continued COVID-19 vaccination programs for the Venerable Sayadaws, civil servants and the public as planned. COVID-19 management and control activities were also implemented, including the setting up of quarantine centres, treatment centres, the imposition of Stay-at-Home orders in townships, regions and states as warranted, and movement restrictions within Nay Pyi Taw area in June. Following the widespread civil disobedience movement against the government by medical staff who have abandoned their patients and forced the closure of several public health facilities in Myanmar, the government is making strenuous efforts to resume health operations in each township. The Tatmadaw medical teams have stepped in to fill the gap. From February to 27 June, Tatmadaw medical teams have successfully treated 250,000 outpatients and 75,000 inpatients. The month of June also saw continuing mask campaigns across the nation.
Basic education schools were successfully reopened on 1 June, with the stipulation that COVID-19 health rules be strictly observed. This was before the third wave of COVID-19 led to a surge in cases in Myanmar.
The fact that schools were opened on time after long closure since 2020 is a tribute to the eagerness of children to attend school after the long absence, the conviction of their parents who did not listen to threats by terrorist groups to blow up the schools, and the courage of basic education teachers all across the country. The government and local communities, helped by the Tatmadaw solders cleaned up the schools, made the necessary repairs, and education authorities opened the schools as scheduled with COVID-19 measures in place. Throughout the month of June, children were in their classes in a learning environment that was being kept safe and peaceful by the security forces who were guarding the schools against any violence, mindful of the threats issued by the National Unity Government (NUG) /People’s Defence Force (PDF), and conscious of the murders of civil servants so far by these groups.
The government also extended the university application deadline to 30 June 2021 for those young people who had passed the matriculation examination in 2020. The Ministry of Ethnic Affairs received applications for the positions of Teaching Assistance and Language Teachers for ethnic languages from respective regions and states. The ministry made arrangements on 21 June to send these applications to the Ministry of Education as per the procedures.
The State Administration Council government has been equally active across the country in different sectors, as the following snapshots shows:
n Afforestation: The 2021 monsoon tree planting ceremonies were held across the nation in June. It was announced at the tree planting event attended by the Chairman of the State Administration Council on 18 June that more than 36 million seedlings would be planted in the country this year.
n Buddhist studies: The ceremony to confer religious titles and certificates on the monks who had passed the 73rd Tipitakadhara Tipitaka Kovida Selection Examination was held at Maha Pasana Cave of Kaba Aye Hill in Mayangon Township on 26 June. During the ceremony, Vice-Chairman of the State Administration Council Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice-Senior General Soe Win presented the titles and certificates to the Venerable Sayadaws.
to be continued