Also on 8 April, the Union Minister for International Cooperation and other officials held a brief presentation on the current developments in Myanmar to diplomats and heads of UN agencies. The officials presented matters pertaining to taking State’s responsibilities by the State Administration Council according to the stipulations of the 2008 Constitution, and the plans to hold a free and fair multiparty general election in line with the 2008 Constitution, following which State power would be transferred to the winning party in accordance with democratic norms. Following the meeting, participants viewed the weapons, including homemade guns used by National League for Democracy supporters, displayed at the meeting hall.
On 9 April 2021, the Tatmadaw Information Team met the foreign Military Attachés based in the country and briefed them on the current political situation and the duties of the State Administration Council, and then replied to the questions raised at the meeting.
From 12 to 16 April 2021, the Myanmar delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs joined the 64th Session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotics Drugs held in Vienna, Austria via videoconferencing. The officials discussed the fight against illegal drugs and drug trafficking, including measures in Myanmar to reduce poppy cultivation and production rate. The government considers such measures to be a national duty.
Engagement of stakeholders
Progress is being made towards multiparty democracy, led by the new government and the Tatmadaw. The guidance given to various stakeholders highlights these new roles and directions.
– Tatmadaw officers, other ranks and their families are kept informed on the various steps in state-building and nation-building being undertaken, and on the findings of the newly formed Union Election Commission (UEC), which is scrutinizing the details of voter lists for each township and regularly releasing its findings on electoral fraud during the 2020 general elections.
– On 3 April 2021, at a meeting with officers, other ranks and families of the Meiktila Station, State Administration Council Chairman Senior General Min Aung Hlaing emphasized that the main task of the Tatmadaw is not only national defence, but also individual and collective efforts based on goodwill to elevate the Tatmadaw’s image, the country and Myanmar people.
– On 4 April 2021, the State Administration Council Chairman met with the officers, other ranks and families of Magway Station, the Magway Region Administration Council members, and departmental staff. The Chairman gave a briefing on the country’s current political situation and highlighted the need to improve food security in Magway Region, increase agricultural productivity, develop more farmland, prioritize the reopening of schools, promote community-based tourism and adapt the ‘One Village-One Product’ system for Myanmar.
– On 8 April and 10 April respectively, the Vice-Chairman of the State Administration Council Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice-Senior General Soe Win met with officers, other ranks and families of Taunggyi Station and Yamethin Station. Discussions focused on new and renewable sources of energy, such as solar power and hydropower plants, and on the health, education, public transport and living standards of the people.
– On 9 April 2021, Vice-Senior General Soe Win attended the passing-out parade of the 124th intake (Thura Company) of the Defence Services (Army) Officers Training School in Bahtoo. He stressed unity within and among units and urged Tatmadaw members to strictly follow the military moral ethics. He then visited the military hospital in Bahtoo with gifts of food to encourage both military personnel and civilians taking medical treatment at the hospital. The Vice-Chairman also inspected the agriculture and livestock activities within the Tatmadaw grounds and met with trainees for the Infantry Platoon Commander Training in Bahtoo.
– On 11 April, the State Administration Council Chairman met with officers, other ranks, and families of Yangon Station. He explained that the voting lists were under inspection, and that the findings of electoral fraud would be released. Based on the inspection results, actions would be taken under the law. He also briefed the Yangon Region Administration Council members and departmental staff on the transfer of State responsibilities from the Pro Tem President as a result of these circumstances. Government employees were requested to understand the situation and to continue to carry out their duties. He highlighted certain political issues and the Five-Point Road Map of the Council. The Chairman inspected the damage in the industrial zones of Hlinethaya and Shwepyitha townships, which had been burned and destroyed by violent mobs. Residents of those areas were provided with food assistance.
– On 30 April 2021, the State Administration Council Chairman inspected Oil Refinery No. 1 in Thanlyin and the municipal operations in Yangon Region. The inspection tour focused on measures to resume operations in state-owned factories and to meet the country’s fuel demands. Inspection tours were also conducted of the drainage system and river outlets in Botahtaung, Kyauktada and Lanmadaw townships, with a view to prevent or mitigate the impacts of flooding in Yangon.
Additional findings of electoral fraud
The newly appointed UEC had embarked on an examination of voter lists used in the 2020 general elections since its appointment. It has been conducting on-the-ground checks in each township of the country. Starting from February, the UEC has been releasing — with full transparency — its findings on voter lists and the status of ballot papers (issued, received, used, and remaining, as well as shortage/loss and excess ballots) in the respective townships. Table 1 shows the townships for which UEC issued the outcomes of their examination in April.
The findings may be summarized as follows:
– Ballot papers were issued to each election sub-commission in exact numbers, comprising people on the voting roll. However, ground inspections showed missing ballots and extra (and used) ballot papers in significant numbers. These indicate illegal activities, such as ballot papers filled up and cast as votes by real voters, but now disappeared, and fraudulent ballot papers added to the real voting results outside of official channels.
– Significant numbers of ballot papers had the wrong candidates, while some non-NLD candidates were missing from ballot papers.
– Significant numbers of voters in the lists had no national identity cards (or citizenship scrutiny cards).
– The same citizenship scrutiny cards with identical identification numbers were recorded as “voters” in two or more locations, which is impossible without fraud; in other words, the citizenship scrutiny cards numbers were duplicated ill
gally and used for fraudulent voting.
All of the above constitutes electoral fraud.
On 2 April 2021, the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations held a coordination meeting with the respective ministries and organizations on development projects being implemented with the assistance of the European Union. The meeting emphasized the importance of information exchange and the need to update the respective development partners on implementation constraints and explore possible options for national priority projects.
The Social Security Board had provided social security benefits to insured workers in private industries and workplaces during the COVID-19 outbreak. As of the end of March 2021, about 1.6 million insured workers had been paid up to K68,715.14 million during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current government has been able to continue the process.
On 5 April 2021, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement held a meeting on the development of the social protection management information system, which is expected to be launched in January 2022, according to the original schedule. This will give impetus to the country’s efforts to develop a cash assistance programme for social protection, since effective targeting and identification of poor households are linked to the robustness of the social protection management information system. At the same time, training of the workforce will be required in new technology and approaches.
Since 2017, there has been no progress on the draft law to prevent violence against women. Work on the draft law has now resumed led by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, and the law is expected to be finalized and adopted in the near future. In the third week of April, the government held discussions on the draft national report for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The Chairman of the State Administration Council, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services delivered a New Year message on 20 April for Myanmar New Year 1383. He emphasized that the State Administration Council was trying to restore peace and stability and generate socio-economic development, which are the two aspirations of the Myanmar people. He highlighted that the State Administration Council would join hands with all National ethnic peoples and exert utmost efforts to ensure a peaceful and stable socio-economic life for all, together with the unity and development of the State. Nation-wide efforts would be necessary to rebuild the national economy, reform existing important economic institutions, and build new ones to strengthen the economic infrastructure. He called for people’s cooperation in the process.
On 21 April 2021, the Myanmar National Committee on Child Labour Eradication held a coordination meeting. The State Administration Council Vice-Chairman Vice-Senior General Soe Win addressed the meeting in his capacity as Committee Chairman. Child labour in Myanmar is driven by poverty and the need to earn income for the family. Child labour is common in many sectors and is a challenge for any developing country. Nonetheless, the government is trying its best to address the problem.
Social relief work was undertaken by the government in April. A total of 30 million kyats were provided to more than 2,000 cyclone victims in Pwintphyu Township and 30,000 kyats each to 470 persons with disabilities under the Disability Support Programme of the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan on 25 April.
to be continued