2017 is the first year of the new government as well as the beginning of the salvation of the country from poverty — U Win Htein
National League for Democracy Central Executive Committee member U Win Htein was interviewed on the new government’s first year undertakings.
Q: What is your view on the government’s first year work?
A: It is a bit early to comment about the parliament. The new government took office on 30 March 2016. According to the Constitution, there are three sectors – legislative, judicial and executive – in governing the country. The executive sector is President U Htin Kyaw and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the Union Government level and State and Region governments led by Chief Ministers. When the new government came to power, there were talks of whether it would survive for 2 or 6 months.
Now that one year has passed, these sounds have been silenced. My view is that this government doesn’t have experience. But it has good will (cetana). With good will (cetana) difficulties were overcome in their own way. Up till now, the executive branch is marching on.
Similarly, parliament on the legislative side consisting of Pyithu Hluttaw, Amyotha Hluttaw, State and Region parliaments were, chaotic at the beginning because all were inexperienced. In taking over the responsibility, they sometime had to look back at the examples of the previous government as well as find their own way according to their party’s policy.
Marching on correctly
The parliaments (Hluttaws) are conducting the legislative duties sufficiently well. There will be some likes, dislikes and criticism by the people on the works of the executive and legislative sectors. As both were marching on correctly, one year period was successfully passed.
There are many weaknesses and faults in the judicial sector. Numerous complaints are received. But the policy of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is not to hurt the people. People mean, all – the cabinet members, government employees, the public, Tatmadaw. Leading by example, providing education, instead of taking harsh actions is governing by Myitta through which the judicial sector will be straighten up.
For example, Rule of Law Centers were set up in Myitkyina, Taunggyi, Yangon and Mandalay. These are not set up with government budget but with the help of UNDP and other donor countries. Judges, police officers were trained and workshops held.
Especially, during the time of our National League for Democracy government, rule of law is prioritized in raising the role of Myanmar Police Force. Improvement is not only in quantity but in quality as well and thus this department is straightening up while corrupt practices are reduced. Due to this, executive, legislative and judicial sectors can be commented as running sufficiently well.
Q: What is your view on the peace efforts by State Counsellor and the government?
A: The peace process had been started since the previous U Thein Sein government. Eight groups signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). The incumbent government fully acknowledges this and is attempting as well as aim to improve further on this.
Policy laid down since the founding of National League for Democracy in 1988 to now, is to achieve peace and resolve the armed conflicts through discussion. This policy laid down since that time is now being implemented.
In implementing, the policies set by U Thein Sein is acknowledged and continued. But as all knows, there are many difficulties. Problems in Rakhine State are growing while there are problems in Kachin State and northern Shan State.
Aim to proceed with determination
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is determined to achieve peace regardless of how many the problems are and how long it will take. During the close to 30 years since 1988, National League for Democracy reaches this stage going through various difficulties such as threat to deregistering of the party and closure of its offices. In the same way, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will strive to achieve peace despite any difficulties. We have our part to play as well. We aim to do this with determination.
Q: How will you participate with the government in what it is doing next?
A: National League for Democracy took part in the elections with the slogan “it is time for change”. Nationwide, we win by 80 per cent. Now it is one year. People said what changes were there? I used to say that since 1962 General Ne Win governs the country.
In 1988 Senior General Saw Maung government took over responsibility from General Ne Win government. Then Senior General Than Shwe took over the responsibility. Until end 2010 and 2011. Throughout all that time, generals governed the country. From such governments, formation of a civilian government in 2015 is a major change.
According to the Constitution, responsibilities for the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Border Affairs are given to three generals. We accepted this and cooperated in it. This is the first change.
The second change — we are reducing corruption according to our party policy and thus our union government, state and region governments are conducting their affairs with the least corruption. This is the second change.
The third change is fear. We were always looking about in fear because we were living in fear. Now we fear no longer. We can say whatever we want to say. We can tell Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We can tell U Htin Kyaw. The ability to say anything we want is the change. This is the third change.
Good structures are established
When we go to States and Regions, government is allocating budget for development and this budget is fully utilized to construct roads, bridges, school. Because these projects are implemented with full utilizing of the budget, good structures are established. This is the fourth change.
Despite these changes, the people had voted for us with much expectation. We take responsibility. We need to improve the condition of the people who have voted for us with much expectation.
The year to alleviate people from poverty
We need to improve the conditions of the people and create jobs. These two are the main points. Thus, 2017 is reaching the first year point of the NLD government as well as the year in which we will alleviate the people from poverty.
Q: Tell a little about actions taken against those who are responsible.
A: From U Htin Kyaw and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the bottom level personnel, all have good will (cetana). Despite good will (cetana), there can be some wrong acts. We don’t hesitate to correct those wrongs. Why? Because if there are any obstacles or hindrance in forming a democratic federal union, the correct democratization and achieving of democratic aims, we will remove it. We will remove it without grudges. One Deputy Minister from the union government and Mon State Chief Minister were changed because they are not supporting this principal. In future too we will take actions against members of the union government, state and region government if they are doing things against the goodness of the people who voted for them.
Q: What do you want to say about government’s national reconciliation efforts?
A: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s policy is to base on national reconciliation for establishing a federal democracy union. Based on this Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker is U Win Myint from National League for Democracy, Deputy Speaker is a Kachin national U T Khun Myat, from Union Solidarity Development Party. Amyotha Hluttaw speaker is U Mahn Win Khaing Than from National League for Democracy and Deputy Speaker is U Aye Tha Aung, from Arakan National Party.
For national reconciliation, we appoint personnel from other parties and ethnic nationals as well. It is the same with Tatamadaw. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is working well with Lt. General Sein Win, Lt. GeneralYe Aung, Lt. General Kyaw Swe. She work openly.
Especially important is Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Because he is the Tatmadaw leader relationship between Daw Aung Suu Kyi and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing must be good in order to achieve our aim of amending the Constitution. A federal democratic union can be established. Convenient for peace as well.
With this aim, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing attended last year Martyr Day. Past Tatmadaw leaders has no precedent of doing such thing. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was conciliatory in such way. In the same way, when Senior General Min Aung Hlaing attended the multi-religion prayer ceremony at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi residence, she realize that he is doing things for the country with good will (cetana) and let Senior General Min Aung Hlaing know about her realization.
Up to now there are no big problems between National League for Democracy and Tatmadaw. From this, the hope is to have more understanding through which more political matters can be accomplished. This is the expectation. And this is how Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will continue.