State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in her capacity as Chairperson of the Central Committee for Development of Border Areas and National Races, held meetings separately with local leaders of religious organizations, ethnic representatives, town elders and common people in Myitkyina, Kachin State, yesterday.
Her entourage included Union Ministers Lt Gen Kyaw Swe, Lt Gen Ye Aung, U Min Thu, Dr Aung Thu, U Ohn Win, U Thein Swe, and Dr Myint Htwe; Deputy Minister U Hla Maw Oo, Chief of Myanmar Police Force Police Lt Gen Aung Win Oo and officials.
At the Myitkyina Airport, they were welcomed by Kachin State Chief Minister Dr Khet Aung, the Speaker of State Hluttaw, the Chief Judge State High Court, the Advocate General, the State Auditor General, Kachin government ministers, Hluttaw MPs, officials, town elders and local ethnic people.
The State Counsellor held talks with religious leaders, ethnic representatives and town elders at the Palm Spring Hotel.
At the meeting, she emphasized confidence for securing peace essential for the country.
U Paw Oo, the town elder, affirmed the loyalty of Kachin people to the country. Dr Tu Ja, another town elder, discussed possible return of internally displaced persons to their homes after the closure of IDP camps, migrant worker issues and holding of the 2020 General Election.U La Ban Gam Aung, the Vice Chairman of Kachin National Consultancy Group, talked about anti-narcotic campaigns, loss of children and economic development.
U Ar Pue from the Lisu Literature and Culture Association asked to use the actual name of Lisu, and other dignitaries discussed development programmes.
Regarding the discussions, the State Counsellor gave remarks on the requirements of signing Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement for genuine peace, the efforts of Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement on closures of IDP camps and other issues presented at the meeting.
After the meeting, the State Counsellor had a documentary photo taken together with the attendees.
She also held a public meeting at the Myitkyina City Hall with local people.
In her opening remark, the State Counsellor said, “I am very grateful to all for the public meeting in Myitkyina. It is very important for us to have regular meetings with the public. It is also required to make frequent contact between the public and their government for the successful establishment of a democratic Union.
I believe most people would understand the common sense of democracy, while few might not realize it until now. Instead, such people interpret democracy as havingrights for impunity. It is not so. My late father spoke about this before the country regained independence. He also reminded that independence comes together with responsibility. In our time, we are frequently talking about the true sense of democracy that must be practiced withboth rights and responsibilities.
Therefore, it is a huge task for us to build up a genuine Union. Some countries are not Unions, and they do not need to establish a Union. For example, some countries have only an ethnic group.
However, Myanmar has many national races. Kachin State is also a home to many ethnic groups. Such acountry has many challenges. It is more difficult for us to build up unity as the diversities of people have different ideologies, expectation and languages. Such differences are challenges to unity. If we could overcome these obstacles, we would enjoy greater unity.
It is not required to become a single ethnic group for a united country. The United States is the world’s superpower. However, it is a land of people from diverse cultures. Despite diversity of races and faiths, the United States is a strong and powerful country. Our country can become such a superpower. The most fundamental requirement for it is to have a strong desire. Everybody should examine themselves if they have Union spirit. Everybody needs to consider themselves as a citizen of the Union, instead of focusing on racial identities such as Bamar, Shan and Kachin.
It is basically important for all the citizens to have Union spirit that is essential for developing a Union which must be
entirely emphasized, comprising ethnic groups of different races, languages and faiths.
I’d like to visit Kachin state frequently because Kachin and Shan states are home to more different ethnic people than other states.
Two objectives of peace and Union are in correlation with each other. While peace is crucial for a Union, lasting peace can only prevail in a strong Union. Peace depends on unity. It should not be interpreted that a united community has a single view. Unity depends on negotiation skills on different views. If we appreciate diverse views, we could surely establish a united community.
Even family members of a father, mother and their offspring will have different ideas. However, they can live happily having mutual understanding with each other. Without this, they could not establish a strong and happy family.
Our national people need to understand themselves as people of a Union. It is easy to keep in mind this word. I expect all the people love the Union and the sovereignty, as well as the status of a Union. Our country did not regain its independence very easily.
Our national people took part in fighting for independence. For example, the Union Day is marked on the day of signing the Panglong Agreement. Some people accept that the origin of the Panglong Agreement is Kachin State. It is not wrong because discussions for this historic agreement started in this land. Therefore, our ethnic national people in Kachin State can be proud of it. They need to understand that Kachin State is the source of the Union, and they have a great responsibility for the country to maintain its significant role. Total peace has not prevailed in Kachin State. Some negotiations on disputes have not turned out good results. Views and ideas will vary. It is not required to turn them into a single format. Instead, we must develop negotiation skills of mutual understanding. We must handle disputes in a give-and-take spirit effectively and efficiently for the welfare of all parties.
Giving is something to be proud of. Rigid attitude is something not to be maintained. Both of these manners must be adjusted properly. Our own principles and beliefs are required for appropriate adjustment. If the real intention is for the establishment of a genuine Union, the belief must focus just on the give-and-take spirit. However, this spirit is not required for encountering sabotages of the Union. Therefore, the belief is very crucial for a give-and-take spirit.
People need to have confidence in the essence of a Union and be proud of it as it is composed of different national races and ideologies. All must appreciate their role for strengthening and development of the Union. Civil service personnel or government members cannot be automatically assumed that they are really serving for the country. If they failed to perform their duties, they are not working for the country. They might also be regarded that they are imposing risks on the nation. Therefore, performance is more meaningful than position.
Common people must not look down on their capacities for serving the country. Their performance is more important and powerful for the country. It must be properly used for the country. I held public meetings with local people during my official trips. Some of these meetings were conducted with good discipline. While some others failed to excise discipline. I hope every person has good discipline to maintain their dignity. Only the winners in drawing lots would get a chance for discussions in my public meetings. This rule should not be breached.
Our country is not a wealthy nation. However, it will become a prosperous land. Wealth should come along with right spirit.
Therefore, people need to maintain this spirit. Every person has capacity for developing themselves. It can be done any time with genuine desire. So, all are advised to develop self-confidence. The value of a country depends on that of individuals. The power of a country must be calculated with the strength of the least powerful people. It must be not based on the most powerful persons. The value of the country must be measured with the attitudes of common people.
Therefore, I am meeting with the people as I value all. As per meeting agenda, I first extend greetings and then answered the submitted questions. I never reply personal questions. I respond to public issues. Questions on local matters are concerned with relevant departments. Some questions are answered by members of local governments, while some others are replied by the Union-level officials.
Only winners from drawing lots can raise questions of public affairs, instead of personal issues.”
Next, Union Ministers Dr Aung Thu, U Thein Swe and Dr Myint Htwe and local ministers responded to questions from the audience.
The questions included those made by U Bauk Naw from Tatkon Ward which focused on constructing a meeting room in B.E.H.S.
(6) Tatkon, U Dain Shuu La Khaung from Naung Nan Village asking for a Dhamma School hostel for youths in his village, Daw Ywe Pa from Tatkon Ward asking for paving concrete and tar road along Htwe San Road in her ward, U Moe Kyaw Oo from Namti asking for a city hall, U Bran Mon asking for negotiating with Chinese government to export vegetables and crops from Kachin State to China, U Paw Oo asking to upgrade Kanpiketee border gate to an international gate and initiating business-based tourism, U La Jaung Aung of Tanai asking to upgrade Myitkyina-Namti-Tanai Lido road to concrete road, U La Kri Zaw Bauk asking to construct a children’s hospital in Myitkyina, U Kyi Tun of Waingmaw asking to upgrade the 25-bed hospital in Waingmaw to 50-beds, U Kaw Bawm of Chiphwe asking to appoint doctors in station hospitals of Nuzongbawm village and Panwa, and U Tin Lin of Moegaung asking to include specialist departments in the Moegaung 50-bed hospital.
Other questions include 5 people who won the lots out of 17 people from inside the hall. U Hu Yan of Sitapu Ward asked for systematic disposal of plastic waste in Myitkyina, paving train tracks from Myitkyina to Waingmaw and ensuring peace swiftly. U Kyaw Khaing Win of Mohnyin Metta Mon Humanitarian Group asked to quickly fix Mohnyin-Mandalay highway, securing land for Mohnyin Fire Department, and carrying the voice of the people to peace dialogues. Daw Bauk Jar of Hmawan Ward, Phakhant, asked to resolve bullying by the township administrator, land confiscation and forceful relocation to dig up drain. Daw Shwe Kyi of Phakhant asked to resolve corruption in Hpakhant Internal Revenue Department and their wrongful lawsuit filed against her.
U Myo Myint of Mawhan Village, Mohnyin Township, asked to resolve the misuse of a land donated for constructing a hospital.
Outside the hall, three out of ten people won lots to ask questions. Daw Nyein Hla of Shwepyitar Ward asked to pave a road in Arsar Village and reclaiming confiscated land. U Zaw Zaw Toe of Rampu Ward asked for upgrading Myitkyina Hospital to the same level as the hospitals of Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, resolving tuition teaching in Myitkyina and supervising tax collection on communication operators. Maung Myo Htet Naing Lin of Myitkyina University asked to upgrade the university’s library, acquiring education stipends, receiving an office for the university’s student association, and increasing cleaning staff for the university.The State Counsellor replied that systematic disposal of plastic waste needs participation from the people, Mohnyin-Mandalay Highway will be paved quickly, the State cabinet needs to inspect the land for Mohnyin Fire Services Department and submit a report, agreed to carry the voice of the people to peace dialogues, to quickly look into matters submitted related to Phakhant Township, to quickly make Arsar Village roads better, urged parents to participate in education matters, to prioritize upgrading the library of Myitkyina university, urging students to assist in keeping the university clean, and being delighted in meeting the people of Myitkyina like this.
After the meeting, the State Counsellor took a documentary photo with the students. She then arrived at Kachin Baptist Church (KBC) and met with Chairman Rev Dr Hkalam Samson and Secretary Rev Hpaw Yaung Too Mong and members and officials.
During the meeting, the secretary explained KBC’s objectives and processes and introduced the KBC members.
Next, the KBC Chairman explained the cooperation between KBC, National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) and Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC) to close temporary IDP camps and resettlement project, working towards the KIA and KIO to sign the ceasefire agreement for Kachin State peace, wish to implement the agreements made by Bogyoke Aung San in the Panglong Treaty in order to transform Myanmar into a democratic federal union, encouraging the State Counsellor’s endeavour for peace, and requesting reevaluation of confiscation of Christian religious buildings. He then prayed for the State Counsellor and Myanmar’s peace and development.
Afterwards, the State Counsellor talked about the importance of people living in IDP camps returning home, the importance of security in elevating public mental health, security being more important than prosperity, wish for people to develop both physically and mentally, how KBC adheres to peace and compassion, how they are viewed as primary performers of peace, how there are different religions in Myanmar, how she takes pride in that fact, how compassion is the basis of all religions, urging KBC to closely adhere to the admonishments of Christ, the Prince of Peace, wanting to explain why it is named the 21st Century Panglong Conferece while the opportunity presents itself, how the 1947 Panglong Conference was the 20th Century Panglong, how it is a new century now but the republic desired by all still hasn’t been established, how greatly the world has changed in a century, how the need for new thinking and beliefs in the new era called for naming it 21st Century Panglong, how establishing the republic is not over yet, how inclusiveness is essential to the success of peace, imploring KBC to assist in bringing peace to the nation, instilling compassion deep in the hearts of youths, how peace attained through peaceful means is genuine, and asking KBC to attract everyone believing to participate in peace.
Next, the State Counsellor presented donations to the KBC, and took a documentary photo with the Union Ministers, State Ministers, officials, KBC Chairman, Secretary and members.