The Rakhine people presented Union Parliament Speaker Thura Shwe Mahn with a demand for forming of people’s militia units under the command of the Army.
At a meeting between representatives of 17 townships in Rakhine state and the Speaker, Zaw Aye Maung, the Yangon regional government Rakhine Affairs Minister, made a presentation on geopolitical, social and border security affairs. He informed the Speaker about the situation in the state after the Border Inspection and Supervision (Nasaka) units were disbanded.
The Nasaka was disbanded on July 12 and replaced by the police force for manning security in the border areas of Rakhine state.
“Cooperation between union government and Rakhine people for security in the state is necessary. We demand the formation of a people's militia in each and every township in the state. I request you to have faith in the Rakhine people and entrust us this duty”, Zaw Aye Maung said.
Similarly, Maungdaw Township representative Aung Kyaw Nyunt said that people’s militia units were badly needed in Rakhine state to check the deteriorating situation of law and order and high rate of crimes, especially thefts and robberies.
The representatives of Sittwe, Kyauktaw, Maungdaw, Mrauk-U, Minbya and Yathetaung Townships also reiterated the demand to form people’s militia units in their areas.
Speaker Thura Shwe Mahn replied, “I shall forward all the presentations and demands to the President, both Houses of the Parliament and the union and state government.”
Regarding local area development, the representatives presented issues, such as, high rate of electricity in the state which is about MMK 500 (50 US cents approx.) per kilowatt hour, lack of job opportunities, youth development matters and lack of good road for transportation.
Presidential Office Union Minister Soe Thein recently said at the meeting with local authorities in Sittwe on September 16 that it was not easy to lower the current electricity rate of MMK 500 per kilowatt hour in Rakhine state.
The meeting titled ‘Rakhine family get-together for development in the State’ was held on September 29 at the International Business Center (IBC) in Yangon. Speaker Thura Shwe Mahn invited three representatives from each township in Rakhine State to the meeting.
Myanmar President U Thein Sein has called for cabinet committees to endeavor for emergence of alternative ways and means to ensure better outcomes during the remaining 30 months of the present 5-year term of office, an official media reported Saturday.
Addressing at the meeting to assign 23 deputy ministers to newly-formed 26 Cabinet Sub-committees/Delivery Units in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday, Thein Sein called on them to hold talks with civil societies, local and foreign experts and ordinary people, said the New Light of Myanmar.
He stressed that the units comprising various departments led by deputy ministers will be responsible for making coordination with private sector and civil societies to be able to fulfill the socio-economic requirements of the people and to ensure national development.
He continued that the government is making great strides in its sweeping reform processes, politically, economically and administratively to meet the desires of the entire people.
In political reform process, the government is trying hard for ensuring political stability, emergence of all-inclusive political process and putting an end to more than 60-year old armed conflicts, he said.
Local and foreign investors are invited to acquire capital and technology necessary for revitalization of national economy, he added.
During the first 30 months of the government, some works of reform processes met with success, but others fail as burgeoning of democratic practices is still weak, he disclosed.
Residents of Pyi have started a signature-campaign to submit a petition letter to Commander-in-Chiefs of ASEAN countries to protest against inaction in a case of murder and robbery, allegedly committed by three soldiers.
A leading member of the signature campaign said that they have already collected about 20000 signatures including the Yangon Free Funeral Service Society (FFSS) Chairman Kyaw Thu's. The signature campaign was started after a request from the families of the victims.
“Upon receiving a request from the families of the victims, the local people in Pyi city explored ways to help them and finally launched this campaign. They will feel better and encouraged when they see that they are not alone. All the family members were glad when U Kaw Thu lent his support by signing on the petition,” he said.
The Chairman of a civil society organization from Pyi said that they would try to collect signatures from MPs and legislators in Pyi city.
They would also send the petition to President Thein Sein on October 5.
In the petition, the people demand the identification of the culprits and actions against them in accordance with the law, to provide legal remedy to the families of the victims for their grievances and to guarantee that such crimes are not repeated.
The three soldiers allegedly murdered Zaw Min Oo at the View Point beach in Pyi city on April 23 and stole a ring from the woman who was with him, while she was unconscious after being beaten and strangulated.
The National Union Party (NUP) took a stand on September 24 that not only the Election Commission (EC) but also political parties have to be sincere to ensure free and fair elections in 2015.
U Thein Tun, Central Committee member of the National Union Party (NUP) told Mizzima, “From what we have experienced in previous elections, we know that the EC as well as political parties have issues. The rules state that there must no campaigning within 100 yards of the polling-station but some parties try to persuade voters even inside the polling-stations.”
“The EC has the primary responsibility to make elections free and fair and we will try our best to enforce it in the upcoming general elections”, U Tin Aye, Chairman of the EC told Mizzima.
“Our party was successful in the elections as we obeyed all the rules. If we were unlawful, there is no doubt that the EC would have pressed charges on us. Our party is strong and we believe in being truthful”, said U Win Myint, Central Executive of the National League for Democracy (NLD).
The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the NLD are considered to be the leading political parties in Myanmar.
Myanmar government cabinet tasked 23 selected deputy ministers to lead 26 cabinet sub-committees or delivery units to be formed to implement the policies on the ground through cooperation and coordination, said the President's Office Friday without giving the names of the deputy ministers.
The move, announced by President U Thein Sein at a cabinet meeting summoned, is a follow-up of the formation of a national reform steering committee, led by the president himself, in August to direct efforts on reform program for the remaining 30 months of the present five-year term of office.
Earlier this month, the government had named four ministers at the President's Office as coordination ministers to undertake the responsibility of coordinating between various ministries and state or region governments.
U Thein Sein has urged the government ministers to complete the prioritized tasks to bring positive results to the people, cooperating closely with local and foreign academicians, private organizations and civil society organizations, listening to the voices and wishes of the people.
He called for reviewing the profitability of government enterprises for improving the administration mechanism, instructing enterprises which have plan for corporatization and privatization to submit their financial plans to the coming financial commission meeting in December.
President U Thein Sein's government took office on March 30, 2011 after a general election in November 2010 and the term of office was to last for five years.
Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar 's opposition party the National League for Democracy (NLD), on Friday called on her party members to strive for building a genuine and fully democratic nation.
Suu Kyi made the call at a ceremony here marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of NLD.
Suu Kyi said that the country has not yet become a fully democratic nation where people can live peacefully with prosperity.
She held that NLD will strive for achieving the main purposes smoothly through national reconciliation and non-violence ways.
Although Myanmar has made significant changes in the past two or three years, it still does not meet with satisfaction, she said.
"We hope the time will come when all of us, political parties, civil societies and our military will be able to join together to build a kind of unity that we have all longed for in the last 15 or more years," she added.
NLD's Silver Jubilee Anniversary was attended by senior politicians, ethnic representatives , 88-Generation Students Group 's representatives and some foreign diplomats.
NLD, established in late September 1988 after the previous military take-over, regained legal party registration on Jan. 5, 2012 following Aung San Suu Kyi's final release from house restriction on Nov. 13, 2010, six days after the general election.
NLD's party membership has developed to 1.3 million as disclosed.
In the April 1, 2012 by-elections, NLD overwhelmingly won 43 out of 45 open parliamentary seats, of which 37, including Suu Kyi, with the House of Representatives (Lower House), 4 with the House of Nationalities (Upper House) and 2 with the region or state parliament.
Aung San Suu Kyi was named chairperson of the Committee for Rule of Law and Tranquillity of the House of Representatives on Aug. 7, 2012
Celebrations to mark the 25th founding anniversary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) was held in Yangon, Mandalay and other cities on September 27, according to NLD officials.
The party was officially founded on September 27, 1988, after pro-democracy protests by students.
According to the NLD, as part of the celebrations NLD offices across the country will exhibit photographs and NLD activities during the last 25 years.
NLD chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi will deliver a speech at the NLD headquarters in Shwegondine road in Yangon. They will also have an exhibition of activities in the past year, Myo Nyunt, a member of the NLD Youth Conference Organizing Committee, told Mizzima, before the ceremony.
“We have invited former colleagues and sent invitations to Min Ko Naing and his colleagues from the Open Society Group and embassies, to the ceremony”, he added.
In Mandalay, the ‘Silver Jubilee News’ magazine will be released during a similar ceremony to mark the anniversary, according to Ko Lay, Vice Chairman of the Mandalay District NLD.
“Other townships will also have silver jubilee celebrations. Some members who have worked for the NLD for the last 25 years will deliver speeches”, he said.
In Mandalay, starting from September 27, the three-day ceremony will be held in the NLD office, Padonma Hall on 26th road, according to Dr. Sai Hla Thein, Joint Secretary of the Mandalay Region NLD.
“U Tin Oo has informed us that any township NLD office that will hold the silver jubilee ceremony can ask for official felicitation letter”, said Dr. Sai Hla Thein.
Similarly, Kalay District NLD Secretary Ko Lay told Mizzima that a celebration will be held in Kalay District, Sagaing Region.
The Elders Group delegation, comprising three former foreign leaders, voiced support of Myanmar's reform Thursday, encouraging all parties in the country to advance the reform process during the transition period.
The Elders Group delegation is made up of former President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter, former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Marti Ahtisaari and former Prime Minister of Norway Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland.
Welcoming the work of a range of local and international actors involved in supporting Myanmar's peace process with ethnic minority armed groups and addressing ongoing violence in Rakhine state, the Elders Group, led by Jimmy Carter, told the press on the conclusion of their three-day first visit to Myanmar that they anticipate remaining engaged in the country in the coming years.
Commenting on Myanmar's political reform process, Jimmy Carter disclosed that the group had constructive discussions with President U Thein Sein and Defense Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing in Nay Pyi Taw.
"We were impressed by the pace with which reforms are proceeding. Myanmar is becoming a more open society," he said.
He expressed trust that there will be no political prisoners in Myanmar by the end of the year as U Thein Sein pledged.
During their discussions, amendment of Myanmar's constitution, improvement of socio-economic status in conflict areas and settlement on long-term coexistence of two communities in conflicted Rakhine state were also touched upon.
Carter added that the group was struck by the growing contribution and leadership of women in civil society.
Commenting on the prospect of peace between the government and the ethnic minority armed groups in the border regions, Marti Ahtisaari stressed the need to carefully manage the factors underlying the conflicts, citing contest for land and other natural resources.
Commenting on the inter-communal strife, Gro Harlem Brundtland encouraged religious leaders to work with compassion and tolerance.
During their visit, the Elders Group also met with political leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, religious leaders and civil society groups including women's organizations.
The independent Elders Group, based in London, was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007 and chaired by Kofi Annan.
New Zealand Parliamentary leaders, due to make a three-nation Asia tour from next week, will be looking to strengthen links with Myanmar's legislators, head of the delegation and Parliament Speaker David Carter said in a statement Thursday.
The delegation, seeking to gain a better understanding of the on-going democratic reforms in Myanmar, would travel to the capital Nay Pyi Taw for a series of parliamentary calls, including meetings with the speakers of both the Lower and Upper Houses.
The delegation will also meet with President U Thein Sein, who has been leading Myanmar's reform process, ministers, and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Carter said.
Before heading to Myanmar, the delegation would visit Thailand to meet with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and legislative leaders and establish a New Zealand-Thailand Parliamentary Friendship Group to promote cooperation.
The delegation's last stop is Japan, where they would focus on issues of trade, agricultural reform and disaster recovery.
"Our visit comes at a time when New Zealand is increasingly looking toward Asia in terms of trade relationships and cooperation on regional and global issues," said Carter.