(Editorial) - In our country, successive governments in the past have signed many agreements with various foreign companies for both short-term and long-term projects. Sometimes, signing ceremonies of these agreements are reported in the state media. But, interestingly, they do not report details of these agreements, such as who will be the beneficiaries? What are the benefits? What is the opinion of local people on these projects? and most importantly, the social and environmental impacts of these projects.
It is our right and duty as responsible citizens to investigate if these projects are beneficial to the people and if they have any adverse impact on the environment, and if the projects turn out to be hazardous to the lives of the people, who will bear responsibility? How will the government deal with it?
Nowadays, people are aware of most of the mammoth projects taken up by foreign companies. But, some of them remain hidden from the public eye until their negative impact on the people and the environment is revealed. No one really know how many such projects are being implemented in Myanmar right now.
However, the people will have to embrace the legacy of the past whether it is good or bad, and whether they like it or not. The main questions that the projects lead us to are, firstly, how will the current government tackle environmental hazards arising out of these projects? and secondly, how will they resolve protest against the projects?
We firmly believe that arresting protesters and charging them under Section 18 of the Peaceful Demonstration Act is not a viable solution. Neither is brushing unsavory facts about these projects under the carpet a solution.
The current government inherited commitments made by their predecessors to allow huge projects at the expense of the people and the environment. Therefore, most of them landed the government in controversies; it led to numerous protests and criticism from the people. Therefore, the government has prioritized to resolve them immediately.
We urge our leaders to resolve the legacy of the Dark Age with great patience, transparency, sense of justice and take into consideration the long term interests of the people.