August 19, 2016

Change depends neither on chance nor time

IT is not an easy task to transform a country that had distanced itself from multiparty democratic practices for over five decades into a disciplined, prosperous democracy. Myanmar’s transition to democracy coincided with democratic uprisings in the Arab world, often called the ‘Arab Spring’, very few of which succeeded.
Five years ago, our country started its move toward democracy by implementing new political and administrative systems. Over the last five years, we have been shocked by the violent scenes breaking out in the short-lived new democracies in the Middle East, which have left these countries on the brink of collapse and threatened the lives of millions of innocent people. The rise of anarchism and extremism has put the prospect of democracy on hold until the chaos clears.
In his inaugural speech, President U Thein Sein promised us a country of stability and prosperity, giving assurances that his government would implement political and economic reforms to bridge the gap between rich and poor. Despite some remaining challenges, our country has succeeded in its undertaking to gradually push ahead with its democratic reforms.
Tangible achievements in the reform process have led to the easing of economic sanctions against our country, thereby clearing the way for unprecedentedly massive investment flows into the country over the past five years. According to official statistics, local investment rose from K241.75 billion (US$186 million) in 2011 to K5,179 billion ($4 billion) in 2015, while foreign investment hit $22 billion in 2015, up from $4 billion in 2011.
It will definitely take time to correct the administrative mechanisms that have grown rusty from years of inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Immediate action is required simply because a change of character is more important than a change in government. After all, change depends neither on chance nor on time.


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