Interview with U Win Htein, Central Executive Committee member of the National League for Democracy.
‘Time for Change’ has made history when Myanmar people aspire to have changes and progress in the country’s democratisation.
Myanmar’s second hluttaws and governments were formed in accordance with the policies of the National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
As all Myanmar people know, the handover ceremony of presidential duties was held on 30 March.
On 1 April, our news team had an opportunity to interview U Win Htein, CEC member of the NLD who took part in the presidential transition process, on the future of transformation in the country as well as his involvement in the process to ensure smooth transition of state duties.
Q: Please recount your involvement in the process of transferring duties from the outgoing government to the incoming government.
A: I was tasked to head the NLD transition committee to deal with the former government’s committee for transfer of Head of State duties to ensure the handover of state duties following the party’s election victory.
The government committee was led by Union Minister U Hla Tun with members Union Minister U Ye Htut, Director-General U Hla Tun, Deputy Director-General U Maung Maung Ohn and Deputy Director-General U Zaw Htay while I led the NLD committee formed with members Dr Myo Aung and Dr Aung Thu. U Zon Hlyal Htan and U Kyaw Thiha, Amyotha Hluttaw representatives, and Pyithu Hluttaw representative Daw Khin San Hlaing were set to support our committee.
Q: How did coordination ensure a smooth transition?
A: Smooth transition was important for the whole process. It was OK to transfer power from Senior General Than Shwe to President U Thein Sein during the first transition as U Thein Sein used to be a general and most of his cabinet members were from Tatmadaw. The transition was not significant. But this transition from U Thein Sein administration to a civilian government resulting from the 2015 general elections made history.
I am very proud of being involved in the historic event and I felt I was rewarded to be tasked to lead this process.
We had five meetings at the President’s Office during the transition period, focusing on ensuring smooth transition. We have not made any special demands. We just made it known that some of 36 ministries would be merged. From the government’s committee side, they informed us of preparations they had done for matters including ministry buildings, budget and future projects.
We believed they have prepared for the handover. No specific demands were made at the meetings. Before 30 March, arrangements were made for a meeting between the incoming and outgoing ministers. We visited places designated for our ministers. I have nothing special to say about this.
Q: Please share information about the role of the former government in the transfer of state duties.
A: Successful transition was due to cooperation of the other side as Myanmar failed to see such kind of transition for about 50 years. I would like to acknowledge and value collaborative efforts of Union Ministers U Hal Tun and U Ye Htut. I laud them for their efforts. The main point is that U Thein Sein administration smoothly transferred duties to U Htin Kyaw administration. This was a great lesson we have learned.
Q: Do you have any predictions of your own to meet possible challenges that lie ahead for the NLD government?
A: Members appointed for the Cabinet, the Constitutional Tribunal and the Union Election Commission met qualifications needed for their posts. Some are not experienced but all have intentions to do good and work toward a developed country. Anti-corruption is a core principle prioritised by our leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
While speaking to the chosen Union Ministers, she called for a strenuous effort to be made for the country during the first 100 days of the new government. Then a set of priority actions will be taken within the next six or 12 months. Plans have been made for every department.
We are set to continue to work on administrative reform in which some success was achieved in the time of U Thein Sein’s administration and works for mitigating corruption to reach a stage of success.
On national reconciliation involving the Tatmadaw and ethnic groups as well, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has a soft spot for Tatmadaw. She will have to work together with Tatmadaw. Leaders of Tatmadaw have vowed to cooperate with her.
Ensuring a better livelihood for all people is among the challenges that lie ahead for the NLD government.