Nay Pyi Taw—The following is the full text of monthly radio address delivered by President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar U Thein Sein.
My fellow citizens:
As I have done previously, I would like to give you the monthly update on the work of my government and the developments that have taken place in our country in the month of August.
In July and August, many states and regions of the country were seriously affected by flooding. Despite the lack of experience and resources, the country was able to respond to these challenges because of the collective spirit and efforts of all citizens. During this time of need, it was truly an honor to see the sense of community and the Myanmar traits of compassion and altruism. Of particular note were the actions of the young people in fulfilling their duties as citizens. Through their creative ideas and tireless efforts, our young people summoned up the entire nation to respond to the floods. At the same time, we must honor and praise the relief efforts of the civil society, Tatmadaw, police, firefighters and government personnel. We must also thank the assistance provided by the international community.
In addition to rescue and relief efforts, we must begin to undertake rehabilitation work simultaneously – an effort that will require the participation and cooperation of the public.
Rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts will be prioritized and carried out comprehensively in accordance with short- and long-term plans. Long-term plans must also be drawn up and effectively implemented for all round rehabilitation of the socioeconomic situation of flood victims. Immediate needs such as food, shelter, access to health, and schooling for school-age children must be prioritized. I have also been traveling to flood-impacted areas to provide words of encouragement to the victims and other necessary guidance for relief efforts. I have also instructed government agencies to work together with the public and civil society to facilitate better cooperation on issues that will require joint effort.
Additionally, it is important that all citizens living in flood-affected areas are able to exercise their right to vote. The Union Election Commission is working to recompile voter registration lists damaged in the floods and the government pursuant to its authority is doing its part including reissuing household registrations and national registration cards.
The upcoming 2015 general elections are a crucial step forward for our country’s democratic reforms. Therefore, it is imperative that the elections are free and fair. The elections are also an important step for the establishment of a new Myanmar that is desired by the citizens of this country. Therefore, each member of the electorate bears a responsibility. In particular, I urge each and every citizen qualified to vote to exercise his or her rights to vote. In casting your votes, it is important to choose candidates who are qualified, accountable and will truly represent the will of the people. Only then, will a democratic, open and free society that we all envision emerge from the 2015 general elections.
I would like to say a few words about the role of political parties and candidates competing in the 2015 general elections. In a few days, campaigning will begin for the political parties and I understand that each party will campaign to the best of its abilities to succeed in the elections. We welcome any campaign that adheres to democratic principles and complies with the rules, regulations and codes of conduct set forth by the Union Election Commission.
However, our country is a multi-ethnic society with many traditions, customs and religious beliefs. Because of this, the political parties, when campaigning, must take great care to not cause damage to social harmony or harm our diverse religious beliefs. I also urge all political parties to act responsibly and avoid incitements that could harm national reconciliation and national unity. Instead of blaming each other or acting in a manner that could harm national reconciliation, I urge all political parties to campaign on their respective platforms based on how they envision bringing about the aspirations, objectives and plans for a new Myanmar desired by their constituents. In particular and despite our differences, the political forces should strive to sustain our new political culture of dialogue.
My government, under its executive authority and within the bounds of its executive powers, will ensure that the elections are free and fair. We will also strive to make sure that there is political stability before and after the elections and that there is a smooth and stable transition of power to a new political setting that will come about in accordance with the wishes of the people. I would like to let all of you know also that we have taken the initiative and made the necessary plans for civil society and international election monitoring organizations to observe and monitor the upcoming elections.
Intimately tied to the democratic transition process, there has also been significant progress and developments made in the peace process. The representatives of the government and the ethnic armed organizations announced on August 7, 2015 that they were able to approve the final text of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.
Two overriding goals and promises critical to national reconciliation and lasting peace are included in the agreement: to resolve armed conflict through political settlement and to build a union based on democratic and federal principles. To achieve this, long standing demands of the ethnic armed organizations as well as the guarantees and plans for the political dialogue process are also included in the agreement.
The immediate benefit arising from the signing of this agreement is that the people living in conflict areas will begin to see the fruits of peace and experience it firsthand. As all of you know, there have already been improvements on the ground in terms of human security and safety in some areas because we were able to reduce armed hostilities even while negotiating for peace.
Our internal armed conflict is one of the main reasons why our country has fallen behind others in terms of progress and development. And because our internal armed conflict impacts the lives of every individual living within our country, I look at the peace process as an important cause that has meaning and value for all Myanmar citizens. And since the peace process impacts the lives of each individual and the future of our country, I promise all of you again that I will do my utmost to carry out the peace process just as I have been doing during my presidency. That said, it is important to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement and begin the political dialogue process as soon as possible. I have already invited the ethnic armed organizations to sign this agreement. I would like to call on them again from here and invite them to sign the NCA as soon as possible.
We have been trying to put forward poverty
alleviation and socio-economic development as aims of the economic reforms since my government came into power. To achieve these aims, we have also enacted laws that fit our times and reflect our circumstances in addition to developing necessary infrastructure and investment. Through these efforts, we were able to agree on a minimum daily wage of 3,600 kyats that is in line with the current conditions of the country and this will come into effect beginning September 1, 2015.
I would like to conclude by recapping again that I will do my very best to achieve peace, promote economic development and build a better future for our young generations.
I wish you all good health and happiness. *******