August 19, 2016

Look no further

A CONSTITUTION is regarded as the lifeblood and the foundation of a country, former Chief Justice U Aung Toe said in the foreword for his book “Comparative Studies: the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar 2008”, published in August 2009.
The chief justice warned that a constitution has the potential to guarantee full democratic rights to individual citizens as well as fetter their freedom. He also encouraged public involvement in the process of constitutional amendment together with elected representatives in the parliament, stressing that nobody has a divine right to exclude the public’s will, suggestions or submissions from the constitution. The writing of the constitution should maintain its focus on the needs and interests of all communities, he wrote in his foreword, calling on the entire people to take bold steps in deciding the destiny of the nation.
True to the former chief justice’s words, no constitution that goes against the public will has ever survived, according to a group of researchers who conducted comparative studies on the country’s successive constitutions. An unpopular constitution is liable to harm national solidarity and leave the people on incomes below the poverty line, the researchers posit.
Despite constitutional setbacks, there are opportunities for all of us to further deepen our understanding of the true political nature of the country and adopt policies that are best suited to our traditions and cultures. Only then will we be able to enjoy peace and prosperity. With our destination in sight, we need look no further.


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