U Sai Tun Aye, head of research and central executive committee member of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy presented the policy, attitudes and working procedure of their party on Radio & Television on 12 February 2017.
The text of his presentation is given below.
Mai Soon Kha—
I sent, first of all, my greeting wish to you, all the nationals, to be blessed with health and happiness. I am U Sai Tun Aye of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy. With a view to helping in building our country into peaceful and developed Federal Union and to make current transition into democracy of the Union of Myanmar stable and smooth, I will present policies of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy.
Our respected national brethren and voters!
Union of Myanmar is a country in which various kinds of national races co-exist. We firmly believe that perpetuation of freedom and sovereignty of the whole Union and its development will be able to be maintained with the strength of all the nationals. For a country all the national races collectively live together, “Equality” is a vital concept.
Here, I would like to explain a few to our voters to be well convinced of policies of SNLD Party. SNLD Party is a Union Party founded, based on Shan State. Since 1988 when it commenced to be established till now, the Party has been exerting its efforts in every sector assumed to be responsible, for attaining the national equality, acquisition of right to self-administer and building up a Federal Union.
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy is a party which took its stance as a veteran, solemn and simple-minded party in the history of Shan nationalities. Especially, it is a clear evidence that it took firmly its stance for years by holding unswerving responsibilities of building up a Federal Union, attaining the national equality and acquisition of rights to self-administer, laid down since the time it was set up. Our party’s policy is based on Panglong Agreement and Panglong Commitments. In accord with Panglong Commitments, we have been demanding for national equality and rights to self-administer, that all nationals long for.
National equality means that “Shan” has to get one kyat like “Bamar” got one kyat and “Shan” must has the right to be a President like “Bamar” had. Likewise, Kachin, Kayin and Mon must have the right. As a “Bamar” national can become a Commander-in-Chief if he is well qualified with military affairs, a “Shan” national must be eligible to serve as a Commander-in-Chief if he is well qualified. Any national races must get a post he deserves if he is well-qualified. All must have equal rights. Any one is neither a “Thakin”/ master nor a “Kyun”/ slave. We believe that is the national equality.
Right to self-administer means Shan nationals themselves must have right to administer, prescribe laws and defend our rights, in the region where Shan nationals live. Similarly, “Bamar” and “Rakhine” as well must be able to defend their rights themselves. This is the essence of Panglong Commitments included in Panglong Agreement.
It wholly depends on the political system it exercises, for all nationals to be able to live in the union without being divided into pieces. SNLD Party’s political policy includes building up a Federal Union. Federalism is the system which acknowledges different cultures, languages and beliefs existing in the country. In solving racial conflicts in a country, federalism only will be the most effective way. Federalism is a vision or doctrine that all will build up a country to co-exist, by accepting mutual understanding between one region and another, one race and another with different characteristics, according to their historical backgrounds.
Only if national ethnics practice the habits of mutual respect, understanding and acknowledgement, will the peaceful Union be able to be built up for us to live sharing weal and woe. Like “Bamar” pays respect to “Shan”, “Shan” must pay respect to “Kachin,” so that the peaceful Union will survive for ever.
As long as random uses of carte blanche, practices of bullying and exploitation of the weaker exist, we cannot build up a peaceful Union. Provided that one will harm another’s right for his benefit, the latter will defend his rights, leading to occurrences of wars and conflicts, as seen in histories. Although it lasted for 60/ 70 years for each other to solve problems with arms, no one won. There is a well-known Shan saying, “Dogs bite lice but lice never die, or vice versa.”
Innocent people and children suffered a lot betwixt and between in the conflicts. Sorrowfully enough, they had been displaced by fighting, from the areas where they have been eking out their living. Why did these happen? The answer is that they do not treat each other with equal status and they fail to acknowledge equality. Thus, SNLD Party has been demanding for gaining these rights nonstop, so far.
The Union we want is the Union with equality. In this Union, we must have a Federal Government as well as States’ Cabinets. A State Cabinet must have a full right to administer its affairs. States must have their own constitution. Power and authority that State Cabinets will exercise should not be power and authority, such as they are, like those empowered to township or district development committees. Chief Minister of the State must be the one chosen with the wishes of locals from the State, not the One appointed by the Federal Government. Besides, like having Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, States must have Hluttaws. Those Hluttaws must not be the ones in which people take parliamentarian seats without being chosen by the people.
The government we want is the kind that takes responsibility and accountability. Our region has forests, minerals, jewels, rivers & creeks, with forests having been cut down, minerals exploited, jewels dug up and electric power produced by building embankments. Deforestation ruins natural environment, which causes climate changes. Local people have to suffer scourge of village displacement, floods and landslides. New jewel mining plots had emerged, but companies monopolized them, whereas locals had no alternatives but to gaze at them. Electric power had been produced and natural gas had been carried out of the country through pipes. Yet, electric power never casts light on these areas. We never want such a government.
Federal Union we want to build up must be able to guarantee for the law to protect safety of lives of the whole national populace, and for the people to enjoy social basic rights to the full. The Federal Union must conserve and develop literatures, cultures and traditions of national races, emphatically. Education received must be the kind that can guarantee for our future. It must support for the progress of social standards of peasants and workers. And, it must implement plans for people to be able to receive medical treatments at modernized hospitals and clinics, with cheapest costs, in prioritization of public health.
Our respected national brethren and voters!
Failure to acknowledge national equality, lack of democracy and overwhelming of one-party dictatorship system are great hindrances in building up a genuine Union. The Union of Myanmar is a Union/ Pyidaungsu consisting of States with different historical backgrounds, cultures, traditions and beliefs. Withdrawal of practices of bulling the weaker and developing the practices of acknowledgement of differences only can lead emergence of the basics for peace, democracy and building the Federal Union.
In building up a Union with equality, prioritization of the national interest only causes confrontation with other nationals’ interests. Due to holding the doctrine of the majority rule, political equality and rights to create one’s destiny oneself have been lost, and it causes emergence of narrow-minded nationalism, on other side.
It was regrettable to have spent time without peace and stability along the history of our country. Just after gaining Independence, less developed countries than ours and those from the same level, outpaced much better than us. Presently, our country plunged into the state of being in list of the world poorest countries. Education, health, living and social standards of the whole populace are lowering down and down, and our country suffered a variety of social problems.
On account of unqualified leaders of the country and badly flawed constitution, people had to work day in and day out, just to keep body and soul together, having costly but fruitless education system, so-called health-care which was costly but unable to cure, old and unsatisfactory services and infrastructures.
Respected national brethren and voters!
At present, all the nationals need to participate for the development of Union Spirit and smooth transition into democracy. And, political forces need to cooperate while all citizens are necessary to encourage, so that we can leave favorable legacy of the Union for new generations to come. We want to assert that it is necessary to leave justice and equality of goodness for building peaceful and developed Union, completely not leaving conflicts and hatred between one race and another.
The spirit of loving one’s own country, region and race is not genuine and perfect Union Spirit, and we cannot build our country with excessively selfish nationalism. It is essential to have in our minds “the Panglong Spirit” with which we will build our country together to enjoy the fruits of our efforts. Similarly, if we believe just forming the so-called committee will make the solution for peace problems convenient our country will surely be on the brink of danger again. In shaping Myanmar into the Federal Union, what we greatly need is the broad-minded and practical leadership in democratic movement.
Let me disclose that our SNLD Party will co-operate with any political forces which are performing like this, in places we are assigned, both in Hluttaw and Peace Dialogues. And, we will always stand up for the people in the sectors operating check and balance over the government’s acts, constructively.
Now, in our country, elections are being held by exercising multi-party democracy system. With the increasing amounts of parties, it is necessary to assess the stances of the parties. Our SNLD Party is standing as a veteran, solemn and simple-minded party until now, always giving priority to affairs of our nationals and our country. We will be moving on definitely and bravely without prejudice and bias, for justice, freedom, equality and peace to be deeply rooted in the country. For the emergence of genuine Federal Union which guarantees national equality, our party will be marching in future, with great strength while performing a historic duty with unswerving determination.
Likewise, if candidates representing SNLD Party to contest in the by-election are chosen and assigned duties, we would like to give solemn pledges that they will bring about the benefits of the people. Here I conclude my election campaign speech by urging our people to go to voting booths to cast their votes with bravery on the by-election day to come very soon, for the emergence of the Federal Union and for peace and development of social lives of the people.
May you all take part in the nation-building.
Mai Soon Kha!