State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Chairperson of the Central Committee for Development of Border Areas and National Races, who was in Bago, Bago Region paid homage to the Shwemawdaw Pagoda accompanied by Union Ministers U Min Thu, Dr. Aung Thu, U Ohn Win, Dr. Myo Thein Gyi and Dr. Myint Htwe, Region Chief Minister U Win Thein, Region ministers and officials.
After offering flowers, water, oil lamps, fruits, soon and incense sticks and going around the pagoda the State Counsellor donated K 500,000 to the pagoda trustee board for all-round maintenance work of the pagoda and signed the visitors’ book.
Following the pagoda visit the State Counsellor met with residents of Bago District in the Bago Town Hall.
Present at the meeting was the entourage led by the State Counsellor, Region Hluttaw Speaker U Khin Maung Yin, Region High Court Chief Judge U Maung Maung Shwe, Region Advocate U Ohn Myint, Region Auditor Daw Than Win, Hluttaw representatives, residents of Bago District, local and foreign media and officials.
At the meeting the State Counsellor said the reason she went to meet local people of States and Regions was to learn about the situation of the people, local government, and public servants in the administrative sectors. Only when the people, government and the public servants were united as one can the destination be reached smoothly and quickly. So they need to be like close friends.
If people considered the administration to be a foe or an enemy, something was definitely wrong and the administration was most likely to be in the wrong. In most cases, the requests or demands of the people were reasonable. However, it was not always the fault of the administrative personnel if all the requests and demands of the people were not met. It was very much due to the system. The system was being changed. As the system changes, administrative personnel were expected to change too.
Another matter was the government’s part. A democracy government elected by the people must be responsible to the people. It must do the best for the country and the people. It must have ‘cetana’ towards the country and the people. In addition to having cetana they also must be capable. Some had cetana but were not capable. Some were capable but didn’t have cetana or were weak. They need to have both.
If the government, people and public servants works in unity, had cetana and capability, there would not be any reason for the country not to develop.
Only with stability can the country develop. Only then can all the people, citizens, government and public servants live a safe and secure life. All were responsible for this sort of security.
First security for the inner self was needed. For security of the inner self, correct conduct was needed. If things were done correctly, there would be a sense of security. The outer, physical safety would be the responsibility of the government governing under rule of law. People need to abide by the law in order for there to be rule of law. The laws also need to be fair and just. If the laws are not just nor fair, it must be amended to make it just and fair. Law was made by the people and can be amended by the people. It must be amendable. It must be in line with the time and era. It must be fair and just to all.
Citizens should be law abiding. The most developed and fastest developing countries were seen to be countries with citizens who were disciplined.
Once upon a time the whole world thought Myanmar would become the most developed country in Southeast Asia. Now that situation has changed and she has become one of the least developed countries in the region. This potential force should be used to make the country developed as expected in the past. If this were done with determination, commitment and perseverance, there was no reason this country could not develop.
As a union, the country faces numerous challenges. It was a union with diverse ethnic people, religions and languages. However these diversities could be a force that could be utilized. It would be an incomparable force and not available in other countries. Diversity could be used as a force and expanded even further. If diversities were combined, it would become a complete and powerful force.
On visits such as these, there was advance planning to ask the people what their worries were. That was the reason for these visits. In fact some matters were to be resolved by state/region government by connecting with the people. It has been said quite often, State/Region governments were responsible. They must go down and meet the people. They must be in touch with the people all the time. They need to listen to the voices of the people. Questions raised should be answered. The most important thing for a government that was responsible to the people was to explain whatever they did to the people. It would be a terrible wrong if they could not explain. Public servants must be able to answer to the people in a straightforward way. Sometimes, due to security reasons of the country, they might not be able to answer in full but any answer must be true. Tell truthfully about why an answer could not be given. Do not try to fool the people. The people will know. Let this be a warning for all of you.
People have the right to criticize the works of the government and public servants. But when using this right, care must be taken that the criticism was made with cetana towards maintaining unity and stability. Criticisms were requested to be constructive. The government, the public servants and the people were urged to strive towards changing and reforming with an intention of improving for the better. The government and public servants were to work for the benefit of the people with full cetana. It has always been noted that even though those who had worked for the benefit of the people with full cetana left their lives without having much of their own to show, what they left behind for the country and people were inheritances that were so abundant that it could not be spent by all the people. To leave incalculable inheritances for the people those serving in the government and the public services need to work with full cetana for the country.
Finally, during Q and A sessions, questions and answers should be short and concise. Answers provided should be brief and to the point, said the State Counsellor.
Afterwards, pre-submitted matters to the meeting covering mitigating the almost yearly flooding and inundation occurring in Bago District; depending upon the road transport in the region to downgrade some post-primary schools in Nyaunglebin Township where there were inadequate teacher-student ratios, releasing unused plantation land of Bago District DaikU Township ministry of industry seasoning powder factory (now a coffee factory) and if not released to use it for regional development, as irrigation water distributed to Waw and Thanatpin townships from Moe Yun Gyi reservoir was inadequate for both townships, only Waw township to be provided with irrigation water and if this were not possible, to provide alternate arrangements; upgrade the 50-bed People’s Hospital in Kyauktaga Township due to increasing numbers of patients treated; Hinthakone football field site to be transferred back to the people as a public areas, transferring a congregation hall in Shwemawdaw Pagoda to the pagoda trustee board together with clearing the accounts; Independence Monument site taken over by Ministry of Health and Sports to be returned to the public as a public land and to explain about how Nyunt, Aung Chan Tha, Yetagun and Mawkan cinemas in Bago town were privatized; matters raised by 10 locals outside the meeting covering the removal of Shan Kaing Village administrator lawlessly; digging drains in back alleys of Bago town that had yearly flooding and inundation; removing hawkers on roadside platforms; removal of squatters on empty and fallow lands in Lower Gabar village; laying a road from Hlawga to Pan Khin; laying Yadanapon Road as a public road in Bago Town Myotwingyi Ward; farmland confiscated by No. 1 Ammunition Depot and Tatmadaw (Air) in 1996 and 1997; relevant officials to resolve and return confiscated land in Waw town Myitkyo Village back to the original owners; flood affected people in Bago Region to obtain full support and assistants provided; systematically issuing form 7 to Waw Township Latpan Village; private companies taking over more empty and fallow land than permitted in Hlawga Village; rights of farmers from Bago Town, Ottha New Town Ward 8; and matters raised by three locals in the meeting hall covering difficulties faced by Muslims and Hindus in making national registration identity card; constructing a new school building in Kyauktaga Township Aungmyin Village; enacting fresh water fish rule as quickly as possible and taking action until truth was exposed on matters raised by the people were answered by Union Ministers, Region Chief Minister, Region ministers and officials while the State Counsellor provided additional explanations.
In her concluding remarks to the meeting the State Counsellor spoke of noticing two main points in Bago Region. One was the feeling of injustice felt by some people. The reason for this was either there truly were injustices, unfairness on the side of the administration side or a full explanation was not provided on why a matter was being conducted. If there were truly injustices and unfairness, the Union government would take action according to rules and regulations. If full explanations were not provided on why matters were conducted and thus there were misunderstanding from the people, the capacity of the officials will be raised so that they perform their duties more effectively and the officials will be required to put in more efforts.
But sometime the feeling of injustice was being incited by others. These need to be noted. There were some individuals and entities who did not care for the country’s stability and incite problem.
People should be aware of this and not trust those instigators on the sides. Try to understand matters on your own. Assessment would be made of every submission made on any feeling of wrongs. After assessment, what is needed would be done. On each matter submitted at this meeting and whatever response might have been given by the government, everything would be assessed fairly and the Union government would stand on whoever is right.
It is important to establish the practice of resolving problems through discussion. Every civilized society does this. If no agreement was reached, civilized people continue discussions and negotiations. An answer agreeable to both sides was pursued.
As Bago had a tradition of being politically active, voices of the people were being listened to. It was very beneficial to hear of the problems in the country. That was why much thanks was owed to the people who came to the meeting. She concluded by saying that the best effort will be made toward the benefit of all.
Next, U Tin Soe donated Ks 20 million to the State Counsellor for the peace process and then the State Counsellor took a commemorative group photo with students attending the meeting.
Following this State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyt attended another meeting with Region Chief Minister, region ministers and officials at the Shwe War Tun Hotel guest hall.
At the meeting the State Counsellor spoke about matters raised by the people and to resolve whenever cases occurred. Ministry of the Office of the Union Government, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Region Government and Region Law Office were to cooperate and resolve the matters as quickly as possible. Farmers’ affairs were to be handled speedily, said the State Counsellor.
After this meeting the State Counsellor went by motorcade to the Wingabaw Elephant Camp where Myanma Timber Enterprise Managing Director U Saw John Shwe Ba explained about the camp, aim, future goals, services provided, care provided to the elephants and elephant care based travel business matter using a video projector.
The State Counsellor then donated Ks 500,000 to care for orphaned elephants.
The State Counsellor and party left the elephant camp by helicopters and proceeded to Swa Dam in Yedashe Township and were welcomed upon arrival by Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr. Win Myat Aye, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Hla Kyaw and officials.
The State Counsellor and party then went by motorcade to inspect the Swa Dam spillway damaged on 29 August 2018 and the construction of a temporary rock fill embankment nearby.
Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Dr. Aung Thu and Irrigation and Water Utilisation Management Department Director General U Kyaw Myint Hlaing explained to the State Counsellor on timely works conducted after the spillway was damaged, status of constructing temporary rock fill embankment, working together with international experts to prevent similar incidents from happening again and the State Counsellor provided remarks where necessary.
After the briefing the State Counsellor went to the reconstruction site of flood affected Kyuntawsu Village and inspected the construction of two 30×60 ft. single story reinforced school building for Basic Education Sub Middle School donated and constructed by the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation.
At the under construction hall of the Kyuntawsu Basic Education Sub Middle School, the State Counsellor met with the local people.
At the meeting Bago Region Chief Minister U Win Thein explained about the reconstruction status of Kyauntawsu Village affected by the Swa Dam spillway collapse.
Later the local people attending the meeting raised the matters of Thaingwa Village tract farmlands confiscated by a company in 2010, former owners not receiving the confiscated farmlands released by the Tatmadaw, constructing an irrigation canal to distribute irrigation water for summer paddy, assessing confiscated lands, allocating land near village land for increasing numbers of households and illegal sales for village lands.
Union Ministers and the Region Chief Minster explained about the matters raised after which the State Counsellor provided additional explanations.
The State Counsellor said the matter of resolving the farmland matters fairly was decided by the Hluttaw in 2012 and not much was accomplished in the earlier years. However, month by month momentum had picked up and much was being accomplished. As Bago Region relied on agriculture, the matter of agriculture land was very important and it would be speedily resolved.
She found that the main point was to reinforce the Land Records Department. Once the Land Records Department has been provided with adequate resources, cases would be speedily assessed and resolved. It was a happy opportunity to meet with the villagers and it was understood that the villagers were unable to say all they wanted to say. At the same time, the government delegation was not able to say all it wished to say to the people.
As the country changed and developed, there would be more challenges. All need to be united to overcome the challenges. The country can develop only when there was capability to overcome the challenges.
In talking about progress and development, all the people must have both physical and psychological security. There was a strong conviction that the country would develop soon. This conviction need to be instilled in the people too. Only then can there be progress. This conviction would be the strongest force. Without strong conviction of your work, you would not achieve success. Whatever the difficulties may be, with conviction success would be achieved.
The Region Government members had been instructed to have closer and permanent contacts with the people. They are to listen to the voices of the people and think of resolving the problems faced by the people. The central government would also provide as much support as possible.
An important notice to youngsters would be never ever to try out drugs as it would be a very dangerous thing. Do not chew betel nut either as it would adversely affect the health. Study hard and never let go of the opportunity to learn. It was for your livelihood that you learn and study.
However, to become a learned person does not necessarily mean that you must have a school education. If you can earn a living, you would be a learned person. Priority must be given toward youths having jobs. Only when they have jobs could the youth have goals and target for life. Unemployed youths will become aimless goalless persons. The Union Government would do the best it could to enable youths to attend school and to provide employment after leaving school. However, youths on their side also need to do their parts.
The government would support the best it could towards development of the people. The people also need to put in their best effort toward their own development. It everyone put in their efforts together success would be achieved, said the State Counsellor. After taking a commemorative group photo with the local people, the State Counsellor left by helicopters and arrived back in Nay Pyi Taw in the evening. — MNA (Translated by Zaw Min)