U KHIN MAUNG (A retired diplomat)
1. Performing works to promote, protect and safeguard the public interests; ensuring the prevalence of rule of law in the government’s functions and business are the essential ingredients of a democratically elected government or a good government, with clean governance. In a sense, there should be no nepotism, no cronyism, no favouritism, no prejudice and bias, no injustice, no corruption of any kind in a democratically elected government. In essence, “the care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of the good government. And to win the hearts and minds of the people, the good government or a democratically elected government shall always be “the government of the people, by the people, and for the people”. As such, the people’s government is made for the people, made by the people and shall be answerable to the people.” The good government must always be together with the people. The good government must always serve the public requirements.
2. In a wider sense, what are the ingredients of the good government and clean governance? Well, from my humble point of view, they are as follows:
(c) Rule of law
(d) Freedom of press
(e) Independence of Judiciary
(f) Corruption free
(g) People’s participation
In brief, may I present to you definitions of each of the afore-mentioned ingredients as mentioned below:
(a) Accountability — It may be defined as being accountable. And “accountable” means responsible or answerable to the people. The good government and of course the democratically elected government must be accountable, answerable to the people, for every action it takes and for every decision it has made.
(b) Transparency — Transparency means obviousness, not being opaque, but light coming through. Except for the state secrets and security, every action of the good government must be transparent, must be open, and must not be opaque.
(c) Rule of law — This phrase “rule of law” means, equality before the law, fair play, uniformity of laws for private citizen and public official alike. It also means that disputes and differences that are amenable to legal settlement will be taken to the courts and peacefully settled and they will not lead to violence. “The first essential condition for making democracy secure in our lives is” said U Nu, the first prime minister of our union, in his address to the parliament, “is to base all our activities firmly on the rule of law.”
(d) Freedom of press — It is widely accepted that “press, newspapers, and magazines are the fourth pillar of a soverign state. From my collection of memories, I would like to mention, what Mr. Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States of America once said “Let me make a newspaper of the nation, and I don’t care who makes its laws”.
(e) Independence of Judiciary—As you all know, the judiciary is one of the vital organs of a sovereign and independent state. And “independence of judiciary”, I believe, is so concise and clear in itself that it needs no further explanation or explication. Under this doctrine, a judge or a magistrate is vested with the judicial power, i.e the authority to hear and decide the cases independently and at his or her own discretion, but strictly in accordance with the law. And there is one important point to note. Independence of judiciary does not mean that judicial power may be exercised at the whims and fancies of the judge or the magistrate, leaving aside all the relevant laws and evidence pertaining to the cases.
(f) Corruption free—There is a universally accepted maxim, i.e “power tends to corrupt; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And another definition is; “corruption is a global shame and sin against good manners and character. Well, corruption does not mean only bribe taking. From the legal point of view “corruption means maladministration of justice, mismanagement of affairs, prejudice and bias, and wrong doing etc.
(g) People’s participation—People’s appreciation and people’s participation are closely connected. The more appreciation government’s performances by the people, the more participation in government’s performance by the people. The incumbent government is democratically elected government. In other words, the incumbent government is mainly composed of the elected people’s representatives.
In essence, the people play the decisive role in a democracy. Furthermore, the people must always actively participate in the good government’s plans and performances. People’s participation is one of the essential ingredients of good government.
If we assess and evaluate the incumbent government, how well, how effectively and actively “it is working during it’s one year period in office, I, a retiree, a nonentity and an oldie, with one foot in the grave, sincerely believe that the incumbent government is performing the people’s mandate and its mission very well. In other words, the incumbent government is doing good jobs of their work.
So the incumbent government is winning the hearts and minds of the people as a good government, with clean governance. Well, as we know, governments may come and governments may go, but a good government will remain in the heart and history of a nation forever. A good government is remembered not by the years it stayed in office, but by the years it used for the welfare of the people.
In this connection, the State Counsellor, Her Excellency, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in her exclusive interview with British Broadcasting Corporation (B.B.C) has confessed, “we are not home and dry yet.” And the incumbent government itself admits that together with the people, it could make some progress, some developments. And to honour the one, to whom honour is due is a virtue. In this sense, I would like to present to you that the incumbent government is making a good name, at home and abroad. The political image of our nation is getting better these days, and ours is being well-recognized as a nation, governed by the people’s representatives.
In presenting my humble and honest views on the incumbent government’s one year performance, I remember those golden days of the newly independent and sovereign country of ours, Burma. The international image of ours as a non-aligned country was well recognized. It was our country’s government with its two big neighbours, China and India, that expounded the universally respected, five principles of peaceful co-existence at a time when cold-war between the East and the West was at its apex. And it was our country, Burma, which was the first and foremost country in Asia, to propose to the United Nations Organization to admit the People’s Republic of China, in stead of Taiwan, as UN member state. And owing to the political image of our country, as a neutral state, or a non-aligned state, and also for his own talent, and prestige, the permanent representative of Burma (Myanmar) to the U.N.O, U Thant was appointed as the Third United Nations Secretary General (1961-1971).
Concerning a few historic achievements of our country, after getting back its sovereignty and independence. I would like to present to you only two vital achievements. The first one was our country’s fighting out the aggression of Kuomintang Government of Formosa, without seeking any sort of assistance from any single country. In this war against Kuomintang forces, our Burmese (Myanmar) soldiers had done a good job of their work and had proved their worth. The second achievement is its independent and active foreign policy since Myanmar has become a member in the family of nations i.e. on 4th January 1948. And “in its international relations, Myanmar strictly adheres to the five principles of peaceful coexistence, which Myanmar together with India and China had expounded in 1954. These Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are:
-Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignity.
-Non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
-Equality and mutual benefit
-Peaceful coexistence and peaceful settlement of disputes.
Well, this is my admiration and appreciation of “one year performance of our incumbent government, together the people and of course together with the historic achievements of our country, internationally known as “golden land”.
(1)The Global New Light of Myanmar.
Press-conference on one year performance “together with the people”
(2)Diplomatic handbook Second Edition.
(3)To a soldier son by Dr. Maung Maung.
(4)Law and custom in Burma and the Burmese Family.
(5)C.N.A Satellite News