U Min Thu, Union Minister for the Office of the Union Government, on his visit to Myitkyina in Kachin State, met with staff of the General Administration Department (GAD) from township, district, and state level offices, yesterday.
Firstly, U Myint Lwin, the Head of Kachin State GAD, introduced the Union Minister to everyone in attendance. He then explained about the State GAD’s processes and performances. Union Minister U Min Thu then delivered a speech.
Speech by Union Minister U Min Thu
The Union Minister said the General Administration Department has been agreed to be transferred to the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government during Union Government Meeting No. (23/2018). He explained that the reason for the transfer is to establish an administrative mechanism that is in line with the political system the country is working towards, and for the emergence of good governance.
He mentioned that President U Win Myint said he will undertake government reforms and decentralize institutions in his speech on Myanmar New Year in April 2018.
The Union Minister said reforming governance requires adherence to the following principles:
• To start from the grassroots
• To work with collective strength of the people
• To emphasize the sill of the people
• To make changes in areas not coherent with reforms
He added that decentralization needs to be carried out in accordance with the following:
• To change what is needed
• To implement changes without jeopardizing stability
• To work for the transition process based on the standards of transparency, openness, accountability and responsibility at all levels.
Union Minister U Min Thu said the GAD needs to be stable and always open to community-based amendments and reforms. He said this is why they listen to both experts and staff experience so that they can systematically each stage of the reform process. He instructed the civil servants to adhere to the policies and processes of the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government.
The Union Minister said that as Heads of the GAD in respective states and regions and Nay Pyi Taw council area assume the task of executive secretary of the respective cabinet, they must ensure the administration system is smooth, fair, just, free of corruption, and operates with transparency.
He said as the GAD has branches down to the ward and village-tract levels, GAD staff have to meet with the general public on a daily basis. This means GAD staff have to be mindful of their actions and words as they deal with public issues almost every day.
The Union Minister said he has heard of GAD Heads contributing much to the community they are assigned to and have received praise from the people. He said the reform has to start at the bottom, meaning each staff member has to change their mindset, remove unnecessary red tape, and to do away with old habits that no longer serve any purpose. He urged the GAD staff to work together with the people, respect them and value them, and to use their strength to initiate reforms.
The Union Minister said the administrative system has been established since the colonial era and has since been viewed as a sort of authoritarian class. He urged GAD staff to protect the rights of the people in there assigned area and to carry out their duties for the benefit of the nation.
The Union Minister concluded by laying down two points he wished for GAD staff to consider.
The first point is to cast away any worries concerning the General Administration Department’s transfer to the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government, said the Union Minister. He said the administrative system needs to be stable first before initiating reforms. He told the staff to continue working as normal, fulfilling their duties, while adhering to the law, rules and regulations in place. He instructed them to carry out reforms in line with any changing policies and instructions.
The second point, said the Union Minister, is to carry out reforms and changes while considering the goodwill and benefit of the people.
He said the GAD needs to be always ready to carry out the needs of the public. He requested GAD staff to be responsible in their duties as they are working closely with the public and have a lot of trust placed on them.
The Union Minister concluded his speech by wishing peace of mind and happiness to the GAD staff in their efforts to bring about swift reforms. He urged them to work hard to the point people extoll ‘The model for reform begins from the GAD’.
Afterwards, the Union Minister and officials listened to reports and opinions of the GAD staff, and gave necessary instructions and guidance to fulfill their requests.
(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)