Naing Thet Lwin, the Union Minister for Ethnic Affairs, delivered a speech at a workshop on federalism held at Royal President Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning.
“It is necessary for us to thoroughly study the characteristics of federalism. Now that the term ‘federal’ is officially accepted, mottos and slogans such as ‘From 21st Panlong Union Peace Conference to Democratic Federal Union,’ are being heard everywhere. And billboards showing support of the whole populace are ubiquitous” he said in his speech.
He went on to say: “In exercising federalism, one country differs from another. Similarly, their results are found to be different. Only if federalism is suitable for nature and the real situations of a nation, can success be achieved. We need to openly discuss federal systems. If we can relate experiences gained from this workshop and study further, it will be of great help for peace, stability and development of our country.”
U Han Yong Hue, Executive Director of the Euro-Burma Office (EBO) Myanmar, Mr Don Stephenson of Canada Foreign Ministry (Myanmar Affairs) and Programme Director of Forum of Federations extended greetings and posed for the photos.
The workshop was attended by inter-region and state ministers for ethnic affairs, international scholars and responsible officials. During the meeting, the subjects—introduction to federalism, unity and difference, sharing power and authority, sharing of natural resources, federalism and resource sharing, and protection of minority rights under federalism—will be discussed.
Mr Stephenson of Ministry of Canada Foreign Affairs (Myanmar programme) said: “I am very glad to share knowledge and experience on Federalism not only from Canada but also international experiences including India and Germany. I deeply assert that federal systems which is suitable for one country should be built depending on the respective countries’ historical background and nature in building federal systems. According to the experience of Canada, it is of great need to have a political leader with skilled and broad-minded visions. There needs to be peaceful negotiation among political leaders. And we need to reach an all-inclusive agreement. If we build federalism based on understanding, we will gain national reconciliation, political stability and economic wealth.”
U Han Yong Hue, executive director of EBO Myanmar, said the conference was important from an informational and practical perspective.
“At the request of the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs to discuss federalism, we held this meeting in collaboration with Forum of Federations and international experts to know well about what federalism is, how it is to be implemented. Ministers at Region and State levels as well as the whole populace need to know federalism so that we can build a federal nation. Federal means a kind of government’s administrative system. Federal attends democracy.”
The programme director of Forum of Federations said the two-day workshop was designed to give historical context to federalism and also to see how it could be applied to Myanmar.
“Federalism causes unity, economic development, mutual understanding and peace” Mr. Stephenson said. “Our organization is a Canada-based non-governmental organization, consisting of board of members sent by 10 federal countries. We will discuss facts on federal systems in a short period of time”.