The Ministry of Health and Sports, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of Defence held press briefings on their 4th-year performances in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
Ministry of Health and Sports
Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe first talked about his ministry’s fourth-year performances.
He explained to the media that there is no need for general preparations for a COVID-19 second wave situation. He said the people just need to keep adhering to the guidelines issued by the ministry and there is no reason to worry for the second wave. He said pandemics follow three possible trajectories and can spike up, continue unchanged or lessen and disease is currently lessening. He said the public must not be complacent however, and continue to wear face masks.
The Union Minister then replied to questions from the media concerning the high number of COVID-19 cases from people returning from abroad and plans to close border gates for a certain number of months, management to ensure the public follows COVID-19 directives, people returning from abroad, the budget management of the ministry for COVID-19 measures, main challenges and difficulties that have cropped up since the start of COVID-19 till now, whether Myanmar is working toward a cure for the disease, directives for schools to reopen in the COVID-19 period, the ministry’s comments on social distancing measures employed at restaurants, nurturing more doctors, whether there are plans to lower the entry marks required to enter medical college, the number of current doctors and nurses, promoting the sports sector, attaining life insurance for athletes, strategies and policies for COVID-19, providing each government school with thermometers, the number of positive cases from people returning from abroad, the situation of the second wave and guidelines for people to follow.
Ministry of Home Affairs
Director-General U Khaing Tun Oo explained the fourth year performance of the Ministry of Home Affairs. He said the Myanmar Police Force reviewed the 34 laws under its responsibility and kept 19 laws unchanged, amended 2 laws, repealed 10 laws, and are drafting 3 new laws.
The MPF is implementing community policing and opened 1 district police office, 2 regional police stations, 7 police outposts in the fourth year, adding to 3 district police offices, 27 regional police stations, and 31 police outposts during the four year period.
The MPF expanded 2 sub-departments of No.1 Border Guard Police Division in Rakhine State to its existing 8 sub-departments. Myanmar and Bangladesh held 26 meetings in the first 3 years of the current government for border security and held 4 more meetings in the fourth year. They also performed 216 sentry inspections on foot and 100 naval inspections.
The Myanmar Police Force works closely with INTERPOL, ASEAN Police, EU Police, and police forces of other nations regarding transnational crimes. They have opened BLO offices with bordering countries including 4 with China, 2 with Laos, 3 with Thailand, 1 with Bangladesh, and 3 with India, making a total of 13.
The ministry has drafted a 5-year project for eradicating human trafficking from 2017 to 2021 with 3 master strategies. They handled 191 cases of human trafficking and uncovered 570 suspects and 247 victims. The MPF recovered 256 trafficked persons after 132 retrieval cases. They also stopped and let people with insufficient documents going to work abroad 51 times in this year, adding to the total of 255 times.
The ministry has designed the National Strategy for Eradicating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism. The ministry performed 11 special operations in the first 3 years to uncover producers of illegal drugs and their accomplices and performed 4 operations in the fourth year. They have handled 4070 cases and arrested 5575 suspects within the four year period.
The ministry handled 10882 cases of illegal drugs and took action against 15394 suspects in the fourth year, adding up to make a total of 43955 cases and 64071 suspects over four years.
The ministry destroyed 4130.01 acres of poppy plantations in the fourth year, a total of 24271.04 acres in four years. A poppy production survey showed that illegal production went down by 25 per cent in 2017, 9.1 per cent in 2018, and 11 per cent in 2019 and dropped down from second to third place in poppy production.
The Bureau of Special Investigation has taken on 268 tasks as part of the subnational government investigation teams for business transgressions and staff issues and as assigned by the Central Body on Money Laundering, making a total of 671 cases. They also handled 199 cases of staff breaking laws and rules. The bureau has investigated 204 business transgressions and 268 cases assigned by the central body. The ministry formed 3 Corruption Prevention Units.
The Correction Department collaborated with the Ministry of Education to provide 347 inmates with education in 2018-2019 academic year while 171 inmates took the matriculation exams with 87 male inmates and 7 female inmates passing the exams. Education was provided to 335 inmates in the 2019-2020 academic year with 178 taking the matriculation exams.
The Department of Fire Services reviewed 8978 buildings for fire safety and submitted K18301.14 million of service income back to the nation while they also issued fire safety guarantees to 5948 buildings.
The department received EURO 50 million from ODA programme and obtained 75 firefighting and rescue vehicles. The department made 2892 rescues and assisted 78992 people in trouble from 39987 damaged buildings.
The department also assisted in spraying disinfectants for COVID-19 by collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Sports and the Tatmadaw. The have performed the spraying activities 12555 times as of 19 June 2020 in public spaces and health protection locations.
Director-General U Khaing Tun Oo then answered to questions from the media about the relocation policy of police officers, progress on apprehending U Wirathu and U Hla Swe, comments on criticism of prison facilities and their dense population, ensuring police investigations do not get out of hand violently and transparent handling of such incidents, progress on the Victoria toddler case, restaffing the police force in Rakhine State, seizing illegal drugs in the states and regions, and media being filed cases with anti-terrorism laws.
Ministry of Defence
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Brigadier-General Aung Kyaw Hoe explained the fourth-year performances of the ministry.
Union Minister for Defence Lt-Gen Sein Win attended the 13th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Thailand from 10 to 12 July 2019, the 7th CISM Military World Games (Wuhan 2019) on 18 October 2019, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat in Bangkok of Thailand from 16 to 19 November 2019, the 6th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus, and the ASEN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Reterat and the Australia-ASEAN Informal Defence Ministers’ Meeting.
During the meetings, the Union Minister discussed the defence affairs of Myanmar and Rakhine issue.
The Tatmadaw also conducted training courses on preventive measures of child soldiers, security services in fires, evacuation of disaster-affected victims, renovation of monasteries and houses, health services for people and cash relief in rescue works during natural disasters such as fire, strong winds, floods and earthquakes.
The Tatmadaw also presented COVID-19 preventive supplies worth about K499.5 million to the People’s Republic of China, on 25 February 2020.
The Permanent Secretary and officials answered to the media questions about the businesses and financial management of Myanmar Economic Corporation and Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited, contribution of funds from property lease of MoD to the state revenue, actions against recruitment of child soldiers, possible contest of former Tatmadaw officers in the 2020 General Election, voting of Tatmadaw members and their family members, retirement of Union Minister Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, manufacturing and export of arms and ammunition by the Tatmadaw, return and management of confiscated lands to the original owners.
The Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry will organize press briefings on 24 June.—Han Myo Soe, K Tar (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo, Aung Khin)