My dear esteemed citizens,
On this auspicious New Year day I send these greetings to all esteemed citizens with blessings for your good health and well- being.
My dear esteemed citizens,
On the day I took my oath of office as President in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on 30th March 2018, I spoke about the three priority tasks of our Union Government. Furthermore, I have already spoken about the 11 tasks that needed to be carried out for the implementation of the above three priority tasks in my Myanmar New Year day message of last year.
As my New Year day message for this year, I report to you how much our Union Government has been able to achieve in the implementation of our goals during this third year.
Our Union Government has undertaken sector-wise reforms. If we were to show visible and tangible results you would see our successes to a certain extent in the area of preventing and combatting corruption, a chronic disease which has taken deep roots for many administrations. Our Union Government has been taking action against corruption in accordance with the law without favoring anyone with only the interest of the people and the country in our minds. We were able to establish branch offices of the Anti-corruption Commission in the regions/states and set up Corruption Prevention Units (CPUs) in the ministries.
With regard to combatting narcotic drugs, apart from the usual actions, we have initiated a special project by making it easy to report direct to the Office of the President. We have elevated the powers of the anti-narcotics police and on the other hand we have started using the reward and punishment system effectively. Because of this it may be seen that we have been more effective and successful.
Our ability to transfer the General Administration Department to the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government is also a significant reform measure because the GAD is an administrative organization that has daily contact with the people. This is because as our Union Government implements the reform measures it is necessary to begin our reform measures from the grass roots level and the GAD is one of the key departments.
We were able to give more agricultural loans than in previous years to improve the lives of farmers; at the same time efforts are being made to ensure that unnecessary obstacles and delays are eliminated in the settlement of land ownership cases. In the same way, in the case of lands which have been confiscated, to review these cases in accordance with State policies; to return lands which have been released to the original owners; and in the case of lands which cannot be released efforts are being made to ensure that reasonable compensation and settlement money are being given. You may all see that compared to previous years effective and expeditious actions are being taken.
The Union Legal Aid Board has been established and instructed to provide assistance and support to people in need of legal services who have been accused, detained, arrested, taken to court, sentenced, and imprisoned, namely poor and destitute people, children, women, elderly, people suffering from infectious diseases, migrant workers and displaced persons.
With regard to human rights, because of efforts being made to organize training courses and seminars, talks to create awareness and spread knowledge, translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from the Myanmar language to 10 ethnic languages, you may all see that we have been able to give more protection in cases of human rights abuses.
Furthermore, we have been able to preserve and record the traditions and culture of ethnic nationals which are on the verge of extinction, and to prevent the disappearance of their language and literature.
My dear esteemed citizens,
The amount of Foreign Direct Investment that have flowed into the country from 1st April of the 2016-2017 to 31st March of the 2018-2019 fiscal amounted to USD 15.99 billion for a total of (584) projects from 22 foreign countries. These projects have been reviewed and approved by the Myanmar Investment Commission during the three year period.
During a similar period, the Myanmar Investment Commission reviewed and approved (359) projects submitted by Myanmar nationals amounting to Kyats 7390.34 billion.
During the first six months period of April to September 2018, the rate of increase of our GDP was 6.5 per cent. During 2018, our country was able to meet all three indicators to be removed from the list of LDC (Least Developed Country) countries.
On the other hand we have imposed tighter administrative controls over departments that have lagged behind in the reform process. We have been making necessary changes to transform the judiciary into an impartial body depended upon by the people and well-respected by them. We built low-cost and affordable housing for the citizens. We have also been able to build housing for government employees to enable them to live in dignity after retirement. We raised the salaries and pensions of government employees to a reasonable amount. We are now giving out pensions using the Wave money mobile system. We were also able to raise the minimum wage of workers. We are making efforts to create more job opportunities within the country and at the same time creating job opportunities in foreign countries. We put in more efforts to protect our migrant workers working abroad and to ensure that they receive all their rights and entitlements. I have noted that measures have been taken for the safety and security of our migrant workers. I have also noted the implementation and emergence of more youth training schools, domestic science schools, and modern garment manufacturing schools. I have also noted rural vocational training schools and projects for training rural people for better paying jobs and obtaining clean drinking water.
We have been able to do more for providing electricity all over the country. We are able to build roads and bridges from east to west and north to south for ease of travel. We were able to upgrade roads and bridges according to each region. We were able to expand the territory for promoting tourism. These included granting visas using the E-visa system and upgrading of airports. We also accomplished projects for protection of river embankments and repair works for embankments. We are also implementing projects for the sustainable management of our natural resources and projects for reforestation. We opened vocational training courses in IDP camps. We also provided financial support to handicapped people. We were able to formulate and issue laws, by laws, regulations, procedures and rules for the efficient and proper use of public funds without wastage in places where they are needed. In cases where there had been lack of responsibility and accountability we have taken effective action. We can thus say that all these measures have been taken in the interests of the people and that to a certain extent there has been progress.
We were able to successfully convene the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong 3rd Session and sign agreements of fundamental principles for a total of (14) points, namely 4 in the political sector, 1 in the economic sector, 7 in the social sector and 2 in the land and natural environment sector.
Mindsets and beliefs that have become habitual for over half a century, habits that are difficult to get rid of, and ways of doing things which are now ingrained in the mind, in spite of obstacles and efforts to cause problems along the path of democratic transition, within this short period of time we may see visible signs of progress. These may be seen as the fruits of success born out of a common belief and commitment that exists between the Government and the people working together in trust and good spirits.
In spite of all these successes and progress, at the same time in the international arena we may see that we are facing and solving efforts to put pressure, hurl criticisms and condemnations, and efforts to take action against us with regard to the Rakhine state issue. We are also facing and solving problems such as security breaches in northern Rakhine, matters relating to repatriation, and internally displaced persons due to conflicts occurring in certain areas. We are also meeting these challenges and solving them. I wish to state that, in fact I regard these difficulties as good opportunities for us to nurture our collective strength.
No matter how many challenges, difficulties and crises our Union Government may have to face, we firmly believe that with the understanding, compassion, participation, and cooperation of the people we will successfully reach our goal of establishing a Democratic Federal Republic. I wish to remind the people to be careful not to fall into the trap of religious, racial and political conflicts. We should also be careful of incidents designed to divert our attention. I also want you all to be careful not to be affected and swayed by efforts to incite the people by making reprisals.
My dear esteemed citizens,
Our Union Government will not be satisfied and complacent about the successes and the fact that we are now on the path to success. As a government elected by the people, we will always keep the people’s interest foremost in our minds and continue with our work. Especially in certain sectors where the people have expressed their dissatisfaction because their expectations have not been met by the Union Government, we need to make a careful assessment and continue with our work. In doing this there is a saying which I have said before, “Let there be change without affecting stability”. We will continue our concerted and strenuous efforts by ensuring a well-formulated and effective path, with transparency, responsibility, and cooperation.
I wish to state with deep commitment that our Union Government will work strenuously with firm resolve, strong will, and unflagging zeal, by committing both our body and soul so that our people would be happy as they see their socio-economic life raised, and see with their own eyes the emergence of a modern and developed motherland which can stand tall in the world in dignity and glory.
At this auspicious time of the New Year, I send these good wishes as I conclude this message:
– May there be peace and prosperity in our country,
– May all citizens be blessed with good health and well-being,
– May all your good wishes be fulfilled,
– May all of you be able to participate and cooperate in the building of the Democratic Federal Republic in unity,
– May you all be able to cast aside the habits, beliefs, and theories of the old system and old era; and at this time of democratic transition full of opportunity and auspiciousness, may you all be able to choose together news ideas, new perspectives and new practices.
I thank you all.