Following is the excerpt of Speaker U T Khun Myat’s speech delivered at the International Democracy Day in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
U T Khun Myat, Speaker of both the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and Pyithu Hluttaw, first extended good wishes to attendees of the International Democracy Day event.
The attendees include the President, the State Counsellor, the Vice President and members of Union-level institutions, State/Regional Hluttaw Speakers, Hluttaw representatives, foreign ambassadors, officials from UN agencies, political parties, and local and foreign organizations, teachers, students, and invited guests.
The Speaker thanked the President and State Counsellor on behalf of the Hluttaws for delivering their addresses at the event in person. He said commemorations for Democracy Day had been in held in this Hluttaw compound in Nay Pyi Taw since 2011.
He said this was the ninth consecutive year Myanmar had celebrated the event and they have prepared to conduct it in accord with the year’s theme of ‘Participation’, designated by the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU). The entire world has also been celebrating Democracy Day since it was designated in 2007.
The Speaker said this event aimed to ingrain a better understanding of a democratic federal system and its nature among the citizens, support transitioning to a democratic society and establishing a genuine democratic federal republic, promoting youth inclusion in politics, and to display participation as a democratic member among the countries of the world.
The Speaker said holding International Democracy Day events allowed for revitalizing the motto, ‘Democracy is the affairs of the people’. He said this democratic system should be based on inclusion, equal treatment and participation. Democracy was an essential component of peace, sustainable development, human rights and other similar processes.
The Speaker said Article 21-3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government. He said this fact has been the driving force for drafting constitutions around the world. In addition, it also helped to cement global acceptance in democratic values and its fundamental principles.
The Speaker said true democracy was a two-way street, built on a constant dialogue between civil society and the political class. He said he believed constructive negotiations garner effective results for political decisions.
Speaker U T Khun Myat said the IPU would become 130 years old this year and has designated June 2019 to 2020 as ‘130 Years of Empowering Parliamentarians’ for parliaments across the globe. He said he assumed this motto was referring to the duties of the people’s representatives so that our path to democracy did not lose sight of its goal. He said it further served to illustrate the importance for the Hluttaws to have a solid foundation in order to carry out their duties of public representation, legislation, and providing checks and balance to the other pillars.
The Speaker said they have organized an exhibition for the IPU’s 130th anniversary at this event. He said it would give an account of a section in the IPU and Myanmar’s democratic history. He said it would allow people to see that only strong and capable parliaments could address the pressing modern day issues.
The Speaker said putting the democratic system into practice required building mutual trust, understanding and close friendly relations between each citizen while listening to the opinion of the majority and respecting the voice of the minorities, with the goal being to sustain the democratic system as it matures. He said the success of the democratic transition was the duty of the new generation and the whole population. The Speaker said the young generation need to take part in all sectors of national development for a democratic federal republic to emerge. He said we need to nurture young people from an early age to shape the nation’s image in line with a true democratic federal system. The Speaker said they have conducted contests for essay compositions, poems and art for International Democracy Day from the middle school level to the college level, so that the seeds of democracy would live on in the young generation. He said appropriate prizes would be given out in this event.
The Speaker thanked the Ministry of Education for organizing the contests, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture for organizing the entertainment programmes, and various other organizations for assisting in the event.
The Speaker concluded his speech by urging all the citizens of the country to unite in their collective strength to develop the nation into a democratic federal republic which was the aspiration of everyone. (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)