State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi meeting with local people in Panglong Yesterday. Photo: MNA
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in her capacity as Chairperson of the Rural Areas and National Races Development Central Committee, met with local residents in Panglong at the town’s Union Monument Garden yesterday afternoon.
Speaking at the meeting, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, “I hold public meetings everywhere I tour in the country. I read what my father said, including his many thoughts which came from different public meetings.
“In one of his speeches in 1947, before he was assassinated, he also said that his heart was filled with what he wanted to say to the public. First, I thought that he was young and might not live longer, so he could not say what he wanted. Now, I understand that his comment meant that our hearts are filled with thoughts for a country, when we can clearly see the country.
“Today, I want to talk about two issues. The first is the issue related to Union Day, and the other is about the knowledge and lessons I gained during public meetings nationwide, whenever I toured the country.
“I talked about the Union repeatedly. Our country is a Union, which is different from other countries which are not unions. We need unity and need to build strength through this unity. I repeatedly told the public that we need to nurture the spirit of the Union which accepts that we all are ethnic brethren of the Union.
“Some use the words “blood of the union”. In fact, blood is not important in this phrase. Ideology and conception are more important in the usage of Union. There are many Unions in the world, whilst non-Union countries. The prosperity being enjoyed by the world’s countries is not connected with the Union. A country’s prosperity depends on its people.
“If we have made a commitment to build a federal Union, we need to work hard and with zeal until we reach our goal.”
Hence, our road to the Union has not yet finished. It started in 1947. We have not yet made our Union strong even though the 20th century finished. There are many things to think about for each one of us. Have we really completed the task of building our Union?
Unity among us is more important than brethren relationship between us. Only when we have the same ambition in major issues, can we build unity among us. We need to have the same ambition of building a Union. But, we might not have the same way of how to build the Union, but we can negotiate it.
We need unity physically and mentally to build a Union. The United States of America is the most famous Union in the world. By the term Americans we do not mean the American Indians who settled there before 15 century. Now, Myanmar people who migrated to the United States can be citizens of the United States of America. The people who left Panglong for the United States of America might be the citizens of the US. The Union with different peoples, different religions and different languages is the most powerful and prosperous country in the world not because of its richness in natural resources. That’s the union.
Switzerland is a small Union. It is located among the powerful European countries and makes itself to become a prosperous country. We can see that the prosperity of a Union is not related with the country’s size nor richness in natural resources. Switzerland is not rich in natural resources. As what I said before, the development of a country depends on the spirit, unity and diligence of the peoples of that country.
If we really want to develop our Union, our thinking must lead to it. Thinking about just for an ethnic race is not workable. Only when we think about prosperity of the Union, can we bring prosperity to both individual ethnic race and the whole country.
Working just for own ethnic race cannot be considered a pride. We must consider prosperity for ourselves and for others at the same time. All ethnic people are residing in our Union and we must work hard to develop our Union.
We are working hard to amend the constitution. The reason why we want to amend the constitution is to build a genuine Democratic Federal Union.
Only when our Union becomes a genuine Democratic Federal Union can all ethnic nationalities enjoy security physically and mentally and prosperity brought by our unity. To bring about that, the National League for Democracy laid down the policy to work for that goal within the framework of the rule of law and peace.
We never considered choosing the way that could hurt the public. Self-centered attitude will not benefit the country. We are now gathering at Panglong. I have said in the morning that we should imagine the intention of our Union fathers while we are attending the Union Day.
They might have broad-mindedness. They might work in this attitude with courage. Big-hearted persons have courage. They had far-sightedness. Their courage could develop their firm determination. However, self-confidence is important for daring activities.
Establishing mutual trust is a frequent topic in negotiations with ethnic armed groups for ceasefire and building a Union. To get the trust of others, someone needs to trust on oneself. Similarly, someone who has trust on himself could trust others. Self-confidence can develop internal strength and capacity. They will not hesitate to share their confidence with others. Someone with enough resources could share his capacity. The needy persons will fear to share their possessions.
Therefore, it is important to build up self-confidence, and also believe that everybody has their own value. This value cannot be judged by money or academic certificates, but it could be determined by the benevolent efforts. It is one of the ideas on the Union.
I also like to talk about my public meetings. I want to make regular contact with common people. The government and people should keep in touch. However, it is not easy to have close contact of the government with the people, especially in countries like Myanmar.
It can simply be seen in the transportation sector. Rural people cannot easily meet with officials in the towns due to poor road networks. Therefore, it is difficult to build up unity and close relations between the common people and the administrative officials.
I am giving people chances to express their concerns. I gave answers to them. I also appreciate their active role at the meetings. However, some people are misusing these opportunities. The meetings are aimed for the welfare of local people. They could have better access to the government. In some cases, people from other areas raised aggressive questions. Some of their manners were undisciplined. We allowed questions by drawing lots. Such questions were allowed after the answers to the questions submitted earlier. Some persons made problems as they did not win in drawing lot. They have blamed on us for this. It is an undisciplined manner. It is not possible to answer all questions. It will not be practical to talk with over 52 million people of the country at the same time. We do our best for public meeting as I want to know the concerns of common people. Some are taking advantage from these meetings although they are not local residents. I frequently said not to focus on the self-interest, but on responsibility. Some people do not like my advice. Freedom and responsibility come together.
Someone who always hopes for privileges is not an independent person. They seem to be relying on others. Such persons expect the rights only from others without giving up. Responsibility is to serve for others. It is own value. I once talked about the United States. When the U.S people fought for their independence, they had a political slogan of ‘No taxation without representation’. Although they had to pay tax, the administration neglected their rights. And that they blamed their government for this negligence. Tax payers deserve their rights.
In developing countries, they used to insist on demanding their rights that they were dutiful citizens to pay tax, and that the government needed to consider their rights. Just taking one-sided privileges is not a good attitude.
Therefore, I will allow for questions. Although someone won the lot for questioning, I will first identify their residency whether a local or non-local. I will never allow pretending as the locals for questions. The rights must be claimed in the rules.
Through following rules and disciplines and the attitude of unselfishness, our country will surely develop. Individuals need to develop their own capacity for the prosperity of the country. We can take lessons in our surroundings, even from minor issues. I am concluding my speech to save the time although I have many issues to say.
So, develop union spirit, develop the attitude of decent citizens as the Union spirit is depending on unity and fairness. Moreover, a decent citizen practices fairness and justice. Fairness and responsibility are very important for the government and the citizens, organizations, political parties to become a developing, well-respected and valuable nation in the world.
“Our country encounters many challenges. I have no worry for this to be overcome. I’ll be satisfied if the tasks can be performed dutifully day by day. Each and every individual should bear this in their mind. They should do their responsibilities conscientiously day by day to develop our nation with a harmonious and balanced spirit according to rules and regulations. You all should work together to build a genuine democratic federal Union,” she added.
Afterwards, there followed a Q & A session. One of the pre-event questions, raised by U Ye Hlaing from Pyidaungsu Street, Ward (2), Panglong, was if a vocational school would be set up in Panglong; if Panglong town would be converted to Panglong Township; and if an existing 4230×12 feet tar road would be upgraded to a concrete one. Town elder U Sai Tun Oo from Laihka asked for the maintenance work of creek bank and dredging work along the Nam Teng Creek to be completed. Town elder U Sai Sai from Laihka also asked for the Nawng Peng-Wang Yang road (14 miles 2 furlongs) to be upgraded to a concrete road. U Htwet Lot from Wang Keng Village, Namhsan, queried if a stretch of 4 miles from the Kungkyaing-Bangheng Village to the Wangheng-Wangheng Village would be constructed as a concrete road. Hein Htike San company in-charge U Ko Ko Tun asked for a permit to be granted as fast as possible for opening a private bazaar under the agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation and the Hein Htike San Company. U Nay Zaw Naing from Namhsan asked for the extraction of water from the Loilem Loi-tawng to provide sufficient water supply to local residents in Namhsan as the Namlat Creek lacks water in late monsoon. Town elder U Ne Aung from Kunhing asked a garbage truck be provided for a clean and pleasant Karli Town. Town elder U Sai Phone Khoung from Kunhing also asked for their need to have a crematorium for a population of 9,742 residing in Kunhing Town and Wards. Kunhing town elder U Sai Nu asked for a service personnel housing to be built by the Urban and Housing Development Department in 2020-2021 fiscal year. U Sai Aung Tun from Minenaung raised the disagreements by local farmers on the land transfer to the No 2 Steel Factory (Pingpet) of the Ministry of Industry as the land includes their cultivating fields, traditional monasteries and schools, sports grounds, and village health centers. U Sai Kam Khaung from Mongshu asked for granting permission to re-open the gems mines according to the law as locals as well as others have no employment opportunities since its suspension after permit expiry in June 2019. Then, Union Ministers Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Dr Aung Thu, and U Ohn Win, state chief minister, ministers and officials explained the immediate and long-term measures to be executed and some matters to be carried out after review and scrutiny.
Then, three out of 24 asked questions in the hall. U Law Yone (a) U Sai Yi from Panglong No 1 Ward asked for a sports ground to be built for the Panglong youths. Daw San San Aye from Namhsan No 5 Village queried for electricity supply and for retired veterans to get back their farm lands. U Tin Khaing from Mongpan asked for the procurement of agricultural water for the farmers in Mongpan and for the government buildings under construction to be scrutinized for quality buildings. Next, three out of 10 asked questions outside the hall. U Tu Tu Aung from Namhsan No 10 Village asked for the removal of those who occupied the lands owned by the veterans. Daw Khin Mar Swe queried for the complaint to be resolved for a farmland. Ma Htay Kyi from Namhsan No (3) Ward asked to get back the confiscated farmlands in Yebawhaung Village. The State Counsellor explained the status of implementation for each matter.
The State Counsellor then said: “We have answered the questions. We have heard your proposals. We have great honour that you all can present, in freedom, your desires, your problems, and your worries. We regarded our government as a success that you all are raising your questions confidently and without any fear. Our next immediate duty is to help resolve and overcome the worries and problems of the people.
However, the people must take part in this task. Major problems and important measures of the State could not be solved completely without the people’s involvement as I said earlier again and again. Some said it’s the government job. If they’re saying so, it may turn to support dictatorship like whatever the government wanted to do and they would take their responsibilies unless you must take responsibility. Some proposed matters are thus the consequences of the irresponsibility. I can’t promise for 100 per cent but we will solve the matters raised as much as we can. It is convenient for all if we balance between us. If a person sits on two chairs it’s a problem for others because one chair should be suitable for one person.
Likewise, we should be disciplined ourselves. There should be justice among ourselves. We should encourage for the development of others. Thus I thank you all. I take pride in your sincerities for raising questions in freedom. I wish every success for you all and thank you,” she concluded.
Afterwards, the State Counsellor posed for a documentary photo with the ethnic nationals and children.
The State Counsellor left Panglong by helicopter and arrived in Taunggyi in the evening.—MNA (Translated by (GNLM)