State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with local people in Pyay and Thayawady in Bago Region in separate events yesterday and answered the questions raised by the local peoples.
The State Counsellor, accompanied by Union ministers U Min Thu, Dr. Aung Thu and Dr. Myint Htwe, left Nay Pyi Taw to Pyay by helicopter.
The State Counsellor was welcomed at the airport in Pyay by Bago Region Chief Minister U Win Thein, Bago Region Minister U Nyunt Shwe, Hluttaw representatives ethnic dance troupes and officials.
Before meeting with local people in Pyay, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and entourage went to the Sri Ksetra old city in motorcades and visited Sri Ksetra Museum.
She also visited cultural heritage sites in the Sri Ksetra old city and the 500-bed hospital in Pyay.
Speaking at the meeting with the people in Pyay, the State Counsellor said the reason why she met with the people in every region and state she visited was that the government want to hear the voices of the people and to reply the people what they want to know.
Speaking about opportunity and responsibility, the State Counsellor said she has been asking people wherever she has visited not to litter.
“Wherever I talk about the garbage issue, the attitudes to this issue are different. For example, at a meeting in Monywa, a citizen complained against the municipality for collecting garbage only when I come. So, I asked him if he put the blame on the municipality while littering wherever he wanted. The answer was not clear.”
“I want people to take both opportunity and responsible approach to issues. When you think others have a responsibility, you should ask yourself about yours.” “You have freedom of speech. You have the right to criticize officials from the administrative sector, in accordance with democratic rights. But, I think it is our responsibility to critically analyze ourselves first,” she said.
“People need to assume responsibility. Only then will the government elected by the people reach a situation where it can take full responsibility. Don’t forget the fact that all high-ranking officials in the government have been elected by the people.”
“I have told the responsible personnel in the executive sector not to forget the fact that they are being assigned duties because they have been elected by the people to the government.”
“The executive sector has two arms: the government elected by the people and the civil service. Civil servants must work in the interest of the country along with those elected to the government, who will come and go.”
“What I don’t want to hear from you is that you were okay with the previous government and are not okay with the incumbent government. If you did any wrong in the past, please stop today. Forget thinking about the past. To secure the future, we need to walk on the right path in the present.” The most important thing was whether it was beneficial or not. However, if the talk starts off with falsehood whatever follows wouldn’t be beneficial. Nothing good will come out of anything based on falsehood.
The question to be raised when we meet was whether it was beneficial for the country. If a person was not true to himself/herself, he/she wouldn’t be true to others. A person who was not truthful would not benefit the country. That was why it was important that the words of all, be it the government, public servant or the people must be truthful.
In some instances the matter was truthful and beneficial for the country so it must be said even if other persons or organisations may not be agreeable. In such cases it will depend on how the matter was spoken. We need to say such matters in a polite way. This will show the value of our country. The value of a country was judged by the way the citizens and people lived, acted, and spoke.
Our country faces numerous challenges. We have the capacity to change all challenges into opportunities. The most important ability in facing such challenges was unity. Only through unity can we overcome the obstacles and problems the country faces. Our country had been left behind for many numbers of years. But there’ll be no need for despair. We just need to strive harder. Prior to independence, my father said we’ll have to run when others walk. The situation now was the same. We’ll have to run when others walk.
Our country was in a dire need to run and we shouldn’t avoid the pain of running. We must have the courage to face this pain and make it something natural for us. In the same way if we want our country to occupy a dignified position among the world we must bear the hardships and put in best efforts daily. All must stand united hand in hand. As the challenges faced were the same for all and as all were in same boat, all need to be united toward reaching the shore we wanted to go. This was the spirit that all must have. All have the freedom and rights to speak up and raise questions. But don’t abuse these rights. Use it for the benefit of the people and the country. The most important would be to use it for the development of union spirit and this was my earnest request said the State Counsellor.
Afterwards, pre-submitted matters to the meeting covering allocation of fund from Union Government for Pyay Town beautification works, upgrading the Yupthit-Taungshwe road near South Nawin Dam in Paukkaung Township into an all-weather road along with the construction of two bridges and a box culvert, upgrading the road connecting Shwedaung Township Nyaungsaryay Village with Zigon Village Tract, Ayeyar Oo Village into a concrete road, upgrading the earth road connecting Padaung Township Htonebo and Akauk Taung and laying Paungde Township Paungde-Hmat Taing-Pauktaw all-weather asphalt road as well as matters raised by five locals outside the meeting hall and two locals inside the meeting hall were answered by Union Ministers, Region Chief Minister and officials while the State Counsellor provided additional explanations where necessary.
The matters raised by five locals outside the meeting hall were questions on entry to primary school teacher course, developing old towns in township development, Myitsone Dam, land confiscation in Shwedaung Township, constructing a sluice gate and maintenance of South Nawin Dam. The matter raised by two locals inside the meeting hall were questions on farmlands confiscated for Shwedaung Textile Mill and farmlands confiscated by Tatmadaw in Padaung Township.
Afterwards the State Counsellor said the our people’s problem were the same all over the country. All were on the same boat striving toward reaching the same goal.
It was understood that everyone wants to participate in the discussion and everything was done so that everything is fair for all. The wish was to give all equal opportunity but such equal opportunity couldn’t be measured accurately with a ruler.
There were no such things as being equal in everything. When providing fair share to all more need to be provided to those who were weak. This was being fair and we’ll do the best we can.
In the same way as remarked to other states and regions, the Region Government and members need to have more contact with the people. They need to conduct field visits down to the ward and village level, listen to the voices of the people and study the problems faced by the people said the State Counsellor in conclusion. After the meeting the State Counsellor took commemorative group photo with students who attended the meeting.
The State Counsellor and party then left Pyay by helicopters and reaches Thayawady where they were welcomed by Bago Region minister for agriculture, livestock and irrigation U Aung Zaw Naing, Hluttaw representatives, departmental officials and the local populace. There the State Counsellor attended a meeting with Hluttaw representatives, departmental officials, town elders and local populace in Thayawady Town, Saya San hall.
At the meeting the State Counsellor spoke of knowing the town folks as traditionally hardy and strong and of being active political. But the act of being politically active must be in a correct way. If the activity was in the wrong place, it wouldn’t benefit the country. All were urged to retain the good tradition of Thayawady by having a correct activity. The reason our people were waiting under the hot sun was because they want to hear our answers.
There must be connection between the people and the organisations that were responsible to govern the people. One must listen to another’s voice. One must be given the opportunity to explain. Sometime those who govern didn’t listen to the voices of the people. They may want to say do as we say. Sometime the people themselves never listen to what the government was saying. They say what they want and didn’t listen to the answer. Both side need not only listen to other but must have the will to listen. In the end, it all is based on the will. If there was a will, any problem could be overcome.
Earlier, we met with people in Pyay. Before meeting them we visited Sri Ksetra Museum and saw that we were established on this land historically. We were in existence on this land for thousands of years. Much thinking was needed on whether we’ll achieve peace in our country. In fact the majority of us could be traced back to this same place. If we look at where we’re same, we’ll be the same. If we look at the differences, we’ll be different. Even differences could be turned into strength. If we could truly use our differences as strength, we’ll go a long way. What one couldn’t do could be done by another. A situation one didn’t have would be had by another. Only when differences were combined can there be strength. I’m full confident that our country will develop fully. How fast or slow would depend on the people. It was not for a single person but for all and if it was good for all, it would be good for a person too. Fairness would be important. All must be fair toward others. There must be mutual understanding and respect. Mutual respect even existed between parents and their offspring.
It would be the same in the country. It was repeatedly said to look mainly at how much we can give. The country’s progress was very slow because some didn’t look at what they can give and only look at what they can get. This was in need of change. Whatever the difficulties there may be, our people had the basic ability to overcome it. We need to nurture and develop these abilities.
This was the main reason emphasis had been placed in health and education. Health develops the physical portion of the people while education develops the psychological portion of the people. When our people strive toward this, all need to participate. Government alone couldn’t do it. It wouldn’t be a democracy if only the government was relied upon. The belief in democracy was due to the fact that it was a system that values the people. Those who says they believe in democracy without valuing the people were not saying the truth. If the belief was in a system based on the people, it’ll also believe in the people.
Meeting with the people was implementing an important part of a democracy system. There must be a connection between the people and those who were responsible to govern them. Public servants also need to be in touch with the people. They must understand the challenges and problems faced by the people. The people also need to understand the challenges and problems faced by the public servants. All need to bear in mind that these problems were to be resolved together collectively.
The problems faced in this country were same in wherever part of the country. All need to bear in mind of being among ourselves. Be compassionate towards others. We want roads, electricity, health care, good school for education. There were many things that we want. But as the country was just picking up the momentum everyone’s wishes couldn’t be fulfilled at once. Priorities need to be drawn up and fulfilled.
For the government to determine projects to prioritize it must first look at it politically. Politically means whether it strengthen the existence of the union, strengthen the union spirit or unify the union. It also must be looked at from social and economic angles. But sometime economic calculation and political calculation does not come up the same. When this happens priority must be given toward which gave the most benefit to the country. Our ultimate and most important priority was on the existence and strengthening of the union.
Projects that support and promote the existence and strengthening of the union would be the most important projects for us. Some transport links were priorities. Why? Because only through good transport link could there be closeness between the people and become siblings. That’s why some roads were a priority for us. Once the roads were laid and electricity connected, undeveloped regions develop rapidly. It’ll create opportunities for locals to develop their economy. Once the road links, communications and electricity were good the locals will have the rights toward self-determination.
Due to weather condition, an emergency landing was made in Htamanthi while we were travelling by helicopter in Sagaing. A youth there raised a question about amending the Constitution. This youth certainly was politically minded. Anyone who was interested in the challenges faced by the country and considers it as their issues were true politicians. They were the people who were truly working for the good of the country. Therefore, may the people from Thayawady who had good political tradition become good politicians said the State Counsellor.
Afterwards, local people raised via letters the matter of upgrading a strategic road in Letpadan Township, constructing Ayeyawady River bridge to connect with Hinthada Township on the west bank of Ayeyawady River, constructing Monyo Township and Ayeyawady Region Myanaung Township circuit roads and river crossing bridge, asphalt surfacing of the remaining portion of 12 mile 5 furlong long Nattalin-Dhama Nge road in Nattalin Township, establishing a university in Thayawady District as there were about 4,000 students how passed the matriculation examinations yearly, conduct field survey on redeveloping Myitmakha creek to reduce flooding and inundation in six townships, five locals raised the matter of confiscating and fencing off a public pond and suing eight people, resolving the matter of lands worked on by people being confiscated by Thein Shwe Company, resolving the matter of Nattalin Township administrator U Than Hlaing and two private business persons U Zaw Lwin Oo and U Tun Tun forcefully confiscating land at a rate of K 10,000 per acre, farmers granted form 7 but not having land record map facing problems and thus to be issued form 105, Hinthada Township granted permission to provide ferry service while Letpadan Township not granted the same while both were separated by Ayeyawady River, and three locals outside the meeting raised the matter of investigating township administrator and Region Hluttaw representative who confiscated form 105 issued farmlands in Zigon Township back in the year 2014, coordinating with relevant departments to reduce traffic congestion in Thayawady, widening roads and removing railroad lands to make way to widen the roads and to provide fair and equal amount of budget for Thayawady District that had been provided with the least in Bago Region.
The matters raised were answered by a Union Minister, Region Chief Minister and departmental officials and State Counsellor provided additional explanations.
In conclusion, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the matters of land rights were noticed to be raised when she met with the people. When she started her political voyage in 1988, people demanded matters like potable water, road transport, electricity, education and health matters. Land matters pops up only after a Hluttaw made a decision in 2012. The decision of the Hluttaw was to return the illegally confiscated lands back to the former owners. But there was a clause added to it saying the lands must be those confiscated after 1988.
Resolving these matters was very difficult. The present owner didn’t want to release back the land so they draw out the matter in order not to return it. Second was in the inadequacy of the administration portion. There were corruption and being unable to do their works properly. Once there were contradictions and problems courts had to resolve it. There were matters in which the administrative portion was lacking. It was not easy to resolve everything. Vice President U Henry Van Thio was handling this matter in depth and there had been monthly progress. This was because we don’t want any conflicts among people to be prolonged.
Another thing was the importance of having a clear land rights for economic reason. Based on this, efforts were being made to resolve the farmland matters as quickly as possible not only for social stability but also for economic development. All need to assist in this. Those who had illegally confiscated the land should release it back instead of holding on to it. Efforts must be made from the administrative side. In order to resolve the problems faced by the people.
People should also participate toward resolving the issue rather than trying to find way of taking advantage. All need to understand that it would be good for all only when these problems were resolved.
Support will be provided toward weaknesses in the administrative portion. Cases will be handled to reach a swift conclusion and all need to participate in it said the State Counsellor.
After the meeting the State Counsellor took commemorative group photo with students in the Saya San Hall and departed by helicopters.
—MNA (Translated by AMS,Zaw Min)