Key challenges for Myanmar

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by rockey 71, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. rockey 71

    rockey 71 Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2015
    Messages:
    997
    Likes Received:
    321
    http://www.irinnews.org/report/102206/key-challenges-for-myanmar

    Key challenges for Myanmar

    By Jared Ferrie

    [​IMG]
    Photo: Kachin Baptist Convention
    Villagers displaced by fighting in Kachin State now live in makeshift shelters in the jungle
    BANGKOK, 11 November 2015 (IRIN) - Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party is headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar’s first reasonably free elections since a 1990 vote that the NLD won but the military ignored. Preliminary results show the NLD steamrolling the Union Solidarity and Development Party, which took power in a quasi-civilian government in 2011 after 49 years of military rule. The NLD is expected to surpass the 67 percent share of the vote needed to assure a parliamentary majority – unusually high because 25 percent of seats are reserved for unelected military officials.

    Even if the NLD dominates parliament, the military will retain an influential role, including control of the all-important ministries that oversee the security of the country. Aung San Suu Kyi is barred by the constitution from becoming president, even if she leads a parliament that would elect her to that role. The constitution prevents anyone with children or a spouse holding foreign passports from being president. Aung San Suu Kyi’s late husband was British, as are her two sons.

    “The Lady”, as she is known, has indicated she will make the decisions even if someone else has to be president. She has called for “national reconciliation” talks with the military. Since 2011, the generals have governed by proxy through the USDP, which is comprised mainly of former officers who retired to join the party. Although it’s not clear what exactly Aung San Suu Kyi has in mind when she calls for “reconciliation” with the military, she will need to forge a working relationship with the generals in order to address a host of issues facing the country.

    Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in Asia, and is riven by ethnic conflict and sectarian tensions. Here are the top humanitarian issues Myanmar’s new government will have to deal with:

    Statelessness
    • About a million Rohingya live in Myanmar and almost all of them have had their citizenship rights gradually stripped away. The Rohingya are an ethnic and religious minority of Muslims living in a Buddhist majority country. Despite having roots in Myanmar that go back generations, many consider them illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, including some government officials.
      See: Briefing: Myanmar’s “Rohingya” - what’s in a name?
    • The perception of the Rohingya as interlopers has fueled discrimination that has become entrenched in policy. The Rohingya live in apartheid-like conditions in western Rakhine State, confined to displacement camps and villages, with little access to healthcare or education.
      See: Unregistered IDPs in Myanmar’s Rakhine without aid
    • Rohingya voted in the 2010 election – which was marred by fraud – and Rohingya candidates were elected. Almost all were disenfranchised earlier this year.
      See: When Myanmar votes, Rohingya must stay home
    Human trafficking

    Displacement

    • About 140,000 people are living in displacement camps in Rakhine State after their homes were destroyed in violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya in 2012. Most of the victims were Rohingya who make up almost all of those who remain in displacement camps.
      See: Forced separation: life inside Myanmar's Rohingya and Buddhist camps
    • Fighting between government forces and ethnic armed groups has forced about 100,000 into displacement camps in Kachin and Shan states over the past four years. The United Nations says 6,000 people were displaced in northern Shan State in October alone, as the election campaign was going on.
      See: Hunger in the jungle as Myanmar blocks aid
    Refugees

    • About 120,000 people remain in refugee camps across the border in Thailand after fleeing decades of war. There is a push to return them to Myanmar, but the security situation remains uncertain and many areas are contaminated with landmines.
      See: Myanmar’s landmines hinder return of displaced
    Ethnic conflict

    • Myanmar has been riven by ethnic conflict since independence from Britain in 1948, and about two dozen ethnic armed groups operate today. The government signed a ceasefire agreement with eight ethnic armed groups on 15 October. But many of the most powerful ethnic armies refused to sign, while the government refused to allow others to take part in negotiations.
      See: Myanmar's ceasefire accord: progress or propaganda?
    • There is little trust in the peace process, as ethnic armed groups accuse the military of undermining negotiations by launching offensives. Aung San Suu Kyi may be able to build confidence, but it will be a balancing act between reaching out to ethnic armed groups, while maintaining a working relationship with the military.
      See: Myanmar ceasefire met with scepticism
    Corruption

    • Corruption became deeply entrenched over decades of isolation and autocratic rule by successive military governments. The unfettered rush to exploit Myanmar’s rich natural resources has fuelled ethnic conflict. Aung San Suu Kyi has campaigned on rule of law, which is desperately needed in Myanmar, not least to regulate the resources sector.
      See: Slideshow: Myanmar's conflict resources
     
  2.  
  3. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    5,524
    Likes Received:
    1,548
    Burma’s top general: ‘I am prepared to talk and answer and discuss’ with Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.

    Senior General Min Aung Hlaing of Burma addresses a news conference at the Defense Ministry in Naypyidaw in September. (Hla Hla Htay/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

    November 23 at 11:41 AM

    Lally Weymouth is a senior associate editor for The Washington Post.

    Aung San Suu Kyi’s next challenge after the landslide victory this month of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), is to convince Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the powerful commander in chief of Burma’s armed forces, to work with her. The constitution of Burma, also known as Myanmar, is set up to perpetuate the power of the military. “She has no choice but to work with him,” a senior U.S. diplomat said in Rangoon this week. Min Aung Hlaing granted The Post’s Lally Weymouth a rare interview in the capital city of Naypyidaw this week. Excerpts:

    Q. When will you meet with Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss the transfer of power?

    A. This coming December. When the electoral process is finished, we will meet.

    Are you willing to change Article 59F of your country’s constitution to allow Aung San Suu Kyi to become president after her tremendous victory?

    I can’t decide this alone. Under Chapter 12, the parliament must discuss any amendment to the constitution. I am not directly responsible for that.

    But would you favor that change? Twenty-five percent of the seats in the parliament are reserved for the military. Considering that she had such a huge victory, don’t you think it would be fair for Aung San Suu Kyi to become president?

    Our law is not [enacted] for a single person. Amendments must be done according to procedures.

    So you’re basically saying no, you won’t let her become president?

    I didn’t say no — this is according to the law.

    Don’t you have to work with Aung San Suu Kyi to make this country function?

    The important thing is the long-term national interest of our country.

    Do you think you can work with her?

    Why not?

    Do you trust her?

    If we have good results for our country, we can work together. There are so many ways to cooperate.

    Will it be difficult for you and Aung San Suu Kyi to compromise?

    If we have good results, things can be negotiated.

    Do you feel that more power should go to the civilian authority over time?

    If the country’s situation is stable, one day we will do what you are talking about.

    So if the country is stable, you will be willing to cede more power to the civilian government?

    Yes.

    What are the signposts of stability to you?

    Number one is the ethnic armed conflict — we need real and total peace in our country. Number two is the maturing of the multiparty democracy system. Third, we need better relations between the ethnics and the government.

    Only eight ethnic groups signed the cease-fire agreement with the government. Now you need the rest of the groups to sign on?

    Yes. The other groups need to be brought into the cease-fire.

    What do you think about the criticism of Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya?

    We do not allow the word Rohingya. They are Bengalis. These people are not our ethnics. They are not our nationalities. They are from Bangladesh.

    Would like to see the remaining U.S. sanctions lifted?

    Yes, it would be a good thing to lift the sanctions.

    I would like to go back to talking about Section 436 of your constitution, which says that in order to amend it, you need 75 percent of the parliament. The military has 25 percent of the votes, [which gives it] a blocking veto over any changes to the constitution. So after the large vote for the NLD, would you change this article to make it easier to amend the constitution?

    We — the armed forces — favor national politics, not partisan politics.

    We are not rigid on the constitution .  . . . We have already signed a nationwide cease-fire agreement. But we need a mature and stable political situation in our country. We need to gradually change. Right now we are not ready.

    What would you need to make you feel comfortable to turn more power over to the civilians?

    It would depend on the stability of our country and people understanding the practice of democracy. Some countries have faced problems as they become democracies.

    Are you referring to the Middle East and Arab Spring?

    The Middle Eastern countries are the worst example. We have only experienced democracy for a short time. To get good results for our country, you need to be patient. It is very difficult for us to have quick change in our country.

    Were you impressed by the way people turned out and voted on election day?

    I think the current government cannot fulfill people’s desires. Now that people have selected a person who they think can fulfill their needs, the next thing is for the elected person to fulfill their desires.

    When you talk to Aung San Suu Kyi, will you want to make sure you get amnesty for your troops?

    I have nothing to worry about.

    Of course you were not responsible for what happened years ago, but do you feel any regret for the pain and suffering that the military inflicted upon Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders?

    I was not responsible for that situation. It was because of the previous political situation.

    What are your red lines when it comes to negotiating with the new government? What are things you won’t budge on?

    I am prepared to talk and answer and discuss. No limits. She can have any topics and I will answer.

    But if she asks you to change Article 59F, what will you say?

    I will explain my opinion to her.

    Can you assure the international community that there will not be any military interference with the results of the election?

    Our election was free and fair. The president already agreed to the transition of government. This is the right thing, and we [plan to] follow our president.
     
  4. rockey 71

    rockey 71 Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2015
    Messages:
    997
    Likes Received:
    321
    We shall soon find out Aung San will really have no say in the affairs of the govt. Both she and the Junta are now remote-controlled by Washington DC. China is finding out Myanmar has been a bad investment.
     
  5. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    5,524
    Likes Received:
    1,548
    Here r my two cents ~~

    1) Suu Kyi and the Junta will be able to share power. NDP is going to nominate a figurehead as president, of whom Suu Kyi can be an handler. The junta also needs to showcase it honors the commitment to a democratic transition.

    2) No need to see anything through a prism of US China rivalry. China is an immediate neighbour and a deep-pocket going after opportunities. Whoever in power can't escape the geopolitical reality nor neglect which side of the bread is buttered.

    Suu Kyi is a mature pragmatist by now. China has a strong clout in its north. Cross-border ethnics certainly see which side of the border is propserous.



    ~~Still waters run deep. ~~from my MiPad using tapatalk
     
  6. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    5,524
    Likes Received:
    1,548
    Myanmar in graphics
    An unfinished peace

    [​IMG]

    ON FEBRUARY 12th 1947 General Aung San, the father of independent Burma, signed the Panglong agreement with representatives of the Shan, Chin and Kachin people—three of the largest of the many non-Burman ethnic groups that today make up about two-fifths of Myanmar’s population. The agreement said that an independent Kachin state was “desirable”, and promised “full autonomy in internal administration” to “Frontier Areas”, as today’s ethnic states were then known. Aung San was assassinated just over five months later. Under the 60 years of mostly military rule that followed, the spirit of the Panglong agreement has never been honoured. Many hope that the resounding victory of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party could revive the Panglong spirit.

    [​IMG]
    With all the optimism of the flourishing commercial capital of Yangon, where chic bars and restaurants are popping up, it is easy to forget that Myanmar remains embroiled in several of the world's longest-running civil wars. Over the years scores of ethnic militias have taken up arms against the central government. For six decades the Burmese army justified its repressive rule by saying it was essential to hold the country together. The outgoing government has signed ceasefires with many of the ethnic armies, but some have broken down. More than 20 years ago a ceasefire was agreed with the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army in the Kokang region of Shan state, yet ongoing fighting with that group has cost over 100 lives and displaced thousands of civilians, many of whom have fled across the border to China. The latest, signed to great fanfare on October 15th by President Thein Sein, a former general, included just eight of the 15 armed rebel groups. Among those that did not sign are the United Wa State Army, which operates on the border with China, and the Kachin Independence Army, the largest ethnic militia. Meanwhile, mob violence against Muslim Rohingyas that began in 2012 in the western state of Rakhine points to further conflict. Thousands have since fled by sea and overland, often aided (or kidnapped) by human traffickers.

    [​IMG]
    In recent years the government has pursued reform more than repression. In 2010 Aung Saan Suu Kyi, Aung San's daughter, was freed from years of house arrest. America lifted crippling sanctions against the country, and Barack Obama became the first sitting American president to visit Myanmar. Two years later, Miss Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party contested 44 of the 46 open seats. It won 43 of them; Miss Suu Kyi now sits in parliament in Naypyidaw. On November 8th, the NLD resoundingly defeated Mr Thein Sein's government, and will hold a majority in both houses when the new parliament convenes early next year. Though many NLD voters would like to see Ms Suu Kyi take the top job, she remains ineligible due to a constitutional provision barring those with foreign children from the top job (Miss Suu Kyi’s children are British—many believe the provision was written to keep her out of office).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Many complain that the pace of political reform that began in 2010 has slowed or even stalled. But that has not stopped foreign investment from flowing in: between 2010 and 2013 Myanmar’s foreign investment nearly tripled—a rate exceeding that of any other ASEAN country except the Philippines (though admittedly from a tiny base). It is not hard to see why. Myanmar sits between the markets of the two most populous countries in the world, China and India. Meanwhile, the workforce in neighbouring Thailand, a manufacturing powerhouse, is ageing and growing more expensive. Myanmar’s population of 51m is both young and cheap. The country abounds in natural resources, including gold, jade, timber, rubies, oil and natural gas. Yet many of those resources lie in territory controlled by ethnic armies. One more reason why many Burmese want peace.
     
  7. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    5,524
    Likes Received:
    1,548
    The Irrawaddy: Some see politics in Burmanization, suffrage for ethnic Chinese in N. Shan State – Lawi Weng
    Fri 25 Mar 2016

    An 11th hour decision by the outgoing Burmese government to grant citizenship to tens of thousands of ethnic Chinese living in northern Shan State’s Tarmoenye sub-township has raised eyebrows, with some questioning whether the move was politically motivated.

    A statement from Burma’s Immigration Department, dated March 11 but only posted online this week, announced that immigration authorities had granted full citizenship to members of the “Mong Wong” ethnic Chinese group in Tarmoenye, part of Kutkai Township, enabling them to vote and enjoy other rights previously withheld.

    Why and how these people were afforded full citizenship are questions that will no doubt be of interest to an untold number of ethnic Chinese across Burma who have been afforded no such privilege and remain holders of second-tier citizenship or none at all. Others including Palaung, one of the region’s predominant ethnic groups, say the move by the outgoing administration was a cynical attempt to secure future votes for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), of which President Thein Sein is chairman.

    Under Burma’s 1982 Citizenship Law, the group will be re-categorized as “Mong Wong Burman” and granted the pink-colored ID cards that confer full citizenship, after previously being identified as “Mong Wong Chinese” on temporary identity documents commonly known as white cards.

    Ruled by the military for five decades, Burma through the years has denied full citizenship to those of Chinese ancestry and other ethnic or religious groups, including Hindus and Muslims, who were born in, and in many cases have never left, the country.

    But the move to enfranchise what the Immigration Department statement said amounted to some 60,000 people in Tarmoenye is being called into question by some.

    “There is nothing about them related to our ethnicity. They are Chinese, how did they become ethnic Burman?” said Aik Moon, a Ta’ang National Party state lawmaker from Tarmoenye.

    “They have a different way of living, and some even only speak Chinese. How can they be a Burmese ethnicity? But we do not have power to do anything,” he added.

    Myint Kyaing, who is head of the Immigration Department, told the 7Day daily newspaper that the president had the right, as enshrined in the 1982 Citizenship Law, to grant citizenship in cases deemed beneficial to the country.

    Sai Maung Tin, a former Upper House lawmaker representing northern Shan State for the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), said the government had erred in not consulting other ethnic groups in the area before deciding to offer citizenship to the Mong Wong.

    “They used to stay under our Shan saopha,” he said, referring to Shan chieftains of the past, who ruled over fiefdoms in Burma’s east and northeast. “They were Chinese, but one type of ethnic [presence] within our Shan [fiefdom]. For me, I feel that they should have the right to citizenship. However, it would have been better for the government to talk to our Shan before making this decision.”

    “The government has made this case more controversial now,” Sai Maung Tin added.

    Thein Sein’s government, which will leave office at the end of this month, is not the first to show favor toward the Mong Wong. According to the Immigration Department statement, “the heads of State of successive periods recognized the cooperation of [Mong Wong] Bamar ethnic for national security,” and in 1998 former junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe ordered that the group be recognized as a subgroup under the ethnic Burman majority.

    Two “widescale” referendums were held later that year in which the new categorization was “heartily accepted,” the statement claims.

    It goes on to state that through an apparent combination of administrative mismanagement and poor communication, the group was never properly granted full citizenship, resulting in only 620 out of “some 60,000 eligible Tar Moe Nye region [Mong Wong] Bamar voters having suffrage in the 2015 election.”

    It was that vote in Kutkai Township that saw USDP lawmaker Myint Lwin re-elected to the Shan State legislature. Also known as Wang Guoda, Myint Lwin is said to have had close ties to Than Shwe and former spy chief Gen. Khin Nyunt dating back to the 1980s, when he reportedly helped the junta in its fight against the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) along the Sino-Burmese border.

    To this day, Myint Lwin commands a Mong Wong militia known as Mung Nye or Ta Moe Nye, and reportedly has significant business interests in Shan State.

    “He often asked General Than Shwe to recognize his Chinese people for Burmese citizenship. He asked my father-in-law for advice on how to write letters to be sent to General Than Shwe [requesting citizenship],” said Aik Moon, who explained that his father-in-law used to work at a company owned by Myint Lwin.

    Over the years, Mong Wong Chinese have proven a reliable ally to the central government in an unstable region—northern Shan State but extending also to Kachin State and the Kokang Special Region—beset by ethnic conflict, guns and drugs.

    Myint Lwin’s pro-government militia is estimated to be about 100-men strong.

    Mai Aike Kyaw, a spokesman for the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), said offering full citizenship could be interpreted as an attempt to ensure allegiance in the volatile region.

    “There are different ethnic groups active in the region. Our armed group [TNLA] is active in the area. They [the Burma Army] have to work with militias on the ground. They have army bases in Tarmoenye and Kutkai through working together with those militia,” said Mai Aike Kyaw, whose TNLA is involved in ongoing conflict with the Burma Army.

    Link: http://www.irrawaddy.com/burma/see-politics-burmanization-suffrage-ethnic-chinese-n-shan-state.html
     
  8. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    5,524
    Likes Received:
    1,548
    China firm wins Myanmar approval for $3 bln refinery

    [​IMG]
    Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, right, holds a press conference with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Naypyidaw on Tuesday. (Photo: Htet Naing Zaw / The Irrawaddy)

    BEIJING, April 5 Chinese state-controlled commodity trader Guangdong Zhenrong Energy Co has won approval from the Myanmar government to build a long-planned $3 billion refinery in the Southeast Asian nation in partnership with local parties including the energy ministry, company executives said on Tuesday.

    The project, which also includes an oil terminal, storage and distribution facilities, would be one of the largest foreign investments in decades in Myanmar. Myanmar currently imports most of its fuel.

    The Myanmar Investment Committee granted the Chinese firm approval to build a 100,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery in the southeast coastal city of Dawei, Li Hui, a vice president of Guangdong Zhenrong and head of the company's refining business, told Reuters.

    The Chinese firm will hold 70 percent of the project, and the remaining 30 percent shared by three Myanmar firms - military-linked Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited, Myanmar Petrochemical Corp, an entity affiliated with the country's energy ministry and Yangon Engineering Group, controlled by privately-run HTOO Group of Companies, Li said.

    [​IMG]
     
    rockey 71 likes this.

Share This Page