Monday, April 2, 2012

Which Ministry Daw Suu’s Gonna Get?

(Translation of Min Htin’s article “Which ministry Daw Suu’s gonna get?”)

Daw Suu celebrating her by-election victory.
In this world of nations there are two major groupings, namely the West group led by the Americans and the East group led by the Chinese and Russians, competing in political and economic and military fronts.

Geographically our Burma is situated in the East group’s territories and we also have a long common-border with China. The obvious result for ages has been that our successive leaders have consistently practiced the policies leaning towards East instead of a balance policy between the East and West.

No one can deny the obvious conclusion that we are in the present state of limbo as a result of not getting along with the West. Trade and Financial Sanctions imposed unilaterally by the West are the undeniable evidence.

Since from the beginning over a year ago the president U Thein Sein’s government has been following the policies favouring both West and East after abandoning previous practices. But we all know that the present government is still in good relationship with the East group countries while the West group countries are still supporting the significant opposition groups led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Re-balancing the Union Parliament

We can also see that our elected parliament is basically out-of-balance since its majority is from the ruling USDP while the opposition including Daw Suu supported by the West are out of the parliament. So to achieve the necessary balance in the parliament both reformist President and turning-moderate Daw Suu have been trying hard to bring Daw Suu herself and her group  into the present parliament.

That’s why our government has been accommodating many compromises by amending various laws, and our parliamentary leaders U Khin Aung Myint and  Thura U Shwe Mann have been frequently talking about welcoming Daw Suu into the parliament.

Daw Suu herself has also softened her hard-line position considerably by choosing to enter this by-election and becoming an elected representative. We can easily see that she has faced many difficulties by accommodating that compromise with the government (as it is a huge U-turn for her and her party NLD from rejecting even the 2008 constitution as a sham to recognizing the same constitution and vigorously contesting in this by-election).

The main aim for both sides has been to get Daw Suu’s forces into the parliament so that it will be in-balance again. Clever citizens of our nation and all the public servants should understand that main point. That’s why both international countries and the regional countries have been saying this by-election is an important milestone for our country.

Meanwhile, the question we have to ask ourselves is that this by-election is for only 48 seats of the more than 600 seats parliament and even if Daw Suu and her people were elected her small group wouldn’t be sufficient enough for rebalancing the parliament?

Two super-women met in Rangoon.
The answer is quite simple. Everybody knows the obvious fact that Daw Suu’s influence is equal to or more than many other parliament members all together. I am not saying that just because I have very low opinion of the present members of parliament. Daw Suu’s overwhelming influence is a reality we have to accept.

So I believe our country’s future is bright if the government can provide a powerful place for her in the government and if, this is a big if, Daw Suu also accepts that government’s accommodation.

One thought coming into my mind is that for not only Daw Suu to be in the government the place given to her must be a key position acceptable to both Daw Suu and International community (akin to a power-sharing option).

So the urgent hypothetical question is which position Daw Suu’s goona get if she accepts the government offer if they ever offer one after she won this by-election?

Daw Suu the Minister?

Daw Suu and President U Thein Sein.
Our government wouldn’t naturally remove a present minister only to give his ministry to Daw Suu! To create a new ministry especially for Daw Suu also is problematic as the presently hyperactive parliament in the mood of vigorously cutting the government budget may not approve that expensive option. (That is Burma’s nascent democracy where the newly-elected members are immensely enjoying their newfound powers over the government.)

So how about giving her a ministry from a present minister who is having more than one ministry in his portfolio? Minister U Kyaw San has Information and Culture, U Tint San has Sports and Tourism, U Aung Kyi has Labour and Welfare, and U Soe Thein has Industry and Industrial Development.

Could this government be too ignorant about the possibility of Daw Suu coming into the parliament? It couldn’t be. They must have been thinking about it from the very beginning. They must be! This sort of business couldn’t be done impulsively. It has to be planned ahead.

So when I look into the new ministries formed under this government I found the Ministry for Industrial Development. Then I realized that by establishing this totally new ministry, while Burma already has had two Industry ministries (Industry-1 for light and medium manufacturing and Industry-2 for heavy manufacturing) for many years since Ne Win’s Socialist rule, our government might be planning something for this occasion.

It is as if the government had been preparing a brand-new but important ministry for Daw Suu once she changed her mind and joined them as a gesture of national reconciliation. The obvious fact for that assumption is that the Industry Development ministry at present is nothing more than a group of public servants with no budget and nothing to do. It is just a federal level institution as it hasn’t even had the organizational set-ups at the lower divisional and state levels.

The major obstacle in that offer is that Daw Suu will never accept it as just a ministry for industry development and her international supporters will not accept it as a significant power-sharing step as that position will not make Daw Suu a key player in the government.

But if the government changes the name of that ministry to something like the Ministry for National Economic and Industrial development, once Daw Suu takes over, it will be much closer to international community’s acceptance.

A Super Ministry only for Daw Suu

Daw Suu at the National  Development Workshop.
More better is if that ministry is upgraded into a Super Ministry controlling other key ministries such as Commerce and Industry and National Economic Planning. Then Daw Suu will become a key player and at the same time government is not really giving in wholly to Daw Suu as its own ministers are still controlling these ministries. It definitely is a win-win situation for both sides.

The day Daw Suu becoming a key player in the development of nation’s economy and industries could even become the day the West will remove their sanctions against our country. Then the international investment will pour into our country and we will get out of this stranglehold called total reliance on China alone and our little country now left far behind by the modern developed world will surely be modernizing at much faster speed.

That’s why our wise president has had a big plan for Daw Suu’s arrival to the parliament and he has submitted a proper budget for the Industry development ministry like any other ministries in his government. He even got into a trouble when the stupid parliament, without knowing his plan as he couldn’t really tell the parliament his real plan in advance legally, cut the budget for that ministry.

Anyway, the main purpose for this article is that we shouldn’t be dividing among ourselves as the followers of NLD or USDP or the Military; we also definitely shouldn’t be putting ourselves in either Father’s Gang or Mother’s Gang as if we altogether follow both father U Thein Sein and mother Daw Suu I am absolutely so sure that in next four five ten years time if anyone asks me where are you from I can say “I am from Burma” with pride. 


                                            (Daw Suu's By-election Victory Speech in English)