Chin MP Co-sponsorship of Anti-KIA Motion Draws Criticism
3 June 2001: A motion seeking to denounce the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) at the Sagaing Region Parliament special session was approved on Thursday for further discussion. But the co-sponsorship of the motion by an ethnic Chin parliamentarian has drawn criticism from within the ranks of his own party and outside.
The Friday edition of the official state newspaper The New Light of Myanmar cited a motion tabled by U Sang Maung of Htigyaing Township Constituency No. 2 denouncing “the activities of Kachin State-based KIA for hindering regional development projects of Kachin State, disturbing the tasks, threatening and disturbing Chinese personnel of hydropower projects and kidnapping departmental personnel of the state and civilians.”
The motion was seconded by Pu No Than Kap, the Chin national race representative to the Sagaing Region Parliament, who is also the Chairman of the Chin Progressive Party (CPP), one of the two leading ethnic Chin parties that contested the 2010 elections.
The co-sponsorship of the anti-KIA motion by an ethnic Chin MP has raised eyebrows among some ethnic parties, who see it as a dangerous precedent for undermining ethnic solidarity. “What happened with you Chins?” was a common question raised by several ethnic parties after the proceedings of the Sagaing Region Parliament or Hluttaw were published in the New Light of Myanmar, according to one ethnic Chin political leader.
Similar motions were tabled in other local assemblies, including the Kachin State and Shan State Parliament, the instruction of which is widely believed to have come from the Union administration in Naypyidaw in order to use regional parliaments for blaming the Kachin rebels for the recent hostilities in northern Burma.
Some leading members of the CPP are also said to be ‘displeased’ by their leader’s co-sponsorship of the motion. An inside source said that the local Chairman of the CPP – who was instrumental in the election of No Than Kap from Kalay Township – has threatened to resign in frustration, though it is unclear whether that is directly related to the co-sponsorship controversy.
One June 9, new fighting broke out between the Burma Army and KIA after the Burma Army made advances on the KIA strongholds. The fighting forced thousands of civilians to flee within a matter of days.
Before his rise to the post-2010 Burmese political scene, Pu No Than Kap was a leader of the Chin National Front (CNF) in late 1988, whose armed wing the Chin National Army (CNA) was trained and equiped by the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) in the late 1980s.
He returned to Burma, having been deposed from the CNF in late 1992, and ran various sectors of business, including a lucrative gem industry and later a Christian seminary in Rangoon. He become the leader of the Chin Progressive Party (CPP) and was elected as a member of Sagaing Regional Parliament in the November 2010 elections in Burma.