Burma’s MPs need to be strengthened to make voices
NEW DELHI, 30 September 2013 – MPs and activists from Burma held a discussion in Delhi on 20 September with Chin students, social activists, research scholars and some journalists from the Northeast India.
Chin MP Zam Cin Pau, aka Zozam, Chairman of the Chin National Party (CNP), said the 30-month-old democracy in Burma is not into a good shape yet, and the representatives of the people – MPs – who were elected in the last election, neither have power nor function empowered by the central government.
He said many MPs, thus, remained a mute spectator in the Burmese parliament where the highest decision took place.
“I am not happy to be an MP, who doesn’t have any work to do. Many of the MPs are faithfully napping in the arms of the higher authorities. If there is no free and fair election next year, I won’t contest in the election,” said Mr. Zo Zam.
The Chin MP was together with Dr. Aye Maung, MP from Sittwe, Rakhine State; Mr. Isaac Khen, Executive Director of the Gender and Development Initiative, Burma, and Ms. Ei Ei Toe Lwin, Senior Reporter of The Myanmar Times.
Speaking on a humanitarian ground, Mr. Khen, a Chin activist, pointed out three suggestions putting a stress on strengthening the relationship between Burma-based ethnic groups and the Northeast Indians regardless of geographical boundaries to share their commonality.
Mr. Khen urged the Chin students to return to Burma, saying: “We need you. It’s very important that ethnic minorities get involved in the mainstream politics.
He also urged the Naga brothers and sisters in Nagaland State of India to do something for the Nagas in Burma, who are isolated from the mainstream due to geographical locations.
To the northeast Indian brothers, Mr. Zo Zam said: “If the Northeast MPs are united, you can have a Prime Minister from the Northeast regions.”
Elaborating on the establishment of the Federal Union Party (FUP), a coalition of 16 ethnic political parties, he said: “We have to keep aside from the one-sided Burmese government. We are also looking forward and trying our level best to include other Burmese parties, too.”
Formed on the basis of a common ground of federalism, FUP has become one of the biggest parties alongside the government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National League for Democracy (NLD).
“Young men can play a new game, but old man can’t. If you have a big mind, you can build a big nation,” Mr. Zo Zam told the Chin students as he advised them to read more books on great people and learn good ideas from them.
In response to a question asked, he said: “I am the poorest MP. My salary is nearly $200 in a month. Many of the MPs are incapable. I pick up English from the streets.”
To this, Mr. Khen also said the MPs in Burma are paralyzed with limited powers of do’s and don’ts in the broken parliament, adding: “How much the godfather allows the MP to exercise their power, is what the MPs have to accept.”
On the airstrike by Burma’s government against the Kachin rebels earlier this year, Mr. Zo Zam said he told his seniors and higher authorities saying: “Kachins are our brothers and sisters.Why did you fight them with airstrikes? We only need a political dialogue.”
“Even my minister warned me while I was studying a mining course in Germany years ago not to meet with the South Americans, Solidarity Movement Campaigners, and Green Peace Activists.”
In Burma, President Thein Sein is reported to be ‘not preparing’ to contest in the 2015 presidential election. On the other hand, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is eying for the next president.
Come November 2014, it would be a significant day in the history of Burma where the countrymen will franchise their rights to elect their choice if the election is held free and fair.
At the event, Mr. Siang Ceu, President of the Chin Students’ Union, Delhi briefly narrated on how CSU was formed. He said the union was formed back in 1946 but in a different name as Rangoon University Hill Chin Students’ Union. Some exiled students from Myanmar after the 8888 uprising revived the Union in Delhi in 1995.
The discussion organised by the Burma Centre Delhi (BCD) was held in Nagaland House, New Delhi where Dr. Alana Golmei, Coordinator of BCD addressed the welcome message.#