Disappointment over Shwe Mann’s meeting schedules in Chin State
19 November 2013: Christian and community leaders as well as officials of some government departments expressed their disappointment over the last-minute cancellation of meetings with Thura Shwe Mann.
The Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw called off his ‘arranged’ schedules to meet with Chin Christian leaders, and to visit government departments and Buddhist monasteries in Hakha minutes before he had left reportedly for Mindat.
Sources from Hakha said that dozens of Chin pastors and community leaders had prepared and were ready around 7am in the morning on Monday as they were informed that Thura Shwe Mann would like to meet them.
“We are glad that he visited us in Chin State. As a leader, he ought to have kept his promises to the people. We would like him to demonstrate more actions than words,” complained one of the Hakha community leaders.
Employees of some government departments and Buddhist monks were also claimed to have been displeased with the sudden change by Thura Shwe Mann, Chairman of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
During his two-day trip to Kalaymyo of Sagaing Region, Tedim and Hakha towns of Chin State, he held meetings with government ministers, officials, parliamentarians, and leaders of civil society organizations and town-elders last Saturday and Sunday respectively.
A Hakha resident told Chinland Guardian: “He held a meeting in Tedim in the morning on Sunday and arrived in Hakha in the afternoon. Although it was in the afternoon, some Christians were not able to attend their church services because preparations had to be done in advance.”
According to the New Light of Myanmar, Mr. Speaker addressed the meetings saying that he had heard the voices of the local people and had vowed to take care of all their reports made to him.
One of the participants from Thantlang was quoted as saying that he had no trust or hope that their requests would be fulfilled although the Speaker made promises.
Accompanying Thura Shwe Mann and wife Daw Khin Lay Thet, Dr. Khin Shwe, Chairman for the National Development Group of Companies, donated 10,000,000 Kyats for school charities, and another 13,300,000 Kyats for victims of landslide-hit villages in Falam township.
Related to Mr. Speaker through the marriage of his daughter to his son, business tycoon Dr. Khin Shwe is Chairman of the Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Association, and Head of Sasana Nogghaha, a religious organization supported by Burma’s government.
The Burmese edition of the New Light of Myanmar said that the Ministry of Border Affairs also made a total donation of 50,000,000 Kyats for rural development in Chin State during Shwe Mann’s visit.
However, detailed information as to who received the donations and how they would be used remains unavailable, prompting concerns that they might be spent for funding the Na Ta La schools where Christian students are coerced to convert to Buddhism.
Thura Shwe Mann, 66, made his first visit as the Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw to Chin State, arriving in Tedim and Hakha on Sunday, and reportedly continued on to Mindat in the southern part on Monday.#