Ministers for national races affairs to liaise directly with Union govt
18 February 2014: President Thein Sein promised that ministers for national races affairs will be able to communicate directly with the Union government of Burma to work for the people.
He indicated during his recent exclusive meeting with them that they could work closely with President’s Office Minister Hla Tun, Border Affairs Minister Lt. Gn. Thet Naing Win, and Livestock Breeding, Fisheries and Rural Development Minister Ohn Myint.
Three Chief Ministers for Chin Affairs Salai Ko Ko Naing from Arakan State, No Than Kap from Sagaing, and Salai Hla Tun from Magwe Regions also attended the meeting held at the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw last Tuesday.
No Than Kap said: “We, Chief Ministers for Chin Affairs, don’t have to go through State/Region government or State/Region Chief Minister but will be able to keep in direct contact with Union ministers regarding our work including development and other issues.”
“They [Union ministers] will provide necessary responses and assistance to our proposals and needs,” added the Sagaing Chin Affairs Minister.
According to the President’s Office website, Thein Sein said that he had invited ministers for national races affairs to the meeting for making ‘collaborative efforts in implementing the political, economic and administrative reform process’ in the country.
Some say that the meeting was mere window dressing displaying a ‘fake’ unity while others wonder if this is likely to work in reality to benefit the people.
During his speech at the Chin National Conference in Hakha late last year, Salai Ko Ko Naing said that their roles as Ministers for National Races Affairs is symbolic when it comes to dealing with authority, adding critically: “Working for the people by word, not by action, is impractical.”
In Burma, there are 29 National Affairs Ministers, comprising 1 in Arakan, 4 in Kachin, 3 in Karen, 1 in Karenni, 3 in Mon, and 7 in Shan States, and 2 in Irrawaddy, 1 in Magwe, 1 in Mandalay, 1 in Pegu, 2 in Rangoon, 2 in Sagaing, and 1 in Tenasserim Regions.#