RANGOON — Burmese President Thein Sein’s administration on Thursday reshuffled its cabinet in a move that appears relatively minor compared with a shakeup last year that saw the information minister canned and four new ministerial-level posts created within the President’s Office.
According to the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper, four Union ministers and 10 deputy ministers have been reshuffled, while another two deputy ministers have voluntarily resigned.
At the Union level, ministers from the Energy, Industry, Labor, Employment and Social Security, and Rail Transportation ministries have been reshuffled.
Deputy ministers from the President’s Office Ministry (1), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security, and Ministry of Rail Transportation, as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology, have also been reshuffled.
The ministries of Health and Border Affairs have seen changes to their deputy ministerial posts.
Deputy ministers from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Rail Transportation have been allowed to resign of their own volition, the newspaper reported.
The cabinet reshuffle announcement also said the deputy chief of the Myanmar Police Force, Brig-Gen Zaw Win, has been promoted to chief of the Myanmar Police Force. He replaces Brig-Gen Kyaw Kyaw Tun, who will continue to serve in his capacity as deputy home affairs minister.
Thursday’s reshuffle was the first cabinet shakeup this year, and the reason for the changes was not disclosed by Thein Sein’s administration, which has rarely felt the need to offer the public an explanation when it comes to high-level reshuffles.
In last year’s cabinet shakeup, Thein Sein added scholars and technocrats as deputies to some ministries in his administration. The reshuffle on Thursday saw the appointment of the rector of Rangoon’s Institute of Economics as deputy minister for education. Still, the number of cabinet members with military backgrounds among those newly appointed remains a mystery.
Maung Aung Myoe, a Burmese security scholar and author of “Building the Tatmadaw: Myanmar Armed Forces Since 1948,” said via Facebook that among cabinet members prior to Thursday’s reshuffle—comprised of 93 ministers and deputy ministers—51 held military backgrounds.