‘Third Phase of Reform’ Tackles Govt Corruption, President Says

Burma’s President Thein Sein on Wednesday addressed a cabinet meeting in Naypyidaw during which he announced a “third phase of reform” aimed at tackling government corruption. (Photo: President’s Office website)

Burma’s President Thein Sein on Wednesday addressed a cabinet meeting in Naypyidaw during which he announced a “third phase of reform” aimed at tackling government corruption. (Photo: President’s Office website)

RANGOON—In a speech broadcast nationwide, Burma’s President Thein Sein on Wednesday announced “a third phase of reform” that would tackle long-standing corruption within the government. He strongly criticized officials who operated without transparency and urged them “to avoid corruption to make way for good governance.”

In his speech to cabinet members, including union ministers, chief ministers of regional states and divisions and heads of government departments, Thein Sein said that corruption persisted among government officials and should be stamped out.

“We’ve found out that departments at various levels of [government] don’t listen to people’s voices and there’s no transparency in what they are doing,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “So, reforms are needed from the grassroots to the union [national] levels.”

“Reforms in management of governmental organizations will be carried out as the third phase of our reform strategy for the development of the country,” the president said in the speech, which was broadcast live on national television and radio.

The first phase of Burma’s far-reaching changes focuses on political reform and national reconciliation, while the second reform phase deals with improving the nation’s economy, Thein Sein said, adding that the third phase would now commence.

“Good governance is still very weak in Myanmar, according to international standards,” he said. “To get achievement in our implementation, management of governing mechanisms must be effective.”

He called on officials “to avoid corruption to make way for good governance and ask for public collaboration in fighting against dishonesty.”

The president’s remarks offered a rare acknowledgement of government corruption in Burma—something that would have been unthinkable under the previous military regime.

His speech, however, did not outline any specific punishment for corrupt officials or a detailed action plan for reducing government corruption.

Since he took office 19 months ago, the former general turned reformist president has introduced measures to strengthen democracy and the economy, setting policies on politics and public-centered socioeconomic reforms.

On Wednesday he also highlighted some economic policy measures taken this year, such as the introduction of an open foreign currency exchange policy, the new foreign investment law and the relaxation of trade regulations.

The president admitted, however, that the country’s socioeconomic conditions are far behind those of other Southeast Asian countries, adding that only carefully planned policies and project could lift the country to a higher living standard.

“I want to urge you to try to have a tangible improvement in our people’s economy from now on,” he said, adding that the global economic downturn had stifled the pace of economic growth in Burma, while the country was also waiting for the lifting of remaining economic sanctions.

4 Responses to ‘Third Phase of Reform’ Tackles Govt Corruption, President Says

  1. Money and Corruption are ruining the land.
    Crooked politicians betray the working man.
    Pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep.
    Now we’re tired of hearing promises that we know they’ll never keep.

  2. First phase: reconciliation between ASSK and Thein Sein. Elites only. No gate crashers please. The rest can scream and shout in the streets until they go blue in the face or the police cart them off under Article 505, or stick to the jungles before being driven out of their homelands.

    Second phase: the economy ‘warmly welcomes’ foreigners to exploit and extract in partnership with the UMEHL and the cronies. Elites only. The rest is expected to show gratitude to be driven out of their farm land/homes and become wage slaves. Hobson’s choice will be enforced by ‘rule of law’ presided over by the chief poacher turned game keeper.

    Third phase: corruption to be dealt with by the Mafia in charge of the bureaucracy and security forces. Some fall guys will be made an example. Past offences by the ruling elite/top brass/UMEHL not applicable as in the case of war crimes, repression or many and varied atrocities committed by the same.

    Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu. Amen. إن شاء الله

  3. It is not surprising that Myanmar/Burma is still among the most corrupted countries in the world ….corruption is still rampant and accepting bribes or asking for money to smooth the way is still very much a part of life here..

    bribes or asking for money to smooth the way is still very much a part of life here..
    If I have to state my personal experience right now it has to with something routine like reporting a visitor who stays overnight at a home in Yangone…it has to do with filling in particulars about the guest and filing it with the committee …I sent in the forms and was asked for tea money in thousands of kyats for something which is the stated policy of our government…The money was given because refusal could lead to more hassles …unnecessary ones.
    I also realize that many people do not even file these reports for overnight visitors and all get away with them…..but I had to pay tea money all because I was being a good citizen in abiding by the rules and regulations of my government……How do we handle it?

    Inflation is going skyhigh….government salaries cannot keep up with the escalating costs of living…if inflation could be curbed responsibly and people educated on the shamefulness of asking outright for money from people you are paid to serve….could we change the mind-set of people who have lived in this environment for decades? taking bribes and handouts as part of life? How do we handle it? How do we handle it?

  4. Fake constitution is the biggest stumbling block on the Thein Sein’s way to democracy. The problem is he was the main responsible person when Than Shwe picked his people to draft this unacceptable constitution. Unless Thein Sein replaces this one with the real one, there is no way he can achieve a genuine democratic Union of Burma.

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