Kyaw Win, slated to be Burma’s next Planning and Finance Minister, was born in Labutta Township in Irrawaddy Division and graduated with a degree in economics before embarking on a 20-year career with the National Planning Ministry in 1972. He then transferred to the Internal Revenue Department, where he remained for over six years before resigning to embark on work as a business consultant. He also served as a senior lecturer at the Myanmar Computer Company, Ltd. Kyaw Win spoke with The Irrawaddy about his new role, his political affiliations, and his expectations as a government minister.
When did you join NLD?
The NLD has an economic committee. I have been an advisor to that committee for a year and a half.
Why do you think the NLD has appointed you as a minister?
The NLD leadership has a policy to put the right man in the right position. I think I am assigned because I deserve it.
What ministerial position will you be assigned?
I think it will be the National Planning and Finance Ministry.
What reforms have you thought about initiating when you assume the ministerial position?
I am familiar with the operation of the Planning Department and the Internal Revenue Department and know their strong and weak points. I will carry out reforms accordingly. Since corruption is more likely to happen in those ministries, I have to handle that first. As corruption serves as a hindrance to national development, I have to give extra attention to it. At the same time, we have to change the mindset of civil servants, boost their morale and motivate them to serve the country’s interests. We just can’t neglect them because they have faults. They have a big role to play in order to operate the ministry. So, we have to effectively turn them into good civil servants. If so, we will be able to make certain progress toward our goal.
Will you have to bear greater responsibilities since you have to manage a merger of two formerly separate ministries? What difficulties do you expect?
I don’t think there will be much difficulty. However, we have to change the management system to be able to work effectively and broadly for the country. I will not just give instructions, but go down to the ground level and try to learn what is happening there. I will satisfy the needs on the ground.
Will you try to amend the outdated laws?
I have to. Some laws need small changes and some need big ones. We have to amend the laws for the benefit of the country and also to meet modern times in this age of globalization. A law can’t be in force forever once enacted. We have yet to improve the banking sector as well as the capital market.
There are permanent secretaries at ministries. They worked under old systems. What will be the difficulties in cooperating with them?
We’ll make them understand that we’ll cooperate with anyone today, whoever they are, and whatever they did in the past. They have big roles to play. We’ll value such staff. We will assign them roles to play, and devolve responsibility. We will fulfill all of their requirements. If we can do that, it will be good for all of us.
If they only support a cause or a party or an organization and do not think much about the interests of the people and the country, we will split with them if necessary. It all depends on them, their personal attitude. We will not leave anyone behind. We will bring them along with us for the sake of the country, for the sake of the people.
What do you want to tell the people?
I was elected as a people’s representatives to the Parliament because they trust in us, and now I am assigned a minister position, and I am proud of this. I will turn 68 tomorrow and I am proud to fulfill this duty at 68 years old. I’ve prepared to serve the country and the people, using the expertise and experience from my entire life. I will devote all my time to the country, to the people.
This article was translated by Thet Ko Ko.