Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Tanintharyi to 'Discipline' Local Officials

By San Yamin Aung 14 February 2019

YANGON — State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi warned that her government would take “decisive action” against officials who harm the public interest during a trip Wednesday to Tanintharyi Region, where a crowd urged her to sack the local chief minister.

Speaking at a ceremony in Myeik Township marking the birthday of her late father, independence hero Gen. Aung San, she reminded government officials that they work for the benefit of the people and must carry out their duties “truthfully and transparently.”

Afterward, dozens of locals waited for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi outside the Pale Yadanar Hall, where she met with local government officials, lawmakers and some residents. Some held signs urging her to replace Tanintharyi’s chief minister, Daw Lei Lei Maw, and planning and finance minister, U Phyo Win Tun, as well as U Aung Soe, who chairs her party’s regional committee.

Those who attended the meeting also complained that the regional government was inefficient, being mismanaged and losing public support. Daw Lei Lei Maw and the other regional ministers were present.

State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attends a meeting with local residents in Myeik Township, Tanintharyi Region, on Wednesday. / State Counselor’s Office

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that she came to Tanintharyi because she had heard of the complaints and promised to resolve them.

“I have come here to discipline the regional government,” she told the crowd to loud applause.

In a letter to the central executive committee of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), more than 100 residents of Myeik and Dawei townships accused Daw Lei Lei Maw and U Aung Soe, who are related, of awarding business contracts and giving a paid government job to relatives.

The regional Parliament also sent a report on public complaints to President U Win Myint and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi last month. The report was signed by 14 regional lawmakers including the Parliament speaker.

The Anti-Corruption Commission has since started looking into the complaints. According to one regional lawmaker, commission members visited Tanintharyi earlier this month and met with both legislators and those who submitted the complaints.

On Wednesday, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said she visited Myanmar’s states and regions to find out what was happening first hand, what problems locals were facing, what the government could do better to help them, and whether officials were doing a good job.

Tanintharyi is the fourth region or state she has visited this year. Since January she has also visited Chin, Kachin and Shan states. While in Tanintharyi, she will also visit Kawthaung and Dawei townships on Thursday and Friday and meet with local residents.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said some parts of the country were developing while others were not, and that she has heard from many people about their needs for better health care, education, water supplies, transportation and electricity and for the return of seized land. She said the government could not solve all their problems overnight but was working hard to address them.

“We have made promises to the public since we were founded,” she said of the NLD. “I’m not sure if the public has forgotten them, but we never forget them. The first promise is national reconciliation and peace and the rule of law.”

The state counselor said her administration has also taken the first tentative steps toward fulfilling another key promise — amending the Constitution to create a federal and more democratic government.

“We never make a promise that we can’t keep,” she said.