Govt Won't Punish Health Officer Probed For Criticizing Training Course

By Htet Naing Zaw 24 December 2018

NAYPYITAW — A senior public health officer who was placed under investigation by a team of top officials for criticizing a civil servant training event on social media will not be punished, Myanmar’s health minister said.

Dr. Soe Thuya Zaw, head of dental health at the  Mogok Township Public Health Department in Mandalay Region, was placed under investigation last week after criticizing the rules and regulations that trainees need to follow, pointing out the faults of lecturers and claiming the training was a waste of government money.

The dentist attended a compulsory training session for mid-level civil servants at the northern branch of the Central Institute of the Civil Service in Zee Pin Gyi, a town near Pyin Oo Lwin in Mandalay, from October to early December. He shared a series of posts on his Facebook page about his experiences at the event. He said one lecturer had accused the government of lacking enthusiasm for the national peace process and that another discouraged them from marrying or buying things from non-Buddhists, Muslims especially, because they posed a threat to monogamous Buddhists.

His posts went viral and attracted much discussions online about the trainings being conducted by the Central Institute of the Civil Service, which was once widely regarded as a system for teaching government employees military doctrine and giving them military training. Those who commented on Dr. Soe Thuya Zaw’s investigation mostly condemned it and stood by the doctor.

On Monday, Health Minister Myint Htwe told The Irrawaddy that the ministry would not take any action against the dentist.

“He is a disciplined civil servant. We won’t take action against those who give their service to the people,” he said.

The minister added that the investigation was authorized by a deputy director general and directors without a prior, mandatory review of the allegations, and that the ministry would take “proper measures” against them without elaborating.

Founded in 1965 under the military regime of Ne Win, the Central People’s Service Training School in Phaunggyi, on the outskirts of Yangon, was intended to train civil servants in socialist ideology. Basic military training was also included for a time so that they could be called on in case of war with Myanmar’s power neighbors, namely India and China.

The school was transformed into an institute in 1977 and later renamed the Central Institute of the Civil Service. A second branch was established in Zee Pin Gyi to serve the north of the country.