The Irrawaddy

Minister’s Comments ‘Insult’ Myanmar Army

Myanmar military chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

YANGON — The Myanmar Army said Yangon’s chief minister is not suitable for “constructive, long-term relations” with the army and called his comments about the military chief an “insult” on Wednesday following its first complaint to the government since it took office.

The army told the National League for Democracy (NLD) government to “take necessary actions” against Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein on Tuesday because of his recent comments about the head of the military, according to a statement released by the Office of the Commander-in-Chief on Tuesday night.

The statement, quoting news reports which have gone viral on Facebook, explained that during a workshop on Sunday in Yangon, the chief minister reportedly said “there are no civil-military relations in the democratic era” and that “the military’s commander-in-chief position is the same as the level of director-general, according to the [state] protocol.”

The complaint comes at a time when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD government has been coaxing the country’s powerful military to participate in the peace process and amend the controversial military-drafted 2008 Constitution that was drafted by the military.

On Wednesday, the army released a statement explaining the complaint, saying “the military takes the remarks as a direct insult to the military chief and the armed forces.”

“Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein’s reckless and confrontational comments could damage the national reconciliation. He can be reviewed as someone who could cause difficulties for the long-term process that has to be built continuously among the government, people and military for better relations,” the statement read.

“Civil-military relations are more important in our multi-party democracy where armed conflicts are still ongoing. U Phyo Min Thein’s remarks show how he is less learned, and it can be concluded that he is more confrontational,” it added.

Myanmar’s armed forces chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing is currently in India for a goodwill visit.