Myanmar Home Affairs Minister to Retire; Military to Pick Successor

By Htet Naing Zaw 31 January 2020

NAYPYITAW—Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant General Kyaw Swe will retire from his post, an anonymous government source confirmed to The Irrawaddy.

The source told The Irrawaddy that there will be a change in the home affairs minister position and that the order will be issued soon.

Lt-Gen. Kyaw Swe turned 60 in November 2019 and has reached the retiring age for civil servants in Myanmar. He will have to submit a request for retirement to the President and then seek the approval of the Union Parliament.

Under the 2008 Constitution, three ministries—Defense, Home Affairs and Border Affairs—are controlled by the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw. The heads of the three ministries are nominated by the military chief and the President appoints them with the approval of the national legislature.

Chief of Military Security Affairs Lieutenant General Soe Htut and Chief of Bureau of Special Operations Lieutenant General Aung Soe are both possible nominees to become the next home affairs minister.

Lt-Gen. Soe Htut is a graduate of Intake 64 at the Defense Services Academy (DSA) and has led the Office of the Chief of Military Security Affairs since 2016.

Lt-Gen. Aung Soe graduated from Intake 26 at the DSA and served as the commander of Division 33 and commander of the Northeastern Command before being appointed deputy home affairs minister under the U Thein Sein government. Under the National League for Democracy government, the Myanmar military brought him back into military service and appointed him Chief of Bureau of Special Operations.

“We heard that Lt-Gen. Soe Htut will become the next home affairs minister,” said an official of the Home Affairs Ministry who asked not to be named.

Lt-Gen. Kyaw Swe always accompanied State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the NLD government, on her domestic trips, but on her trip to Sagaing Region on Jan. 23, only Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Major General Aung Thu accompanied her. Since then, Lt-Gen. Kyaw Swe has been absent from national-level events.

Lower House NLD lawmaker Daw Phyu Phyu Thin said she wants the new minister to follow in the steps of Lt-Gen. Kyaw Swe, as he is liked by the people and cooperative in working with the government.

“We want someone who will get on well with citizens, Parliament and the government. The Home Affairs Ministry is important. There have been some improvements [in security] in our township as the Home Affairs Ministry directly manages security police in the township. The most important thing [for the new home affairs minister] is cooperation,” said Daw Phyu Phyu Thin of Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said during her visit to Singapore in 2018 that her relationship with the military—which held her under house arrest for nearly 15 years—was “not that bad” and that the generals in her cabinet were “rather sweet.”

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko