NLD Probes Members After Mon State Protest

By Hintharnee 17 July 2017

MOULMEIN, Mon State — National League for Democracy (NLD)’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) has ordered an investigation into the executives of its Chaungzon Township branch in Mon State for allegedly instigating a protest over the selection of candidates for the township’s 2017 by-election.

The CEC sent a letter dated July 10 to the NLD Mon State chapter instructing it to form a commission and probe the Chaungzon branch, said the chapter’s chairman Dr. Khin Hsaung.

The three-member commission headed by Khin Hsaung launched the 30-day investigation on Sunday and suspended all 21 executives of Chaungzon from their duties, in accordance with CEC instructions.

The commission will submit its findings to the CEC, which will make a decision, added Khin Hsaung.

Daw Kyi Kyi Mya, a lawmaker representing Chaungzon in the state parliament and an executive of Chaungzon Township NLD, is facing investigation. She found it “unacceptable” that members staged a protest against their own party.

“I heard some people say ‘how could we rely on them if they are even staging protests against each other.’ I think this is the reason we lost in the by-election [in Chaungzon]. I want harsh actions taken against them,” said Daw Kyi Kyi Mya.

Chaungzon NLD nominated U Saw Lin Aung, U Aye Win and U Kyaw Pe as the first, second and third priorities for the 2017 April 1 by-election.

The nomination list was submitted to the district, state and the central level CECs, and the CEC at the central level chose U Aye Win, who was the second priority, to contest the by-election.

Township NLD members were unhappy with the decision, and about 50 protestors marched to Mon State NLD chapter headquarters on October 30 last year.

Demonstrators held placards reading: “We want a local ethnic Mon candidate” and “Respect local people.”

“We can’t reject the nominees, but we can change their priorities,” said Khin Hsaung. “(Chaungzon) Township’s CEC held meetings to stage the demonstration.

He said the Mon State chapter and the NLD’s CEC have audio of the meetings, adding “so [the CEC] instructed us to investigate.”

U Saw Lin Aung, who was chosen by Chaungzon locals as the top nominee, contested the 2015 general elections for a state parliament seat, but lost to the candidate from the All Mon Region Democracy Party, said Daw Kyi Kyi Mya.

“Maybe the CEC at the central level chose the second candidate because of this [loss],” she said.

Prior to the by-election, thousands of Chaungzon locals had staged a protest against the NLD-led government for naming of a bridge linking the town and Moulmein after Gen Aung San. They preferred the name Chaungzon Bridge or Yamanya which means Mon State in the Mon language.

In the April 1 by-election in Chaungzon Township, NLD candidate U Aye Win got 12,636 votes, losing to his Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) opponent U Aung Kyi Thein by a margin of more than 7,000 votes.