NLD to Slash Ministerial Posts, Senior Party Official Says

By Tin Htet Paing 14 January 2016

RANGOON — Aung San Suu Kyi’s government will begin its term with drastic ministerial cutbacks, eliminating at least 10 ministerial posts, according to a senior member of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

In an interview with the Burmese-language weekly Popular News, published on Wednesday, Win Htein said some ministries were wholly “unnecessary” and should be dissolved.

“There are 36 ministers right now, and about 100 deputy ministers,” Win Htein said, adding that the party is still considering whether or not to eliminate the position of deputy minister altogether.

The NLD, which secured a landslide victory in a Nov. 8 general election and is set to form the new government in late March, alluded to the plan in its party manifesto, pledging to cut ministries to reduce government expenditure and “establish a lean and efficient government.”

While some positions will be eliminated, Win Htein said the administration intends to reassign government employees to other more relevant responsibilities without cutting staff.

Most of the ministers under the current administration of President Thein Sein are retired military personnel. Ministers are appointed by the president, except for three—Border Affairs, Defense and Home Affairs—that are selected by the commander-in-chief.

Shortly after her party’s win, NLD chairwoman Suu Kyi said in the capital that employees of the current government would not be discriminated against by her administration.

“Employees do not need to be worried,” she said. “Slashing the workforce is not our policy—even if you are incompetent, we will help you improve.”