Suu Kyi Hears Constituents' Concerns

By Saw Yan Naing 6 July 2012

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday visited her constituency of Kawhmu in the outskirts of Rangoon where she listened to residents describe their daily hardships.

About 300 constituents representing the 61 villages in Kawhmu Township attended a meeting at Aung Zamyu Pariyati monastery in Singyan Village where they voiced concerns to Suu Kyi over land confiscation, dirty waterways, unemployment, road and bridge construction, health care and education programs.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has recently returned from a highly publicized tour to Europe, missed the first day of the new parliamentary session in Naypyidaw that day, citing tiredness and unfinished work with her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Suu Kyi met with a senior monk at the Aung Zamyu Pariyati monastery, and discussed plans to open five vocational training schools—beautician, electrician, medical, computers and a mechanics’ workshop—with the aim of providing job opportunities for local residents in Kawhmu.

During her election campaign last year, Suu Kyi said that she chose to contest Kawhmu because she wanted to develop the region. Kawhmu is one of the poorest townships in an area where the local population are mainly rice farmers.

Suu Kyi won a seat in Wah Theinkha, a rural village in Kawhmu Township, in recent by-elections. The majority of the village’s population is ethnic Karen.

Many villagers said that they expected that Suu Kyi and the NLD can shepherd in a brighter future for the next generation. Others said they hoped that Suu Kyi could do something to help end the civil war between the Burmese government and Karen rebels that has plagued the country for more than six decades.

Suu Kyi’s NLD won 43 out of the 44 parliamentary seats it contested in April 1 by-elections.