Suu Kyi Sounds Warning to Overzealous NLD MPs

By San Yamin Aung 5 January 2016

RANGOON — National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi warned newly elected lawmakers on Monday she would “take action” against those who request ministerial positions in the incoming government.

“I don’t very much like those who want to be ministers. The ministerial posts are to be taken only when assigned. I will take action against those who request ministerial posts by letter in the future according to [party] rules and regulations,” Suu Kyi said in a speech to mark the country’s 68th Independence Day at the NLD’s headquarters in Rangoon.

It was not the first time the 70-year-old NLD chairwoman has publically admonished MP-elects for making overtures to the party’s leadership over prospective positions in the executive.

In a meeting with trishaw drivers in Rangoon last month, Suu Kyi compared the drivers’ support for the party, which she said came without the expectation of anything in return, to those who coveted sought-after positions in government.

“Ministerial posts will be given to capable persons, those who can serve the interests of the country,” Suu Kyi said on Monday. “I want you to understand that I will not appoint you to a minister’s post just because you are a NLD member.”

The NLD secured majorities in both houses of Parliament in the Nov. 8 general election, enabling the party to select Burma’s next president. However, the military retains a strong political foothold, with a quarter of parliamentary seats and the power to put forward ministers for the home affairs, defense and border affairs portfolios.

A cross-party committee, comprised of members of President Thein Sein’s outgoing administration and senior NLD figures, has been formed to oversee the transition.