The Irrawaddy

Tatmadaw Representatives in Parliament Call for Govt-Military Cooperation

NAYPYITAW — Myanmar Army-appointed representatives in Parliament called for cooperation between the military and the government in line with the military-drafted 2008 Constitution at a parliamentary gathering for International Day of Democracy 2017 in Naypyitaw on Friday.

As he submitted the military representatives’ paper on democratization to Parliament, Lt-Col Moe Kyaw said the National League for Democracy (NLD) government and the Tatmadaw should not be viewed separately and should instead work together.

“This will protect democracy so that it can grow. Democratic norms are not the factors that decide the perpetuity of democracy, but the strength and efficiency of institutions,” he argued.

“Democracy can’t be copied. It should fit the history, geography and reality of the host country. Making an exact copy would result in adverse consequences,” he added.

In his closing remarks, Lower House speaker U Win Myint preached the merits of mutual tolerance, forgiveness, and fairness for the promotion of democracy.

“Dictatorship, which is the opposite of democracy, those who abuse democracy, and those who try to grab power by dishonest means and not through free and fair election, are dangers to democracy,” he said.

He also called for the public to help protect peace, stability of the state, national reconciliation and rule of law.

National League for Democracy (NLD) submitted a paper, saying that it is struggling to operate the country’s administrative mechanism within the limits of the 2008 Constitution, and that it is trying to be a corruption-free government.

“The biggest challenge doesn’t lie in [creating plans for] political reforms, but basically in persuading [bureaucrats] to change their mindset and have a sense of morality, although some don’t want to change because of personal interests,” said NLD lawmaker of Kalaw Township Daw Pyone Cathy Naing, who submitted the paper.

She touted the Union Peace Conference as the downfall of dictatorship and victory for those wanting federalism.

Centralization is the opposite of democracy, said Lt-Col Moe Kyaw, highlighting criticisms about the centralization of power within the ruling NLD, as well as checks and balances between the NLD-led government and the NLD-dominated Parliament.

“Without development, rule of law, and stability, the democratic transition would not be smooth and internal peace can’t be achieved,” he said.

Various parties—including the main opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and ethnic parties—submitted papers on the day.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.