Thein Sein Honors Army and Cabinet With Excellence Awards

By San Yamin Aung 10 February 2016

RANGOON — Burma’s outgoing President Thein Sein has awarded a final round of honors to his cabinet members and the country’s army chief in Naypyidaw on Tuesday for their work over the last five years.

At the ceremony for the 2016 President’s Excellent Performance Awards, Thein Sein conferred honors on 33 organizations, 32 of which went to high-ranking government and military officials. He said that those who have been involved in the “successful realization” of the government’s reform process were selected for awards.

“Our government’s term will expire soon, but the achievements over the past five years require us to keep working to reach a stage where they are durable,” he said.

Burma Army Chief Sr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, two vice presidents, the president’s spokesperson Ye Htut, Union Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other government officials were among the awardees.

Sr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing received the honor designated to a group which strives to ensure state defense, security, peace and stability. Vice President Sai Mauk Kham’s award was in recognition of his efforts to upgrade the Yangon General Hospital and for promoting health care services. For the successful organization of the Southeast Asia Games, Vice President Nyan Tun also received an award.

Aung Min, of the President’s office and the Myanmar Peace Center, received recognition for his involvement in the peace process, while Information Minister and Presidential spokesperson Ye Htut was awarded for the “transformation” of Myanmar TV (MRTV) and state newspapers.

Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Myint Hlaing, Minister of the President’s Office and chairman of the Naypyidaw Council Thein Nyunt and Irrawaddy Division Chief Minister Thein Aung also received honors for development work.

Only one award went to a non-governmental organization, the Yangon Heritage Trust, for their efforts to preserve century-old heritage buildings in Burma’s former capital, Rangoon.

This year, the presidential awards ceremony was mocked by many on social media who viewed it as an act of self congratulation before Burma’s current leadership makes way for a new government next month.

The excellence awards have been presented annually since 2012. In previous years, over 480 people in total were selected for the honor, including 21 Buddhist monks.