Union Gov’t Office Minister Unveils Reform Plan for GAD

By Nan Lwin 23 May 2019

YANGON—U Min Thu, minister for the Office of the Union Government, has unveiled the ministry’s reform plan for the General Administration Department (GAD), which includes revisions of the department’s staff manuals and code of conduct, and the curriculum of the Institute of Development Administration.

Four months after the military transferred control of the department to the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government, the minister held a meeting on Wednesday with GAD staff in the Naypyitaw Union Territory, which contains the capital of Myanmar.

According to the Ministry of Information, U Min Thu said the first three months after the transfer were devoted to the physical requirements of transferring control. This has been followed by a second three-month period in which the department’s core functions are being reformed.

U Min Thu said he would form a ministry-level Regulatory Review Unit to revise staff manuals and the code of conduct, and review existing directives and protocols for any necessary amendments. The review unit will comprise two members of the ministry’s advisory board and staff from the ministry and the GAD.

He said the department is also speeding up efforts to revise the Institute of Development Administration (IDA)’s curriculum to meet international standards.

The IDA provides leadership, administration and management training to GAD staff.

“We are discussing policies to ensure the system of promotions and transfers of GAD staff and its human resources management are transparent and systematic,” the minister added.

Formerly overseen by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), for more than 30 years the GAD has formed the backbone of Myanmar’s public administration. Under the 2008 Constitution, MOHA is one of three ministries led by major-generals appointed by the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

The GAD is authorized to support government security efforts, the rule of law and stability, and enforce some civil laws. Its duties also include reporting on population movements, security incidents and basic demographic data, and conveying relevant information back to Naypyitaw.

Human rights groups and political activists have long chafed under what they see as excessive scrutiny and interference by the GAD, viewing the department as basically a tool to suppress their activities while providing on-the-ground information from across the country to MOHA.

Since the department was transferred to the ministry, U Min Thu has traveled across the country urging staff to change their mindset and shed old habits when carrying out their duties.

During the meeting, U Min Thu urged the department’s staff to address two main issues ahead of the upcoming election. The first was to ensure that no eligible voters are denied their right to vote. The minister explained that it is the GAD’s duty to compile the electoral roll, along with the national registration and population departments and the election sub-commissions.

The second issue was the need for GAD staff to collect updated population records for citizens above age of 18 in order to ensure that Union Election Commission officials’ electoral rolls were accurate.

Myanmar will hold a general election in 2020.

“The ministry is planning to establish a Corruption Prevention Unit and related mechanisms,” U Min Thu added.

He urged staff to develop their moral character in order to be free of self-interest and corruption.

The Ministry of the Office of the Union Government was created by the current administration. In November, U Min Thu, a retired colonel and former Air Force pilot, was appointed as its minister.

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