USDP Will Regain International Respect for Myanmar: Party Chairman

By Htet Naing Zaw 5 October 2018

NAYPYITAW—The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) will ensure Myanmar can hold her head high on the international stage if it regains power, said party chairman U Than Htay.

In his address to USDP party supporters during a by-election campaign event in Magwe Region’s Sagu Township on Thursday, U Than Htay criticized foreign intervention in Myanmar’s internal affairs which has increased under the government of National League for Democracy (NLD).

There is international pressure and foreigners are getting involved in the Rakhine issue and other problems of the country, he said. The intervention of international agencies in internal issues of Myanmar is too large to the extent that it harms the dignity of the country, he added.

“There are many foreign individuals in the administrative mechanism of the current government. We are not the ruling party so we can’t make a decision on that, so I urge the people to reassign us. We are able to make sure Myanmar can stand tall and that nobody gives us orders,” the party chairman told supporters.

The generals and the military-backed USDP have ruled the country and have had a considerable length of time to develop the country if they had genuine goodwill, said a member of the Arakan National Party’s central executive committee U Pe Than, adding that what the USDP party chair said is mere rhetoric.

“They have experience in nation-building, but they could not accomplish it successfully. Nobody can say if they will regain power. Even if they do, it is impossible to develop the country, which is facing a lot of challenges, overnight,” said U Pe Than, who is also a legislator in the Lower House for Rakhine State’s Myebon Township.

People have chosen the NLD and not the USDP mainly because they want honest people, said former Lower House lawmaker U Ye Htun.

“The NLD can have a thumbs up compared to the previous government in that regard. If you ask me if it has shortcomings and weaknesses, there are many. But in the eyes of the people, [their honesty] is the main difference,” he said.

U Than Htay said the USDP government had to sell the country’s natural resources because of economic sanctions and was branded by the opposition as a party that steals natural resources. He asked if the current government is not selling natural resources.

“If [the NLD] accused us of stealing those [resources], [they] can choose not to do so now. You can see many logs piled by the roadside [at present]. They are not extracted by the USDP government. The jade and gems emporium in Naypyitaw has not stopped [operating] yet. Are those not resources? And don’t they sell natural gas? Why did they say USDP sold our natural resources?” he asked.

The foundations of development which the USDP government built over five years are already shaking two years into NLD’s administration, he claimed.

USDP leaders told The Irrawaddy that the party would not contest in the November by-election in the ethnic constituencies but hopes to win all the seats it contests in non-ethnic areas.

It appears that the USDP is trying to make alliances with ethnic parties for the 2020 general elections as it is unlikely to win in the ethnic constituencies, said U Pe Than.

“The NLD’s image regarding nationalism has not been very good as it is a party that focuses more on democracy and human rights. We rely more on the USDP than the NLD regarding nationalism, the perpetuity of sovereignty, and the Rakhine issue. I believe they will be able to make greater efforts in nationalism with a strong nationalist spirit,” he said.