Govt Announces Transfer of Military-Controlled Dept to Civilian Ministry

By The Irrawaddy 21 December 2018

YANGON — The military-controlled General Administration Department (GAD) will soon be transferred to the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government, President’s Office spokesperson U Zaw Htay said Friday.

The plan was announced at a press conference in Naypyitaw. The GAD is currently a branch of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is one of three ministries under the control of the country’s powerful military.

The GAD has long been central to the functioning of government administration across the country, as its officials oversee local governance in both rural and urban areas and deal with people’s day-to-day needs, from registering births and deaths to mediating disputes.

Some lawmakers have complained that its centralized control of government bureaucracy has been one of the main obstacles to reform.

U Zaw Htay said the move would implement the pledges President U Win Myint made in April to reform the government from the bottom up and to prepare the country for a federal system by reducing central control and adopting the suggestions of Myanmar’s states and regions.

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

U Zaw Htay said U Min Thu was appointed knowing that the GAD would soon be put under his supervision.