Military Reps Urge Parliament to Counteract Foreign 'Interference' Over Rakhine Crisis

By Htet Naing Zaw 21 December 2018

NAYPYITAW — The military’s representatives in Myanmar’s Union Parliament have urged the national legislature to respond to what they described as misinformation and propaganda about Myanmar over the Rakhine crisis.

During discussion of a report by the Lower House’s International Relations Committee on Thursday, the representatives said the legislature should not remain silent but respond in a timely fashion to the actions of foreign parliaments targeting Myanmar.

“Parliament’s International Relations Committee should keep an eye on those issues, and raise objections and make counter-statements as necessary,” Lieutenant Colonel Zaw Tun Oo said.

On Dec. 13 the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly adopted a resolution that called the Myanmar military’s actions against the country’s Rohingya a “genocide” and accused it of committing crimes against humanity.

If such actions by other countries have an impact on Myanmar, the International Relations Committee should report them to Parliament, assess the repercussions and offer recommendations, said Lt. Col. Zaw Tun Oo.

Colonel Kyaw Soe Lwin, another military representative, accused some major powers of interfering in Myanmar’s internal affairs while Myanmar remained independent and neutral.

“Whenever there is interference, [the committee] should assess it in real time and report its findings to Parliament,” he said.

The report says Myanmar’s relations with Western countries including the U.S. and EU members and majority-Muslim states have cooled because of the violence in Rakhine State. It says those countries are putting pressures on Myanmar and attempting to impose sanctions.

“I think the suggestion of the military representatives is constructive. It would be better if we understand the issues facing our country well and respond strategically,” said committee member Daw Pyone Cathy Naing.

Other lawmakers also supported the military’s suggestion.

“The military has no direct communication with the international community. Only the government and Parliament have direct communication with foreign diplomats. But the military can also do what it can through its military attaches,” political analyst U Maung Maung Soe told The Irrawaddy.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.