Ousted Female Village Chief Reinstated by Mon State Govt

By Lawi Weng 26 June 2018

MON STATE — Mon State’s only female village chief was officially reinstated last week after being forced to resign for letting a non-citizen stay in the village without informing authorities. But she may not want the job back.

Mi Jalon Htaw, the chief of Tarana village in Kyaikmayaw Township, ran into trouble in April when the former village chief complained to township officials that she was allowing an ethnic Mon with Canadian citizenship but no locally issued identification documents stay in the village without informing authorities.

Despite strong local support for Mi Jalon Htaw, a former member of the Mon Women’s Organization, the township authorities soon pressured her to resign. When it reviewed the case on June 6, the state government rebuked Mi Jalon Htaw for not informing authorities about the Canadian citizen but decided to give her back her job.

“We are giving you a strong warning, but we are dismissing the first order from the Kyaikmayaw Township authorities,” the state government said in a letter.

The township made the reversal official with a letter on Friday.

According to the township’s April 26 letter urging Mi Jalon Htaw to resign, the former village chief, Nai Hla Maung, filed his complaint after she sued him for allegedly grabbing a plot of undeveloped land belonging to the state in a move that had angered some locals.

In his complaint to township authorities, Nai Hla Maung claimed that the Canadian citizen tore down a fence he had built around the plot of land. He accused Mi Jalon Htaw of ignoring his complaints about the incident and of not informing authorities of the Canadian’s arrival.

Mi Jalon Htaw responded that the Canadian had a valid visa authorizing his stay and that it was her understanding that she did not have to inform local authorities about him. At a press conference on April 30, she told reporters that the township was wrong to have forced her out.

“Because I am a woman, I feel that they [authorities] did not want me to have this position. But if they suppress me, it is like they are suppressing other women too,” she said at the press conference.

On Facebook, some of her supporters welcomed Friday’s letter from the township reversing the resignation.

On Monday, however, the Mon News Agency reported that Mi Jalon Htaw was inclined to turn down the job but would consider her supporters’ wishes before making a final decision.