Suu Kyi Dismisses Speculation of President’s Ill Health

By Htet Naing Zaw & Moe Moe 8 December 2017

NAYPYITAW — State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said President U Htin Kyaw was in fine health in response to speculation that his condition had deteriorated following an operation in September.

“There is no need to worry. We have the first lady who will take care [of the president], so why do we need to worry when there is someone to take care of him?” she said in reply to a reporter’s question at an education development seminar in Naypyitaw on Friday.

The president underwent a successful operation in Bangkok in September to have a polyp in his colon removed, according to state media.

“The president is in good health. He is good. No need to worry,” U Win Htein, a senior leader of the ruling National League for Democracy with close ties to the president, told The Irrawaddy.

President U Htin Kyaw has made few public appearances since he took office early last year. But the 71-year-old appeared to have lost weight and looked pale when he received Pope Francis in Naypyitaw late last month.

The 2008 Constitution lays out the procedures to be followed in case the country’s top office holder retires before the end of his or her term, so there would be no problems if President U Htin Kyaw were to do so, said former Lieutenant General Hla Htay Win.

“According to the Constitution, the [first] vice president will become the acting president, and then an election will be held to elect a vice president. Then the president will be elected from among three vice presidents,” he explained.

The President’s Office, however, said on Friday that President U Htin Kyaw would soon pay an official goodwill visit to Japan and attend the Universal Health Coverage Forum in Tokyo at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.