Junta Watch

Junta Watch: Dictator Trains Sights on ‘Unethical’ CDM doctors

By The Irrawaddy 24 December 2022

Regime boss can’t hide his hatred for striking medics 

Exasperated by thousands of doctors joining the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), junta boss Min Aung Hlaing has resorted to calling the striking medics “unethical”.

Speaking to graduates of the Defense Services Medical Academy in Yangon on December 21, Min Aung Hlaing said CDM medics were ignoring their professional duty to public healthcare and thereby hurting patients. He also accused them of disloyalty.

Organized resistance to last year’s military takeover started with healthcare workers announcing a boycott of state-run hospitals. Health workers launched the first street protests and the CDM. The nationwide strikes by medics were a serious blow to the junta, given they were led by doctors at government-run hospitals that form the backbone of Myanmar’s health system.

Medics said abandoning their hospitals was a difficult ethical decision. But they insisted they would not return to work unless democracy was restored in Myanmar. The public understood that health workers were acting with good intentions after decades of previous military rule left the country’s healthcare system in ruins.

The new Defense Services Medical Academy graduates may, however, have been discouraged when Min Aung Hlaing told them they might have to engage in combat operations on top of their medical duties.

Myanmar’s military has been hit hard by casualties and desertions in daily clashes with resistance forces and ethnic armed organizations across the country. And it is also struggling to attract young cadets and recruits thanks to its indiscriminate violence against civilians.

Min Aung Hlaing continues his ego trip

Min Aung Hlaing squandered more public funds on empty titles when he conferred honors on 88 individuals to mark Karen New Year’s Day on December 22.

Also ringing hollow was the message he used to mark the occasion, with several phrases stolen from jailed State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s address last year.

Most of the 88 recipients were military and police officers, including seven former police chiefs. All except Tun Hla Aung, who served as police chief after Myanmar gained independence in 1948, were loyalists of military dictators.

Recipients of the Thiri Pyanchi included Colonel Shwe Than, who served as Myanmar’s police chief from 1975 to 1978 under the country’s first military dictator, General Ne Win. Shwe Than is the father of former Lieutenant Colonel Ye Htut, who was information minister in the quasi-civilian government led by ex-general Thein Sein.

Another recipient was former police chief Colonel Zaw Win.

He was in charge when National League for Democracy legal advisor U Ko Ni, who was a vocal critic of the army-drafted 2008 Constitution, was assassinated outside Yangon International Airport in 2017. Former military officers were involved in organizing the assassination. Zaw Win, however, described what was widely considered a politically motivated murder as a homicide driven by personal grudges.