We’ll change the undemocratic articles into the democratic ones
Saturday, 12 September 2020
Q: What is the main difference between the two parties—NLD and USDP? What is the USDP stand that is different from NLD?
A: The main difference is the way we act as an opposition party. I am doing things not for me to come to power but for the sake of the country. That’s why I am saying we act differently. You can look at the mottos of our party. One of our election mottos is for a brighter future. We are going to create a bright future when we will be safer, more prosperous and united with the youth overwhelmed with hope, feeling perfectly optimistic of their future. We don’t know yet what their motto is. But we see their manifesto spreading online. I won’t give any comment on this. From our election manifesto and mottos and/or slogans, it is obvious that we are not bent upon coming to power only; we concentrate more on national betterment, and this makes us different.

Q: Why is not Daw Aung San Suu Kyi the right person to run the country?
A: Whether she is the right person or not is the matter for the people to decide. I am engaged in the politics not to criticize a person. A person’s actions and activities will be under the criticism of the public who will decide whether to vote again for her. If I give my comment, it can be personal criticism.

Q: How difficult is it (and) how much challenging is it to oppose a rival who is so popular in the country, who is still the hero for so many people? It must be a big challenge.
A: Concerning this, if a person’s speech and behavior are found to be cheating the public, I will be critical when the time comes. And when it comes to what I can do for the people, I will disclose my plans unambiguously and unequivocally. And our success depends upon the people’s understanding. One thing that concerns us is the public opinion and/or their delayed decision. Whether there will be the change or not will shape the destiny of the country. So, I am reluctant to attack a person’s dignity badly just to ensure a change. We ought to be patient for the public to realize things.

Q: How has NLD done in the past five years? What has it done badly do you think?
A: I will criticize the government. There is a saying,” I love my country, not the government. If the government is not good for the country, the government has to be criticized. But criticism is not to be personal. Criticizing the government will reveal the performance of the leader, though. For the people, their livelihood matters. Everybody knows whether the national economy is good or not. A glance at GDP which is a yardstick to measure the economic growth will demonstrate how the incumbent government performs is different from us. These days, GDP is on the decline when compared to that of our period. While we had 7.3, they have only 5.6 now. Regarding the government spending, their five-year spending is five times higher than ours. If the budget deficit is looked at, we had only Kyats 8,000 billion whereas they are having more than Kyats 23,000 billion now. These figures are not made known to the public in detail but the people will have to bear the brunt of these (weaknesses) gradually. When the commodity prices are looked at, the purchasing power parity is on the decline because of inflation, which is 13.01, I think. It’s very dangerous, worrying us dramatically. Actually, the base year has been put very closely. If the base year will be put quite far as in our days, the inflation will be quite a big figure.

You know the calculation methods can be manipulated to yield the results as desired by the government in power. If the prices of the staple food like rice, oil, fish and meat prevailing in the market, you will see the money value i.e. purchasing power is rather low. This is the same with the price of the oil the motorcyclists are paying. A great difference will be witnessed when comparison is made. We all know the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Those which were worth 100 will cost 160 now. On the other hand, the foreign debt is over nine billions even when we have reduced the foreign debt by six billions in our period. And when we transferred power to the incumbent regime, we left only 9.5 billion debt to them. But this figure has now risen to 11, 12. This amount of heavy foreign debt will pose a dramatic problem to the next comers, who will have to perform the herculean tasks. This is the economic situation these days. With this sky high inflation rate and ground hitting CPI, people will definitely have difficulty earning even a meager amount of income. These are only the economic woes. And if we turn to security, the crime rates are rather high. In our days, there were only 6,000 cases of murder but now there are more than 6,500 cases of murder. Concerning rape cases, we had only over 2,000 but there are now more than 3,000. Regarding theft and robbery cases, there were only over 20,000 cases in our period but now there are more than 30,000. The gap is demonstrating the level of security, enabling the beholders of these figures to realize which period is more peaceful and more secure. Going back to economy again, it is crystal clear that economic growth and development are very much dependent upon the Foreign Direct Investments. These days, the FDIs are on the decline, too. I am reluctant to give you the detailed figures. And what about unemployment! Don’t blame the Covid 19, please. Long before the virus outbreak, the unemployment rate has been high. The virus is spreading worldwide. And when we cast a glance at building up the peace, the expression ‘national reconciliation’ has been in existence merely for the name’s sake. Be it peace or national reconciliation, it is in fact building of national unity—the unity among the national races. Peace and national unity are inseparable. The battles are being fought among the national races—ethnic rivalry. How successful they are now! In our days, we have been able to sign the peace agreement with eight indigenous groups. These days, they can sign agreement only with two ethnic organizations. If we observe what is happening to the confidence building between and among the ethnic organizations, we can see the failure. The last peace negotiation meeting has shown that the mutual trust has been lost. And going back to the high rate of crimes, we are seeing not only the crimes occurring within the country but also our country having to face an international crime at the International Court of Justice. I might appear to be childish speaking of it. Sorry, but I’m telling the truth. When it comes to international relations, we have in our days been able to invite the leaders of the countries which we have no ties with for about 4,5 or 6 decades or so to come to our country. We have been able to build up foreign relations with our president going around the world, attending the international meetings and/or forums inclusive of the United Nations meetings. These days, international relations is not seen active with the head of state not attending the international events.
In summation, we are saying all these things not because we are against the individual persons but because we have to love our country as the saying goes. I am ready to take the responsibility of what I have said. They should also be accountable for what they have said and done. This is my belief. N
Q: She has gone to ICJ to defend Myanmar. What would you say about it?
A: I don’t want to make personal criticism. But a person should prove that his or her performance is in accord with his or her duties and responsibilities. Additionally, what has been done should be explained giving reasons to justify his or her performance. The public should be convinced that his or her actions and activities are beneficial to the country. But no clarifications whatsoever have been made despite demands to make a disclosure (of the proceedings at ICJ). What else can I do then?

Q: Regarding the military operations during which hundred thousands have fled from Rakhine State, what is your opinion? Do you think that military was right to crack down on them?
A: I would like to ask them why they have fled. Have they fled because of the military or have they done so just because they themselves wanted to flee? If they have had to flee because of the military, they should not have behaved as if they were going picnicking. The authorities were then seen to be requesting them not to flee. However, they didn’t listen and fled as they were going on a picnic. So, I find it difficult to believe they were chased out by the military.

Q: They say they have evidence of commitment of arson, murder and rape. This evidence should be believed? What is USDP’s stand for this?
A: Concerning this, we have a book written by a consultant of our party. This book provides enough evidence relating to the questions raised to and motions tabled at the parliament. Additionally, there are also questions which were rejected for discussion and/or which were not responded to. These evidences prevent me from accepting their flight en masse. We cannot attribute their fleeing in astronomical figures to the military. On the other hand, there is ARSA. Many may have fled for fear of ARSA’s killings. We have evidences of their killings. At the same time, there are hostages who are still alive. We have their statements. The thing is that we cannot make it widely known to the world. I find it difficult to accept that the blame is heaped on the military for their flight en masse. We have the evidences. If AFP would publish them, I will give all the evidences. And I will also give the insight stories. If you want to interview them for further details, I will get them to you but you must publish the interview. C’est promis.

Q: Do you have any sympathy for refugees in Bangladesh? If so, should Myanmar accept them back?
A: Our stance is crystal clear. If they can prove to be Myanmar citizens, we will accept them. Without any evidence of leaving here, how can we be sure as to if they are our citizens or refugees? We cannot accept the good-for- nothing fellows. Definitely not! We have the proper procedures, and I’ve already said so. And these are the matters we have handled. As far as I can remember, there are only 2,425 according to the statistics of scrutiny by both sides. That’s all. We have had arrangement to accept them back upon their return. The abbreviation we use is Swe Tin Sit in Myanmar language, which suggests drawing the map, keep it in the record and checking if these people are really staying there. That’s why we can keep track of the figures which display the reduction of the members of the households. You see the media are mentioning these and those figures using the thumb rules, not knowing the exact figures. This being so, they say there are one lakh some times and two lakhs in other times. We can’t accept their guessed figures. We will proceed with the established procedures as agreed to by both sides.