Army Chief Reiterates Race, Foreign-Free Candidate Criteria Skip to main content

Army Chief Reiterates Race, Foreign-Free Candidate Criteria

RANGOON — In an address on Tuesday to officers and rank-and-file members of the military in Sittwe, Arakan State, commander-in-chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing reiterated a familiar nationalist refrain widely interpreted as a call against voting for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma’s Nov. 8 general election.
“Because [you] will make a choice soon regarding politics, it is important that [you] make the right choice,” Min Aung Hlaing told the audience while accompanying President Thein Sein on a tour of Arakan State just four days ahead of the general election.
“The leader of the country should be the one who will develop the region and the country; is imbued with the four outlooks [a reference to familiarity with politics, economics, administration and defense]; understands the Tatmadaw [Burma Army]; is able to righteously and systematically take care of your own race and religion; and is not associated, with or under the influence of, foreigners, foreign countries or foreign agencies,” he added.
The army chief has accompanied Thein Sein on many of his tours in recent months, meeting local residents, the service personnel of local battalions and their families.
The instruction from Min Aung Hlaing marked at least the fourth time that he has attempted to sway the vote of members of the military. The first known remarks came at a meeting of high-ranking officials in September, followed by a speech at the National Defense College in Naypyidaw.
While those appeals were largely similar in urging audiences to consider a secular set of criterion for presidential candidates, Min Aung Hlaing’s National Defense College speech was notably differentin that it went on to add religious qualifications and the warning against voting for individuals under foreign influence.
Subsequent remarks on a tour of Karenni State also included the religious and race-based qualifications and cautionary remarks on foreign elements.
Many have inferred that the senior-general’s comments are directed at the National League for Democracy (NLD) chairwoman Suu Kyi, who has faced accusations that she is overly sympathetic to the nation’s minority Muslims and not capable of defending Buddhism against perceived threats posed by Islam.
Those attacks have come, in part, from members of the Association for Protection of Race and Religion, including nationalist Buddhist monks, who have increasingly inserted themselves into Burma’s politics in the lead-up to the Nov. 8 election.
The organization, better known by its Burmese acronym Ma Ba Tha, was a leading advocate for four so-called race and religion protection laws passed earlier this year. Suu Kyi’s NLD opposed the legislation, citing concerns that the laws impinged on women’s rights and were designed to target Muslims.
Likewise the cautionary note sounded by Min Aung Hlaing regarding foreigners has led to speculation that Suu Kyi’s deceased husband and children, who are British nationals, were being spotlighted by the senior-general.
Those familial ties to Britain bar Suu Kyi from assuming the presidency, owing to a constitutional provision that prevents anyone from taking the office whose spouse or offspring owe allegiance to a foreign power.


Popular posts from this blog

Chronology of the Press in Burma

1836 – 1846 * During this period the first English-language newspaper was launched under British-ruled Tenasserim, southern  Burma . The first ethnic Karen-language and Burmese-language newspapers also appear in this period.     March 3, 1836 —The first English-language newspaper,  The Maulmain Chronicle , appears in the city of Moulmein in British-ruled Tenasserim. The paper, first published by a British official named E.A. Blundell, continued up until the 1950s. September 1842 —Tavoy’s  Hsa-tu-gaw  (the  Morning Star ), a monthly publication in the Karen-language of  Sgaw ,  is established by the Baptist mission. It is the first ethnic language newspaper. Circulation reached about three hundred until its publication ceased in 1849. January 1843 —The Baptist mission publishes a monthly newspaper, the Christian  Dhamma  Thadinsa  (the  Religious Herald ), in Moulmein. Supposedly the first Burmese-language newspaper, it continued up until the first year of the second Angl

Thai penis whitening trend raises eyebrows

Image copyright LELUXHOSPITAL Image caption Authorities warn the procedure could be quite painful A supposed trend of penis whitening has captivated Thailand in recent days and left it asking if the country's beauty industry is taking things too far. Skin whitening is nothing new in many Asian countries, where darker skin is often associated with outdoor labour, therefore, being poorer. But even so, when a clip of a clinic's latest intriguing procedure was posted online, it quickly went viral. Thailand's health ministry has since issued a warning over the procedure. The BBC Thai service spoke to one patient who had undergone the treatment, who told them: "I wanted to feel more confident in my swimming briefs". The 30-year-old said his first session of several was two months ago, and he had since seen a definite change in the shade. 'What for?' The original Facebook post from the clinic offering the treatment, which uses lasers to break do

Myanmar Villagers Tell of 150 Homes Burned in Deadly Army Air Attacks

Artillery fire and aerial bombardments by Myanmar forces killed three civilians and burned scores of houses in their communities in mid-March amid fighting between Myanmar forces and the rebel Arakan Army in war-ravaged Rakhine state, villagers recounted Monday at a press conference. Villagers from Kyauktaw township in western Myanmar's Rakhine state discuss the government military's attacks on their communities at press conference in Sittwe, March 30, 2020. They made the comments after traveling from in Kyauktaw township to the state capital Sittwe to give testimony on a series of attacks on civilian dwellings amid a government-imposed internet shutdown in nine townships in Rakhine and neighboring Chin state, cutting off vital information about the fighting. They villagers accused the Myanmar Army of conducting an aerial bombing on civilian communities that destroyed about 150 homes and a monastery in Pyaing Taing village, while government soldiers on the g