- My Interpretation
- The twin theories of BN's hive mind
- [VIDEO] Faizal Tahir, Yassin Muncul Dengan Video Klip ‘Berani’
- မိတၳီလာ ပဋိပကၡမွာ ထင္ထင္ရွားရွားျဖစ္ခဲ့သူႏွစ္ဦး-ဦးဇင္းပိန္နဲ႔ ဦးဇင္းပု
- Musa Hassan: Kempen Politik Guna Video Lucah Tindakan Jenayah
- Malaysia's Opposition Banks On New Economic Deal
- Radio Australia: Political Scientist Opines East Malaysians Won't Be Taken For Granted In GE!3
- မီးေလာင္ရာ ေလပင့္ေပးသူမ်ား စစ္တပ္ကို ကိုယ္စားျပဳတယ္ေလ
- Stirring up hatred through social media
- Meretas Publisitas Cipto Junaedy
- Pakatan Leads In Almost Half Of Johor Targeted Seats
- BN Bakal Tumbang? Majlis Profesor Negara Mesyuarat Tergempar
- Suu Kyi’s fading glory
- Land grabbing as big business in Myanmar
- Doublespeak on Myanmar’s Rohingya
- China counter-pivots on Myanmar
- No clear path to Suu Kyi victory
- BN's Kepala Batas Could Fall To PAS
- [VIDEO] 15,000 Rakyat Sabah Sambut Anwar, Jalan Terpaksa Ditutup
- Race on for ports, pipelines in Myanmar
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:35 AM PDT
Since writing THIS POST yesterday, I have been immersing myself in Wanting Qu's music ...such a talented young lady. Her melody lines and chord progressions are simply terrific, unusual and absolutely haunting. After I had my dinner, I decided to record a cover version of 'Drenched'.
I downloaded a voice recorder from Google Play and recorded it via my handphone, prepared the slides, edited the slides and transitions, uploaded it into YouTube. I recorded it three times and the slides, editing etc. took a much longer time than the singing...here it is...my version of Drenched purely for the love of music, especially Wanting Qu's music and voice.....
When minutes become hours
When days become years
And I dont know where you are
Color seems so dull without you
Have we lost our minds?
What have we done?
But it all doesnt seem to matter anymore
When you kissed me on that street, I kissed you back
You held me in your arms, I held you in mine
You picked me up to lay me down
When I look into your eyes
I can hear you cry for a little bit more of you and I
Im drenched in your love
Im no longer able to hold it back
Is it too late to ask for love?
Is it wrong to feel right?
When the world is winding down
Thoughts of you linger around
Have we lost our minds?
What have we done?
But it all doesnt seem to matter anymore
When you kissed me on that street, I kissed you back
You held me in your arms, I held you in mine
You picked me up to lay me down
When I look into your eyes
I can hear you cry for a little bit more of you and I
Im drenched in your love
Im no longer able to hold it back
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 09:14 AM PDT
We have 6 more days to go to polling date for the grand Malaysian general elections series no. 13.
I would like to venture two theories stemming from how BN conducts its campaign in the way it does during this campaign cycle.
Some of the recent (and not so recent accusations):
(a) UMNO accuses PAS for selling out Malay and Muslim to DAP.
(b) MCA accuses DAP of selling out non-Malay-Muslims to PAS.
Two totally incompatible, opposing ideas. Only one can be true, or none at all.
(c) If Pakatan comes to power, there will chaos, share market will tank, and our economy will collapse.
(d) Pakatan will unravel, they are not united and it will be impossible to hold together after they win.
Yet no such failure in the 5 states that Pakatan controlled since 2008. And their manifesto, copied by BN, shows a better grasp at solving our economic malaise at the core.
(e) Lim Kit Siang caused May 13, pissed on some flag pole to provoke Malays.
If that were the case, and Kit Siang never held federal power, and no one in the federal government is indebted to him, he would have been locked up under ISA for the longest time and will still be rotting in Kamunting today.
The above statements represent the most skewed, unfair, and false characterisation of t he opposition and its leaders. They are hurtful, inciting and dangerous, and are being churned out on BN controlled tv, radio, print, political rallies and pamphlets on daily basis.
If you talk to BN politicians close up, don't they socialise with you just like any other humans would? Why is it that they turn into this cynical creatures who are able to make very false statements, on a campaign trail?
The reason is simple. They are afraid of losing. And it is not the kind of "afraid" that if you fail this time you can get back up again and try another time. They are afraid to the power of infinity because if they fail, they (as in this batch of BN politicians) will never get up again. It's their Waterloo.
Question is, why? The answer is patently clear. The system is corrupt, so much so that if the coalition that wins power comes in and replace bureaucrat with their supporters, BN in opposition will never, for the longest time, see power again.
Therefore, the first theory to BN's hive mind is:
BN's degree of political viciousness is proportionate to the degree of their fear of losing federal power.
The more vicious, the more they fear. It has nothing to do with what Pakatan will do with the economy, or with Hudud, or with Christianity. It is what they think Pakatan will do as their replacement and substitute, working the system they have built to "perfection". My deduction is, therefore, they are very afraid.
We are not like the United States, or the UK, where the media is relatively balanced. In those political arenas, battles are also hard fought, but once they finish fighting, they kiss and make up, close a chapter, and move on with life to fight another good fight. BN clearly feels they are unable to do this because of the system that they have created. There is no surviving this general elections for them.
Therefore, the second theory is:
BN's degree of fear of losing federal power is proportionate to the degree of their real appreciation of the state of corruption of our national institutions of governance, rule of law and decency.
As you can see, this second theory confirms that contrary to BN's pronouncements that all is well and "reformed" with our national institutions, they are really really afraid that those institutions are beyond repair, and will come back to haunt them for the longest time.
But clearly, they are wrong. The political reformation that Pakatan will bring about will ensure that there is genuine political space for BN in opposition.We the people do not vote out a tyrant to get another tyrant.
Therefore, to those who have been clinging on to BN for the past 55 years, thank you for showing that loyalty pays to some extent. Stable government, unified government, does provide some semblance of uniform development. But within the 55 years, we also have had at least 25-30 years of grand corruption and systemic systems failure. The system no longer works. Some baby boomers knew it, and moved overseas. Generation X - the pace picks up. Generation Y just think it as natural to work overseas. Yet by Generation Y, Malaysia finally achieves the critical mass for young social media savvy people to do something about our sorry state of affairs. Time is right. The confluence of forces such as Anwar Ibrahim treatment, Altantuya, Teo Beng Hock etc. sickens people to the core. Politicising education is a cardinal sin. Unrelenting corruption scandals sap at the very soul of the nation, where ordinary people look at BN leaders and see thieves and robbers. Why do you think our crime rate has gone up despite all pretences and massaged statistics showing otherwise?
Sentimental value is a warm attribute to have. But we should be clear what we want to be sentimental about. Are we sentimental about the institution called BN, or the individual leaders that have come and gone in a couple of cycles?
The concept called BN is actually not afraid. BN will stay BN rain or shine or tsunami. It may lose a few parties, and some parties may well merge, but it will never lose its Dacing. Those are experiments waiting to happen if only BN is in the opposition.
It is the current crop of BN leaders that are most afraid. If they don't secure federal power, their generation will no longer enjoy the spoils and obscene riches of political power. And the spoils that they have enjoyed for the past 30 years may yet be reclaimed.
Therefore I call upon those who remain sentimental to the BN cause to hear this: we all have some sentimental attachment to BN because it's been around forever that we've never known another government. But we can no longer live with this bunch of BN leaders who are self serving and who are bringing us to the verge of national bankruptcy yet at the same time profiteering all the way to offshore accounts. We can continue to love BN because the institution will survive, while BN rehabilitates in His Majesty's Opposition bench. New leaders will rise - clean, visionary, dynamic, dedicated leaders. Hopefully they have an alternative vision which is both a break from old BN, and even a break from Pakatan model, and is prepared to take Malaysia to the next level of evolution after the Pakatan reformasi.
But for now, we must change.
In the next few days, just remember this.
The more BN's attack seems vicious to you, the more they are afraid.
The more they are afraid, the more it confirms that in their minds, the system no longer works fairly or has any checks and balances.
With those conclusions firmly in mind, we can reminisce about BN's glorious past, but know in our hearts that we must vote for a better tomorrow with Pakatan, for the sake of our children.
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 11:13 AM PDT
Penyanyi popular, Faizal Tahir dan Yassin Sulaiman, muncul dengan video klip berjudul 'Berani' yang kini mulai mendapat sambutan di kalangan pengguna internet.
Meskipun tidak menyebut secara langsung, namun ramai menganggap lagu dengan tema perjuangan itu didedikasikan khusus kepada perjuangan Pakatan Rakyat.
Antara bait liriknya berbunyi 'Bagai deras sungai setelah hujan, tak putus walau dibelah seribu pedang. Mengalir bagaikan ia kepastian, takkan terhalang. Berani kerana aku benar, tiada apa harus ku takutkan, berdiri teguh..,"
Kemunculan dua artis ini dengan lagu bertema perjuangan, ketika kempen pilihan raya umum semakin rancak, sedikit sebanyak dilihat menambahkan moral penyokong Pakatan.
Ini kerana kedua-duanya sebelum ini dikatakan cenderung menyokong Pakatan, meskipun tidak mengisytiharkan sokongan secara terbuka, kecuali Yassin yang dilantik sebagai duta rasmi untuk kempen Angkatan Muda KEADILAN (AMK)
Februari lalu, Yassin membuat persembahan dalam majlis pelancaran manifesto Pakatan Rakyat, menyampaikan dua lagu berjudul 'Menuju Putrajaya dan 'reformasi', manakala Faizal pula mengiringi nyanyiannya sebagai pemain gitar.
Bidas kenyataan Norman
Dalam perkembangan lain, Faizal di laman Twitternya baru-baru ini membidas pendapat mengatakan industri perfileman akan hancur jika kepimpinan negara bertukar tangan.
Beliau dipercayai menujukan kata-kata itu kepada penerbit filem dan anggota kumpulan KRU, Norman Abdul Halim.
Norman dalam twitternya menulis sekiranya Pas berkuasa, industri filem dan muzik di negara ini akan hancur, malah pengeluaran filem dan muzik antarabangsa juga akan terjejas.
Ia disanggah Faizal yang menyifatkan kenyataan itu sebagai jenaka, dan menegaskan umat Islam wajib percaya bahawa 'rezeki datang dari Allah'.
Malah Faizal juga secara sinis menjawab tweet dari Ketua Unit Media Baru Umno, Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz yang dilihat tidak senang dengan kritikannya.
Selain Norman, turut menjadi kritikan penyokong Pakatan adalah kenyataan daripada pelakon 90 an yang tidak lagi popular, Azhar Sulaiman, apabila menuduh pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat dengan skandal video seks.
Menerusi video di Youtube, Azhar membuat kenyataan kurang bijak apabila mengatakan 'sanggup disambar petir' jika video fitnah yang dikaitkan dengan pimpinan Pakatan itu tidak benar.
Ketika rakyat kini mula membandingkan dasar yang ditawarkan Pakatan dan Barisan Nasional, Azhar hanya mampu mengitar semula kempen kotor Umno BN.
Sebaliknya beliau tidak pula bersuara apabila parti itu kini giat berkempen menayangkan video lucah dalam kempennya kepada masyarakat.
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 07:28 AM PDT
မိတၳီလာ ပဋိပကၡမွာ ထင္ထင္ရွားရွားျဖစ္ခဲ့သူ
သဃၤန္းစီးထားတာျခင္းတူေပ မဲ့ ဦးဇင္းပိန္နဲ႔ ဦးဇင္းပု တို႔ ကြာျခားခ်က္ကေတာ့
(လက္ရွိေတာ့ ဦးဇင္းပု တေယာက္-သူ့တပည့္ရင္း မ်ားရွိရာ ေနျပည္ေတာ္မွာ တိမ္းေရွာင္ခိုေအာင္းေနသလို-
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 08:28 AM PDT
Bekas Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Seri Musa Hassan berkata, tindakan mengedar dan menayang video lucah di khalayak terbuka sebagai kempen politik boleh didakwa di bawah Kanun Keseksaan.
"Tak boleh jual, tak boleh edar. Kalau ditunjukkan di khalayak ramai, di hadapan kanak-kanak dan sebagainya, ini satu kesalahan di bawah Kanun Keseksaan," katanya pada sidang media di sebuah hotel di ibu negara, hari ini.
Beliau mengulas tindakan menayang video lucah dalam satu program ceramah BN yang dipercayai diadakan di sebuah negeri di pantai timur, minggu lalu.
Program ceramah tersebut dimulakan dengan ucapan menghentam pucuk pimpinan PAS, sebelum rakaman klip video seks itu ditayang kepada orang ramai, termasuk kanak-kanak.
Manakala di kawasan Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Chempaka, di Pandan ada pihak tidak bertanggungjawab mengedar VCD seks fitnah yang mencemarkan pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat tertentu.
"Ia adalah kesalahan di bawah undang-undang jenayah. Kempen begini tak sepatutnya berlaku," tegas Musa.
Dalam pada itu, Musa yang kini Penasihat Majlis Keselamatan Pakatan Rakyat berpesan agar institusi polis bersikap neutral ketika berhadapan dengan pelbagai pihak sepanjang kempen Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13.
"Polis tak boleh benarkan parti politik ceramah bersebelahan. Polis mesti bersikap neutral. Saya nasihatkan mereka berlaku adil. Jangan menyebelahi mana-mana pihak.
"Perkara ini sendiri disebut oleh Ketua Polis Negara (Tan Sri Ismail Omar). Semua orang kena cool head (bertenang). Jangan mulakan provokasi," kata Musa.
Beliau turut menyelar pihak yang menggunakan taktik perkauman untuk memancing undi.
"Rakyat kini sudah matang. Mereka tak mahu huru-hara. Ekonomi negara akan mundur 10 tahun dan perkara itu sesiapa pun tak mahu. Kena saling hormat masyarakat Malaysia yang berbilang kaum," kata Musa. -KD
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 05:14 AM PDT
Malaysia's opposition banks on new economic deal
Malaysia's opposition banks on new economic formula to oust long-ruling power in May 5 polls
By Eileen Ng, Associated Press | Associated Press –
View PhotoAssociated Press -
Motorists drive underneath flags of Malaysia's ruling party National
Front, opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party and People's Justice Party
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 04:52 AM PDT
Malaysia's Sabah and Sarawak won't be taken for granted in GE13
Updated 26 April 2013, 21:42 AEST
A week out from general elections in
Malaysia, and the latest opinion survey puts the Malaysian Opposition
slightly ahead the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition
Malaysia's Sabah and Sarawak won't be taken for granted in GE13 (Credit: ABC)
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 04:31 AM PDT
မီးေလာင္ရာ ေလပင့္ေပးသူမ်ား မြန္မြန္ျမတ္| April 29, 2013
တာဝန္မဲ့ အြန္လိုင္းကြန္ယက္မ်ားႏွင့္ ၀က္ဆိုက္မ်ားက မုန္းတီးမႈႏွင့္ အဖ်က္လုပ္ငန္းမ်ား တိုးပြားလာေအာင္ မီးေလာင္ရာ ေလပင့္ခဲ့ၾကသည္။
မၾကာမီက လြတ္လပ္ခြင့္ရလာေသာ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ၏ အင္တာနက္မွ ၀က္ဆိုက္ႏွင့္ လူမႈကြန္ယက္ စာမ်က္ႏွာမ်ားတြင္ ယခုအခါ ၀ါဒျဖန္႔ခ်ီေရးက ေရွာင္မလြတ္ႏိုင္ေအာင္ ျဖစ္လာေနသည္။ တပ္မေတာ္ကို ေထာက္ခံျခင္း သို႔မဟုတ္ မူဆလင္မ်ားကို အလံုးစံုဆန္႔က်င္ျခင္း၊ မီဒီယာမ်ားကို တိုက္ခိုက္ျခင္းႏွင့္ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ကို ဆဲဆိုေ၀ဖန္ျခင္းတို႔က Facebook စာမ်က္ႏွာမ်ားႏွင့္ ဘေလာ့ဂ္မ်ားေပၚတြင္ျပည့္ႏွက္ေနသည္။
ဤလမ္းေၾကာင္းကို မည္သူေတြက ဖန္တီးလုပ္ကိုင္ေနၾကသည္ ဆိုျခင္းကို တိတိက်က် သိရွိရန္ မျဖစ္ႏိုင္ေသာ္လည္း ပါ၀င္ေသာ အေၾကာင္းအရာႏွင့္ ႐ုပ္ပံုေတြက ေရးသားသူမ်ားကို မွန္းဆႏိုင္ဖို႔ သဲလြန္စေတြ ထုတ္ေပးထားသည္။ အမ်ားစုက ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္အလံ၏ ပံုရိပ္ကို သံုးေလ့ရွိၾကၿပီး က်န္သည့္သူေတြကေတာ့ ျပင္ဦးလြင္ စစ္တကၠသိုလ္ အ၀င္၀တြင္ထားရွိေသာ စစ္ဘုရင္တပါး၏ ရုပ္ထုပံုကို ႏွစ္ခ်ိဳက္စြာ အသံုးျပဳၾကသည္။
မ်က္ျမင္သိႏိုင္သည့္ အေၾကာင္းအရာ မဟုတ္ေသာ္လည္း သူ႔အေနျဖင့္ ထို၀က္ဆိုတ္အမ်ားစုကို စစ္ဖက္က လုပ္ကိုင္ေနသည္ဟု ခံစားရေၾကာင္း ၂၀၀၇ ခုႏွစ္ ေရႊ၀ါေရာင္ေတာ္လွန္ေရးတြင္ ပါ၀င္ခဲ့ေသာ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ ဘုန္းေတာ္ႀကီး ဦးအာစရိယက ေျပာသည္။
"စစ္ဘုရင္ေတြဆိုတာ စစ္တပ္ကို ကိုယ္စားျပဳတယ္ေလ၊ ဒီေတာ့ သူတို႔ေတြက စစ္တပ္နဲ႔ တနည္းနည္းနဲ႔ ပတ္သက္မႈ ရွိရမယ္" ဟု သူက ဆို၏။Myanmar ICT for Development Organisation ၏ အမႈေဆာင္ ညႊန္ၾကားေရးမႈး ျဖစ္ၿပီး ဘေလာ့ဂါ တဦးလည္းျဖစ္သူ ေနဘုန္းလတ္က ဘေလာ့ဂ္ အမ်ားအျပားသည္ အစိုးရ ၀ါဒျဖန္႔ခ်ီေရး လမ္းေၾကာင္းမ်ားျဖစ္သည္ဟု ယံုၾကည္ ေၾကာင္း ေျပာသည္။ အခ်ိဳ႕ေသာ အုပ္စုမ်ားသည္ သတင္းအခ်က္အလက္မ်ားကို အင္တာနက္ေပၚသို႔ လွ်င္ျမန္စြာ တင္ပို႔ ျဖန္႔ခ်ီႏိုင္ၾကသည္မွာ သံသယျဖစ္ဖြယ္ ေကာင္းသည္ဟု သူကဆို၏။ အထူးသျဖင့္ ဆူပူမႈျဖစ္ေစရန္လံႈ႕ေဆာ္ေသာ အေၾကာင္းအရာမ်ားျဖစ္သည္။
"အဲဒီဆိုက္ေတြမွာ ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္အလံနဲ႔ ေနျပည္ေတာ္ရဲ႕ဓါတ္ပံုေတြ တင္ထားၾကတယ္။ ေနာက္ၿပီး သူတို႔ရဲ႕ သတင္းအမ်ားစုက အစိုးရ ၀က္ဆိုက္ေတြကသတင္းေတြ"ဟု ေနဘုန္းလတ္က ေျပာသည္။
သံသယျဖစ္ဖြယ္ေကာင္းသည္မွာ မွန္ေသာ္လည္း ထို၀က္ဆိုက္မ်ား၏ ေနာက္ကြယ္တြင္ မည္သူရွိေနသည္ကို တိက်စြာ သက္ေသျပရန္ ခက္ခဲေနေသးသည္ဟုလည္း ဆိုသည္။
"ဒီအဖြဲ႕ေတြက လမ္းေၾကာင္း ႏွစ္ခုကိုသံုးတယ္၊ ပထမတခုက လူမ်ိဳးေရး ဘာသာေရးအုပ္စုေတြၾကားမွာ ပဋိပကၡေတြ ျဖစ္ေအာင္ ေသြးထိုးလံႈ႕ေဆာ္တဲ႔ သတင္းအခ်က္အလက္ေတြ ျဖန္႔ဖို႔၊ ေနာက္တခုက သူတို႔ကို ေထာက္ခံအားေပးတဲ့သူေတြနဲ႔ ဆက္သြယ္ဖို႔သံုးတယ္" ဟု သူက ဆက္ေျပာသည္။
ေရးသူ မသိရွိရသည့္ ၀က္ဆိုက္ ၁၀ခုကို အလြတ္သေဘာ ေလ့လာၾကည့္သည့္အခါ ထိုဆိုက္အားလံုးတြင္ စစ္တပ္ကိုေထာက္ခံျခင္း၊ မူဆလင္ဆန္႔က်င္ေရးႏွင့္ ႏိုင္ငံေရးအတိုက္အခံမ်ားကို ဆန္႔က်င္တိုက္ခိုက္ျခင္း စေသာ အေၾကာင္းအရာမ်ား ပါ၀င္ၾကသည္။ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္၊ မင္းကိုႏိုင္၊ ၈၈ မ်ိဳးဆက္ေက်ာင္းသားမ်ားအဖြဲ႕ႏွင့္ အျခား ၾသဇာရွိေသာ လူ႕အခြင့္အေရးလႈပ္ရွားသူမ်ားမွာ သူတို႔ အဓိကထားၿပီး ေျပာဆို တိုက္ခိုက္ျခင္း ခံၾကရသူမ်ားျဖစ္သည္။
၀င္ေရာက္ၾကည့္႐ွဳသူမ်ားကို ဆြဲေဆာင္ႏိုင္ရန္အတြက္ ၎၀က္ဆိုက္မ်ားသည္ ညစ္ညမ္းဓါတ္ပံုႏွင့္ ႐ုပ္ရွင္မ်ား၊ အတင္းအဖ်င္းမ်ားႏွင့္ လိင္ကိစၥ ဦးစားေပးေသာ ေကာလဟာလမ်ားကို ေဖာ္ျပၾကသည္။ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ ေနအိမ္ အက်ယ္ခ်ဳပ္ခံရစဥ္အတြင္း ကေလးတေယာက္ေမြးခဲ့သည္ ဆိုေသာသတင္းမ်ိဳးသည္လည္း ထိုအထဲတြင္ တခု အပါအ၀င္ျဖစ္သည္။
လူသိမ်ားေသာ ၀က္ဆိုက္တခုမွာ Myanmarexpress.net ျဖစ္ၿပီး ၎ကို ၂၀၁၁ ခုႏွစ္ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ ေနအိမ္ အက်ယ္ခ်ိန္မွ လြတ္ေျမာက္လာသည္ႏွင့္ မေရွးမေႏွာင္းမွာ တည္ေထာင္ခဲ့ျခင္းျဖစ္သည္။ ႐ုရွားႏိုင္ငံ ေမာ္စကိုၿမိဳ႕တြင္ မွတ္ပံုတင္ထားေသာ ထို၀က္ဆိုက္အား စတင္ ဖန္တီးခဲ့ခ်ိန္မွစ၍ အႀကိမ္ေရ ၂၂သန္းေက်ာ္ ၀င္ေရာက္ၾကည့္ရႈမႈ ရွိခဲ့သည္။
ထိုသို႔ေသာ ၀က္ဆိုက္မ်ား၏ ေနာက္တြင္ စစ္တပ္ရွိေနႏိုင္သည္ဆိုသည့္ ယူဆခ်က္ကို ပိုမိုေလးနက္ေစသည့္ အေၾကာင္းတခုမွာ သတင္း နည္းပညာႏွင့္ ပတ္သက္၍ အဆင့္ျမင့္သင္တန္းမ်ား တက္ေရာက္ထားသူ အေျမာက္အမ်ား တပ္မေတာ္တြင္းမွာ ရွိေနေသာေၾကာင့္ျဖစ္သည္။
အစိုးရ၏ သိပၸံႏွင့္ နည္းပညာ၀န္ႀကီးဌာနသည္ ႐ုရွားတကၠသိုလ္မ်ားတြင္ ပညာသင္ၾကားရန္ ၂၀၀၁ ခုႏွစ္မွစ၍ ၂၀၁၀-၂၀၁၁ စာသင္ႏွစ္အထိ ႏွစ္စဥ္ လူငါးရာခန္႔ ေစလႊတ္ေၾကာင္း Anton Khlopkov ႏွင့္ Dmitry Konukhov တို႔က ၂၀၁၁ခုႏွစ္ထုတ္ Nuclear Club journal ဂ်ာနယ္တြင္ေရး သားေသာ "႐ုရွား၊ ျမန္မာႏွင့္ ႏ်ဴကလီယား နည္းပညာ" ေဆာင္းပါးတြင္ ေဖာ္ျပထားသည္။ ႐ုရွားတကၠသိုလ္မ်ားသို႕ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံမွ ေက်ာင္းသားေစလႊတ္မႈက အျခားေသာႏိုင္ငံမ်ား ထက္ ပို၍မ်ားသည္။
ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ၏ ထိပ္တန္းနည္းပညာေက်ာင္းမ်ားမွ ဘြဲ႔ရရွိသူမ်ားရွိေနေသာ္လည္း ႐ုရွားတြင္ ပညာသင္ၾကားရန္ ေစလႊတ္ျခင္း ခံရသူ အမ်ားစုမွ စစ္ဖက္မွ ဗိုလ္ႏွင့္ ဗိုလ္ႀကီးအဆင့္ အရာရွိမ်ားသာျဖစ္သည္ဟု သတင္းမ်ားက ဆိုသည္။
စိုင္းသိန္း၀င္းသည္ စစ္တပ္မွ ဗိုလ္မွဴးေဟာင္းတေယာက္ျဖစ္ၿပီး အစိုးရ၏ သံသယျဖစ္ဖြယ္ရာ ႏ်ဴကလီးယားလက္နက္ အစီအမံမ်ားကို ကမာၻသိေအာင္ ဖြင့္ဟထုတ္ေဖၚေျပာ၍ ၂၀၁၀ တြင္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံမွ ထြက္ေျပးခဲ့သူျဖစ္သည္။ ယခုအခါ ေနာ္ေ၀ႏိုင္ငံ၌ ေနထိုင္ေသာ စိုင္းသိန္း၀င္းက ၂၀၁၁ က သူ၏ အီးေမးလ္ကို ေဖာက္ထြင္း၀င္ေရာက္ခံလိုက္ရၿပီးေနာက္ သူ၏ ပုဂၢိဳလ္ေရးအခ်က္အလက္မ်ားကို Myanmarexpress.net တြင္ ေဖာ္ျပထားသည္ကို ေတြ႔ရေၾကာင္း ေျပာသည္။
သူ၏ နည္းပညာ ကၽြမ္းက်င္မႈကို အသံုးျပဳ၍ ေဖာက္ထြင္း၀င္ေရာက္သူကို ေျခရာခံေထာက္လွမ္းခဲ့ရာ စစ္ဖက္က လူတေယာက္ ျဖစ္ေနသည္ကို ေတြ႔ရေၾကာင္း စိုင္းသိန္း၀င္းကေျပာသည္။
"အဲဒီလူက ႐ုရွားမွာ ေက်ာင္းတက္သြားတဲ့ စစ္တပ္ အရာရွိတေယာက္ပါ၊ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံကေန သူ အသံုးျပဳတဲ႔ IP လိပ္စာကိုပါ က်ေနာ္ေျပာျပႏိုင္ပါတယ္" ဟု သူကဆိုသည္။
စိုင္းသိန္း၀င္းက Myanmar Express ႏွင့္ Opposite Eyes ကဲ့သို႔ေသာ ၀က္ဆိုက္မ်ားသည္ အစိုးရ အဖြဲ႔အစည္းမ်ားႏွင့္ ဆက္သြယ္မႈ ရွိသည္ ဆိုသည္မွာ အလြန္သိသာေၾကာင္း ဆက္ေျပာသည္။
"သူတို႔ဆီမွာတင္ေနတဲ႔ ဓာတ္ပံုေတြ သတင္းအခ်က္အလက္ေတြက အျပင္မွာမရွိဘဲ ရဲဖက္ နဲ႔ စစ္ဖက္မွာပဲ ရႏိုင္မယ့္ဟာမ်ိဳးေတြ၊ ဒီလိုဆိုက္ေတြကို တည္ေထာင္ရတဲ့ ရည္ရြယ္ခ်က္က ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္လုိ၊ ၈၈ မ်ိဳးဆက္ ေက်ာင္းသားမ်ားအဖြဲ႔လို ပုဂၢိဳလ္မ်ိဳးေတြအေပၚမွာ လူထုအျမင္ ဆန္႔က်င္ဖက္ ေျပာင္းသြားေအာင္လုပ္ဖို႔ပဲ၊ ရခိုင္လိုမ်ိဳး မိတၳီလာလိုမ်ိဳး ဘာသာေရး ပဋိပကၡေတြ ျဖစ္လာရင္လည္း ပိုႀကီးထြားေအာင္၀င္ေမႊ ၾကတယ္" ဟု စိုင္းသိန္း၀င္းက ဆိုသည္။
ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ အေနာက္ဖက္ ေ၀းလံေခါင္ဖ်ားေသာ ေက်ာက္နီေမာ္ရြာတြင္ ရခိုင္အမ်ိဳးသမီးတေယာက္ကို မူဆလင္ေယာက်ၤားတစုက အဓမၼျပဳက်င့္ၿပီးေနာက္ သတ္ျဖတ္လိုက္ေသာ မႈခင္းတခု ၂၀၁၂ ခုႏွစ္တြင္ ျဖစ္ပြားခဲ့သည္။ အစိုးရဖက္က တရား၀င္ သတင္းမထုတ္ျပန္မွီ အခ်ိန္မ်ားစြာေစာၿပီး မေရတြက္ႏိုင္ေသာ ၀က္ဆိုက္မ်ားတြင္ ထိုသတင္းကို ေဖာ္ျပေနၾကၿပီျဖစ္သည္။
ေသဆံုးသြားေသာ မိန္းကေလး၏ ဓါတ္ပံုတပံုကိုလည္း မူရင္းဇစ္ျမစ္ကို တိက်စြာ ေဖာ္ျပႏိုင္ျခင္းမရွိဘဲ တင္ခဲ့ၾကသည္။
ေသခ်ာေစေသာအခ်က္တခုမွာ ထိုသို႔ ေဖာ္ျပလိုက္ၾကၿပီး တပတ္မွ်မၾကာမွီ အခ်ိန္အတြင္း ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္ ေတာင္ကုတ္ၿမိဳ႕နယ္အတြင္း ေနာက္ထပ္မႈခင္းတရပ္ ျဖစ္ပြားသြားခဲ့သည္။ ေဒါသမီး ေတာက္ေလာင္ေနေသာ လူတစုက လက္စားေခ်သည့္အေနျဖင့္ မူဆလင္ ဘုရားဖူး ၁၀ ေယာက္ကို ရက္စက္စြာ သတ္ျဖတ္ပစ္လိုက္ၾကသည္။ ထိုျဖစ္ရပ္က ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္အတြင္းတြင္ ဗုဒၶဘာသာႏွင့္ မူဆလင္မ်ား ပဋိပကၡ အႀကီးအက်ယ္ ျဖစ္ပြားသြားေစခဲ့သည္။
အဓိက႐ုဏ္း စတင္ျဖစ္ပြားခ်ိန္မွ စ၍ လူ ၂၀၀ ခန္႔ အသက္ဆံုး႐ံႈးခဲ့ရၿပီး မေရမတြက္ႏိုင္ေသာ ဒဏ္ရာရသူမ်ား ရွိခဲ့ကာ လူ ၇၀၀၀၀ ေက်ာ္ အိုးအိမ္မဲ့ျဖစ္ခဲ့ရသည္။ လူေနအိမ္ ၁၆၀၀၀ လံုး၊ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ ဘုန္းႀကီးေက်ာင္း ၁၄ ေက်ာင္း၊ ဗလီ ၄၅ ခုႏွင့္ စာသင္ေက်ာင္း ၃ ေက်ာင္း ၿပိဳလဲပ်က္စီးခဲ့ရသည္။
ထိုအေၾကာင္းအရာ အားလံုးကို အြန္လိုင္းကြန္ယက္မ်ားႏွင့္ ၀က္ဆိုက္မ်ားတြင္ ေဖာ္ျပၿပီး မုန္းတီးမႈႏွင့္ အယံုအၾကည္ ကင္းမဲ့မႈေတြ တိုးပြားလာေအာင္ မီးေလာင္ရာ ေလပင့္ခဲ့ၾကသည္။
အင္တာနက္ေပၚမွ ရန္ဘက္မ်ားႏွင့္ အတူယွဥ္တြဲကာ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ ဘုန္းေတာ္ႀကီး ဦး၀ီရသူကလည္း သူ၏ မူဆလင္ ဆန္႔က်င္ေရး ၀ါဒျဖန္႔မႈမ်ားကို ျမွင့္တင္ေဆာင္႐ြက္ရန္ စိတ္အားထက္သန္လာသည္။ ဘာသာေရး ပဋိပကၡမ်ား ျဖစ္ပြားေစရန္ ေသြးထိုးလံႈ႕ေဆာ္မႈျဖင့္ ၂၀၀၃ ခုႏွစ္က ဖမ္းဆီးျခင္းခံခဲ့ရေသာ ဦး၀ီရသူသည္ ၂၀၁၂ ခုႏွစ္တြင္ လြတ္ၿငိမ္း ခ်မ္းသာခြင့္ႏွင့္ ျပန္လည္လြတ္ေျမာက္လာခဲ့သည္။ ဦး၀ီရသူသည္ လတ္တေလာ ေခတ္စားေနသည့္ ၉၆၉ လႈပ္ရွားမႈကို ဖန္တီးသူလည္းျဖစ္သည္။ ၉၆၉ ဆိုသည့္ ကိန္းဂဏန္းမ်ားသည္ ဗုဒၶ၊ ဓမၼႏွင့္ သံဃာကို ကိုယ္စားျပဳေၾကာင္း သူကေျပာသည္။
ပို၍အေရးႀကီးေသာအခ်က္မွာ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံတြင္းရွိ မူဆလင္အသိုင္းအ၀ိုင္းက သံုးစြဲေသာ ၇၈၆ ဆိုသည့္ သေကၤတကို တုန္႔ျပန္ရန္ျဖစ္သည္ဟု သူကဆိုသည္။
ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံလံုးဆိုင္ရာ မူဆလင္အဖြဲ႕၏ အေထြေထြအတြင္းေရးမွဴး ဦးေက်ာ္စိုးကမူ ၇၈၆ ဆိုေသာဂဏန္းသည္ "ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံက မူဆလင္ အသိုင္းအ၀ိုင္းၾကားမွာ လူႀကိဳက္မ်ားတဲ့ ကံေကာင္းေစတဲ့ ဂဏန္းတခု သက္သက္ပါ" ဟု ေျပာသည္။
ေနာက္ဆံုးျဖစ္ခဲ့ေသာ မိတၳီလာျဖစ္ရပ္ မတိုင္မီကာလကတည္းက ဒုကၡေရာက္ေတာ့မွာ သတိထားမိခဲ့ေၾကာင္း ဦးေက်ာ္စိုးက ေျပာသည္။ ပဋိပကၡမ်ားသည္ မူဆလင္ဆန္႔က်င္ေရး စိတ္ဓါတ္မ်ား ျပည္သူမ်ား ၾကားတြင္ပ်ံ႕ပြားေစရန္ လံႈ႔ေဆာ္ လုပ္ေဆာင္ခဲ့ျခင္းေၾကာင့္ ျဖစ္သည္ကို ယံုၾကည္ေၾကာင္းႏွင့္ ၎အေနျဖင့္ မူဆလင္မ်ားကို ဆူပူမႈ ပဋိပကၡမ်ားႏွင့္ ေ၀းေ၀းေနၾကရန္ သတိေပးခဲ့ေၾကာင္း ဦးေက်ာ္စိုးက ေျပာျပသည္။
ယခုႏွစ္ဆန္းပိုင္းတြင္ မြန္ျပည္နယ္မွ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ ဘုန္းႀကီးအခ်ိဳ႕သည္ ၉၆၉ ေခါင္းစီးေအာက္တြင္ မူဆလင္ဆန္႔က်င္ေရး လႈပ္ရွားမႈ ေဆာင္ရြက္ရန္ စုစည္းခဲ့ၾကသည္။ ဘာသာေရးဆိုင္ရာ ေဟာေျပာခ်က္မ်ား၊ DVD ခ်ပ္မ်ားႏွင့္ စတစ္ကာမ်ားကို အသံုးျပဳ၍ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ၀င္မ်ားအေနျဖင့္ ဗုဒၶဘာသာဆိုင္မ်ားတြင္သာ ေစ်း၀ယ္ၾကရန္၊ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ၀င္ခ်င္းသာ လက္ထပ္ထိမ္းျမားၾကရန္၊ ဗုဒၶဘာသာခ်င္းသာ ကူညီေထာက္ပံ့ေပးၾကရန္ စည္း႐ံုးလံႈ႕ေဆာ္ခဲ့ၾကသည္။
အစိုးရက ၉၆၉ လႈပ္ရွားမႈကို ဥေပကၡာျပဳခဲ့သည့္အတြက္ အံ့ၾသမိေၾကာင္းႏွင့္ ရန္လုိေသာ အသြင္ေဆာင္သည့္ လႈပ္ရွားမႈကို တုန္႔ျပန္ရန္ ဆႏၵရွိပံုမရေၾကာင္း ဦးအာစရိယက ေျပာသည္။
"သာသနာေရး၀န္ႀကီးဌာနက ဘာသာႏွစ္ခုၾကားမွာ တင္းမာမႈေတြျမင့္တက္လာေစတဲ့ လႈပ္ရွားမႈမ်ိဳးကို ခြင့္ျပဳထားတာ တကယ္ကို ထူးဆန္းပါတယ္" ဟု ဦးအာစရိယက သူ၏ အျမင္ကို ေျပာသည္။ "၂၀၀၇ ေရႊ၀ါေရာင္ေတာ္လွန္ေရးၿပီးေတာ့ ဘုန္းႀကီးတို႕ကို ဂ်ီေမးလ္ အေကာင့္ေလးတခု သံုးမိတဲ့အတြက္ ေထာင္ ၁၅ ႏွစ္ခ်တယ္။ အခု ေပၚေပၚထင္ထင္ မီးေမႊးေနတဲ့ မူဆလင္ဆန္႔က်င္ေရးလႈပ္ရွားမႈကိုက်ေတာ့ ဘာျဖစ္လို႔ အေရးမယူတာလဲ" ဟု သူက ေမးခြန္းထုတ္လိုက္သည္။
လူမ်ိဳးေရး၊ ဘာသာေရး ခြဲျခားဆန္႔က်င္သည့္ ကို ၉၆၉ လႈပ္ရွားမႈ၏ အေတြးအျမင္မ်ားပါ၀င္သည့္ ေဟာေျပာခ်က္မ်ား၊ DVD ခ်ပ္မ်ားကို အင္တာနက္၀က္ဆိုက္မ်ားမွ ေန၍ ကူညီ ပ်ံ႕ႏွံ႔ေစခဲ့ေၾကာင္း ဦးအာစရိယက ေျပာသည္။
"ႏိုင္ငံေရးနဲ႔ပတ္သက္ၿပီး ရည္႐ြယ္ခ်က္ရွိတဲ့ လူတစုက ဘာသာေရး အယူသီးတာကို အသံုးခ်ၿပီး ေသေသခ်ာခ်ာ အကြက္ခ် လုပ္ေဆာင္ခဲ့တဲ့ လုပ္ရပ္ပါ။ ဘုန္းႀကီးရဲ႕ ဒကာ၊ ဒကာမေတြကို ၾကားထဲကေန အသံုးခ်ခံ၊ အစေတးခံ ေတြ မျဖစ္ေစနဲ႔လို႔ သတိေပးခဲ့ရတယ္" ဟု သူကေျပာျပသည္။
ဦးေက်ာ္စိုးကလည္း သူ႔အေနျဖင့္ ေဖေဖာ္၀ါရီလအတြင္းက ရန္ကုန္တိုင္းေဒသႀကီး ၀န္ႀကီးခ်ဳပ္ဦးျမင့္ေဆြထံသို႔ စာေရးသားၿပီး ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕ေတာ္တြင္ လူမ်ိဳးေရးမုန္းတီးမႈႏွင့္ ပဋိပကၡမ်ား ျဖစ္ေပၚလာေစရန္ ေသြးထိုးလံႈ႔ေဆာ္ေနေသာ ဘာသာေရးအမည္ခံအဖြဲ႕မ်ားကို ဟန္႔တားေပးပါရန္ ေတာင္းဆိုခဲ့ေၾကာင္း ေျပာသည္။
"အစိုးရဖက္က ဒီလိုလႈပ္ရွားမႈေတြကို ထိန္းခ်ဳပ္ဖို႔ ဘာေၾကာင့္ မလုပ္ေဆာင္ခဲ့ရသလဲဆိုတာ က်ေနာ္ နားမလည္ဘူး။ ဒီအတြက္ တကယ္ စိတ္မေကာင္းျဖစ္ရပါတယ္" ဟု သူကဆိုသည္။
ဘေလာ့ဂါ ေနဘုန္းလတ္ကလည္း ယင္းကဲ့သို႔ ႀကိဳးကိုင္လႈပ္ရွားမႈမ်ားကို အစိုးရဖက္က ဘာေၾကာင့္ခြင့္ျပဳခဲ့သည္ ဆိုျခင္းကို မစဥ္းစားတတ္ေၾကာင္းေျပာသည္။
လူသတ္မႈ ႏွင့္ ႀကိဳးကိုင္ျခင္း
မိတၳီလာၿမိဳ႕တြင္ အဓိက႐ုဏ္းျဖစ္ပြားရသည့္ အေၾကာင္းရင္းသည္ မူဆလင္ေရႊဆိုင္ပိုင္ရွင္ႏွင့္ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ ေဖာက္သည္ႏွစ္ေယာက္တို႔ အေခ်အတင္ျဖစ္ရာမွ စတင္ခဲ့ျခင္းဟု အမ်ားကလက္ခံယံုၾကည္ၾကသည္။
သို႔ေသာ္ ႀကီးမားေသာ လူသတ္ပြဲႏွင့္ ပဋိပကၡဆီသို႔ တမဟုတ္ခ်င္း အရွိန္ျမင့္တက္သြားရျခင္းသည္ အင္တာနက္ေပၚမွ တို႔မီးရိႈ႕မီးမ်ား၏ ေက်းဇူးေၾကာင့္လို႔ပင္ ဆိုႏိုင္ပါသည္။ သူတို႔၏ ၀က္ဆိုက္မ်ားႏွင့္ ဘေလာ့ဂ္ေတြေပၚမွာ ရက္စက္ျခင္း ႏွင့္ မုန္းတီးမႈ အေၾကာင္းအရာေတြကို ေဖာ္ျပေပးၾကၿပီး ဇာတ္ရွိန္ျမင့္ေအာင္ ပို႔ေဆာင္ေပးၾကသည္။
ေရႊဆိုင္မွာျပႆနာျဖစ္ျပီး ဆယ္ရက္အတြင္းမွာပင္ ဆူပူမႈေတြက မိတၳီလာမွေန၍ အျခားၿမိဳ႕ ၁၄ ၿမိဳ႕ဆီအထိကူးစက္သြား သည္။ ဆူပူအၾကမ္းဖက္မႈမ်ားေၾကာင့္ လူ ၄၃ ဦးေသဆံုး၍ ၈၆ ဦးဒဏ္ရာရခဲ့သည္။ ဗလီမ်ား၊ ေက်ာင္းမ်ားႏွင့္ ေနအိမ္မ်ားအပါအ၀င္ အေဆာက္အဦး ၁၃၀၀ ေက်ာ္ပ်က္စီးဆံုး႐ံႈးခဲ့ရသည္။
ဆူပူမၿငိမ္သက္မႈမ်ားႏွင့္ ပတ္သက္၍ အစိုးရဖက္က လံုေလာက္ေသာ တုန္႔ျပန္မႈမ်ား ေဆာင္ရြက္ရန္ ပ်က္ကြက္ခဲ့ျခင္းသည္ ၎၏ ပါ၀င္ပတ္သက္မႈကို ေဖာ္ျပသည့္ သက္ေသျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း ဘေလာ့ဂါေနဘုန္းလတ္၊ ဦးေက်ာ္စိုးႏွင့္ ၈၈ မ်ိဳးဆက္ေက်ာင္းသားမ်ားအဖြဲ႔ေခါင္းေဆာင္ မင္းကိုႏိုင္တို႕က ယူဆၾကသည္။
ပဋိပကၡမ်ား ၿပီးၿပီးခ်င္း မိတၳီလာၿမိဳ႕ခံ မူဆလင္မ်ားႏွင့္သြားေရာက္ေတြ႔ဆံုေမးျမန္းခဲ့ေသာ ဦးေက်ာ္စိုးက " အၾကမ္းဖက္တဲ့ သူေတြကိုင္တဲ့ ဓားေတြက တပံုစံထဲပဲလို႔ မ်က္ျမင္သက္ေသေတြက ေျပာတယ္။ ႏွစ္ေပေလာက္ရွည္တဲ့ ဓားေတြ။ ေနာက္ၿပီး သူတို႔ေတြက အခ်င္းခ်င္း တေယာက္ကိုတေယာက္ ၀ီစီမႈတ္ၿပီး အခ်က္ေပးၾကတယ္။ ေသေသခ်ာခ်ာ ေလ့က်င့္ေပးထားတဲ့ သူေတြဆိုတာ ေသခ်ာပါတယ္" ဟုျပန္ေျပာျပသည္။
အဆိုပါ လူမ်ား၏ေနာက္ကြယ္ ကိုယ္ေယာင္ေဖ်ာက္ ႀကိဳးကိုင္ေနသူမ်ား ရွိေနသည့္ အခ်က္မွာ အလြန္ရွင္းလင္း ေၾကာင္း ဦးေက်ာ္စိုးကထပ္ေျပာသည္။
"သူတို႔က မူဆလင္ေတြကိုပဲ သတ္တယ္၊ လူမ်ိဳးတုန္း သုတ္သင္ပြဲတခု လိုပါပဲ"
ေနာက္ကြယ္က ကိုယ္ေယာင္ေဖ်ာက္ အဖြဲ႔ အစည္းႏွင့္ အင္တာနက္ စာမ်က္ႏွာမ်ား၏ ေသြးထိုးလံႈ႕ေဆာ္ေပးျခင္း၊ ႀကိဳးကိုင္ခ်ယ္လွယ္ျခင္းကိုသာ မခံရလွ်င္ မူဆလင္ႏွင့္ ဗုဒၶဘာသာမ်ားသည္ ေကာင္းမြန္စြာ အတူတကြ ေနႏိုင္ၾကမည္ ဟု ဦးေက်ာ္စိုးက ၀မ္းနည္းစြာ ေျပာသည္။
လက္ေတြ႔တြင္လည္း မိတၳီလာတြင္ အၾကမ္းဖက္ တိုက္ခိုက္မႈမ်ား ျဖစ္ပြားေနစဥ္က မူဆလင္မ်ားကို ၎တို႔၏ အိမ္နီးခ်င္း ဗုဒၶဘာသာ၀င္မ်ားက ေခၚယူ ေစာင့္ေရွာက္ေပးခဲ့ၾကသည္ဟု သူကဆိုသည္။
ကြဲျပားျခားနားေသာ ဘာသာေရးႏွင့္ လူမႈေရး အုပ္စုမ်ားၾကားတြင္ အယံုအၾကည္ ကင္းမဲ့ျခင္းႏွင့္ အျပန္အလွန္ ေၾကာက္ရြံ႕မုန္းတီးေစေသာ အေျခအေနမ်ိဳးကို ေျမွာက္ေပးၿပီး မတည္ၿငိမ္ေသာ အေျခအေန တရပ္ကို တည္ေဆာက္ျခင္းသည္ ကမာၻေပၚတြင္ အခ်ိဳ႕ေသာအစိုးရမ်ားက သူတို႔အာဏာကိုထိန္းခ်ဳပ္ႏိုင္ေရးအတြက္ သံုးေလ့ရွိေသာ နည္းဗ်ဴဟာတခုျဖစ္ပါသည္။
ဘာသာေရးႏွင့္ လူမ်ိဳးေရးမုန္းတီးမႈကို ေသြးထိုးလႈံ႔ေဆာ္ၿပီး ဆူပူမၿငိမ္သက္မႈမ်ား ျဖစ္ေပၚလာသည့္ အခါ စစ္တပ္အေနျဖင့္ လမ္းမမ်ားေပၚတြင္ တပ္စြဲေနရာယူၿပီး စစ္ဥပေဒကို ထုတ္ျပန္ေၾကညာခြင့္ ရရွိႏိုင္မည္ျဖစ္သည္။
ခ်က္သမၼတႏိုင္ငံအေျခစိုက္ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးလႈပ္ရွားသူ Igor Blazevic က သူ၏မိခင္ႏိုင္ငံ ေဘာ့စနီးယား၌ ၁၉၉၀ျပည့္ႏွစ္ အေစာပိုင္းကာလမ်ားတြင္ ႀကံဳေတြ႔ခဲ့ရေသာ အျဖစ္အပ်က္မ်ားမွ သင္ခန္းစာထုတ္ႏႈတ္၍ ဧျပီ ၈ ရက္ေန႕က ဧရာဝတီတြင္ " အစြန္းေရာက္ အမ်ိဳးသားေရး၀ါဒ၏ ဒုကၡသံသရာ" အမည္ရွိ ေဆာင္းပါးတပုဒ္ ေရးသားခဲ့သည္။
"လူမ်ိဳးသန္႔စင္ေရးဆိုတာ လူအုပ္စုေတြၾကားမွာ ဒါမွမဟုတ္ အေျခခံလူတန္းစား အသုိုင္းအ၀ိုင္းၾကားမွာ တေယာက္ကို တေယာက္ မုန္းတီးလို႔ အလိုအေလ်ာက္ျဖစ္လာတဲ့ အၾကမ္းဖက္မႈ မဟုတ္ဘူး။ ဒါက လံုၿခံဳေရးဆိုင္ရာ အေရးႀကီးတဲ့ အစိတ္အပိုင္းတခုကေနၿပီးေတာ့ ေသေသခ်ာခ်ာ ေလ့က်င့္ေပးထားတဲ့ လက္နက္ကိုင္ေတြ လုပ္ရတဲ့ အလုပ္ပါ။ သူတို႔တာ၀န္က တရား၀င္တပ္ဖြဲ႔ေတြ၊ အစိုးရ တာ၀န္ရွိသူေတြ၊ ေငြေၾကးပံ့ပိုးေပးေနသူေတြနဲ႔ တိုက္႐ိုက္ ဆက္သြယ္မႈကို ဖုံးဖုံးဖိဖိနဲ႕ လုပ္ရတဲ့ အလုပ္မ်ိဳး ျဖစ္ပါတယ္" ဟု Blazevic ကေျပာသည္။
မိတၳီလာတြင္ ျဖစ္ခဲ့ေသာျဖစ္ရပ္မ်ားသည္ ပထမဆံုး ဟုမဆိုႏိုင္ပါ။ ၁၉၈၈ အေရးအခင္းမွ သတ္ျဖတ္မႈမ်ား၊ ၂၀၀၃ ခုႏွစ္ေမလက ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ႏွင့္ ေထာက္ခံသူမ်ားကို အၾကမ္းဖက္တိုက္ခိုက္ခဲ့ေသာ ဒီပဲရင္း အေရးအခင္း ႏွင့္ ၂၀၁၂ ေမလက မူဆလင ္ဘုရားဖူး ဆယ္ေယာက္ ေတာင္ကုတ္ၿမိဳ႕တြင္ အသတ္ခံခဲ့ရျခင္းတို႔က မေဝးေသးေသာ သမိုင္း၏ အျဖစ္အပ်က္မ်ားပင္။
ဤရက္စက္ၾကမ္းၾကဳတ္မႈမ်ားကို မည္သူက က်ဴးလြန္သည္ဆိုေစ က်န္ရွိေနေသာ အေၾကာင္းအရာတခုမွာ အစိုးရက ျပစ္မႈမ်ားအတြက္ တရားဥပေဒအရ အေရးမယူႏိုင္ေသးျခင္းျဖစ္သည္။ တဖက္တြင္လည္း ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံတြင္ တရားဥပေဒစိုးမိုးေရးဆိုသည္မွာ အစိုးရက အေရးေပၚအေျခအေန ေၾကညာရန္ လိုအပ္ၿပီဟု ယူဆၿပီး လမ္းမမ်ားေပၚတြင္ စစ္တပ္မ်ားကို တပ္စြဲေစေတာ့မွ အသက္၀င္သည္ဟု ထင္မွတ္ေအာင္ ၾကိဳးစားေနျခင္းကလည္း " ေနာက္ျပန္မလွည့္ဘူး" ဟူေသာ အစိုးရ၏ ကတိကဝတ္ကို သံသယ တိုးလာေနေစေတာ့သည္။
(Stirring up hatred through social media ကို ဆီေလ်ာ္ေအာင္ ႏိုင္မင္းသြင္က ဘာသာျပန္ဆိုသည္)
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 04:28 AM PDT
Stirring up hatred through social media Tensions are rising between ethnic and religious groups in Myanmar, and so-called unofficial blogs and websites seem determined to fan the flames of conflictPublished: 21 Apr 2013
In the often murky world of Myanmar's social media, propaganda is ubiquitous. Be it pro-military or anti-anything from Muslims to the media, to Aung San Suu Kyi, the nation's Facebook pages and blogs are full of it.
While we can never know exactly who is responsible for creating these platforms, their content can provide clues to the identity of their authors. Many regularly feature the national flag, while others favour images of the warrior king statues that stand at the entrance to the Defence Services Academy in Pyin Oo Lwin.
Despite the secrecy, Buddhist monk Ashin Issariya, who was arrested for his role in the 2007 "Saffron Revolution", said he is convinced that many of the sites are the work of the military.
"The warrior kings represent the army, so they must be linked in some way," he said.
Blogger Nay Phone Latt, who is also the executive director of the Myanmar ICT for Development Organisation, told Spectrum that he too believes that many supposedly unofficial blogs are in fact conduits for state propaganda.
It's "suspicious", he said, "just how quickly some groups are able to upload and distribute information", especially those that seek to incite violence.
"Many of the sites feature the national flag and photos from Nay Pyi Taw, and most of their news comes from government websites," he said.
Despite his suspicions, it remains "really difficult" to prove who exactly is behind the sites, Nay Phone Latt said.
"The groups use two kinds of platforms," he said. "The first is for the publication of propaganda messages, such as encouraging violence between ethnic or religious groups, while the second is for communicating with their supporters."
In an informal study of 10 websites by anonymous authors, Spectrum found that they all contained items that were pro-military, anti-Muslim and anti-opposition, with Mrs Suu Kyi, Min Ko Naing, the 88 Generation Students Group and other prominent activists among those specifically targeted.
To attract readers, the sites often use pornography, malicious gossip and salacious rumours, including one suggesting that Mrs Suu Kyi had a child while she was under house arrest.
One of the country's most popular websites is Myanmarexpress.net, which was set up in 2011, about the same time Mrs Suu Kyi was given her freedom. The site is registered in Moscow and since its creation has generated more than 22 million page views.
Adding weight to the suggestion that the military is behind these sites is the high number of army personnel that are given advanced training in information technology.
In their 2011 paper "Russia, Myanmar and Nuclear Technologies", prepared for the Nuclear Club journal, authors Anton Khlopkov and Dmitry Konukhov said that since 2001, Myanmar's Ministry of Science and Technology has sent about 500 students a year to Russian universities. In the 2010-11 academic year, Myanmar sent more students to Russian universities than any other country in the world.
As well as being graduates of Myanmar's leading technology institutes, the vast majority of the students sent to Russia each year are military officers, predominantly lieutenants and captains, the report said.
Sai Thein Win is a former major in the Myanmar army who fled the country in 2010 after revealing details of the government's suspected nuclear weapons programme. Now living in Norway, he told Spectrum that his email account was hacked in 2011 and that his personal data was posted on Myanmarexpress.net.
Using his IT skills Sai Thein Win was able to track down the hacker, who he discovered was also a military man.
"The hacker was an army officer who had studied in Russia. I could also tell from the IP address that he was based in Myanmar," he said.
Sai Thein Win said it was also clear that blogs like Myanmar Express and Opposite Eyes have links to official organisations.
"Lots of these sites have access to photographs and information that simply would not be available to anyone outside the police or military," he said.
"The blogs are set up to turn public opinion against people like Aung San Suu Kyi and organisations such as the 88 Generation Students Group," he said.
"They also try to stir up religious conflict, like what happened in Rakhine and Meiktila."
In 2012, an Arakanese woman was raped and murdered, allegedly by Muslim men, in the village of Kyauk Ni Maw, a remote community in the west of Myanmar. Long before the incident was officially reported by the government, countless "unofficial" websites and blogs broke the story.
Several of them even ran a photo of the victim, though none provided a source for the image. Where it came from, nobody can say for sure.
What is known for certain is that less than a week after the reports were published, 10 Muslim clergymen were slaughtered in the town of Taungup, Rakhine state, by an angry mob hell-bent on revenge. The incident sparked further rioting by both Muslims and Buddhists throughout Rakhine.
Since the conflicts in Rakhine began, about 200 people have been killed, countless numbers have been injured and more than 70,000 have been left homeless. The clashes have led to the destruction of 16,000 houses, 14 monasteries, 45 mosques and three schools.
And through it all, social media platforms have fanned the flames of hatred and mistrust.
Alongside the online antagonists, Buddhist monk Wira Thu has been keen to promote his own brand of anti-Muslim propaganda.
Jailed in 2003 for stirring up religious conflict, and released in 2012 under an amnesty, Wira Thu more recently created the 969 movement, which he says represents the Buddha, the Damah and the Sangha.
More importantly, it serves as a counter to the 786 symbol used by Muslim communities in Myanmar, he said.
Yet despite Wira Thu's seeming desire to stir up conflict, Kyaw Soe, general secretary of the All Myanmar Moulvi (Ulama Al Haque) organisation, said that 786 has nothing to do with Islam.
"It's just a lucky number that's popular within Muslim communities in Myanmar," he said.
For months prior to the latest attacks on Muslims in Meiktila, Kyaw Soe said he was aware of trouble brewing. The riots were inevitable due to the efforts of Wira Thu's followers to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment among the public, he said, adding that he warned the Muslim community to stay away from the conflict.
Earlier this year, Buddhist monks from Mon state organised an anti-Muslim campaign under the 969 banner. With the help of religious talks, DVDs and stickers they fomented bigotry and mistrust, encouraging Buddhists to shop only at Buddhist stores, to marry only other Buddhists and to support only their own communities.
TENSE TIMES: Kyaw Soe, general secretary of the All Myanmar Moulvi, said he sensed trouble brewing.
Ashin Issariya said he was surprised by the government's ignorance of the 969 movement and its seeming reluctance to respond to its antagonistic actions.
"It's really strange that the Ministry of Religious Affairs allowed the campaign to raise tension between the two groups," he told Spectrum. "After the monks' protest in 2007, we were sentenced to 15 years in prison for using a single Gmail account. So why don't the authorities take action against a group that is openly running a campaign to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment?"
As well as the talks and DVDs, the sectarian views of the 969 movement are regurgitated and reinforced via countless social media sites, he said.
"This is a well planned campaign by a group of people that uses religious bigotry to further their political ambitions. I have warned my people not to become scapegoats," he said.
Kyaw Soe said he wrote to Myint Swe, the chief minister of Yangon region in February, urging him to curb the activities of religious groups in the former capital that seek to incite hatred and violence.
"I just can't understand why the government has not taken any action to restrict that kind of religious movement. And I feel really sad for that," he said.
Blogger Nay Phone Latt said he too "has no idea why the government allows it [the 969 movement] to manipulate communities".
MURDER AND MANIPULATION
Disputes between Myanmar's different racial and religious groups are not uncommon, but the violence that broke out in Rakhine last year and in Meiktila and other cities last month took the conflict to a whole new level.
In Meiktila, the spark that ignited the violence is widely believed to have been a dispute between the Muslim owner of a gold shop and two would-be customers, both Buddhists.
But what could, and probably should, have been nothing more than a minor spat rapidly escalated into mass murder and rioting. And all thanks to a group of anonymous online rabble-rousers, relentlessly banging the drum for intolerance and hatred via their blogs and websites.
In the 10 days that followed the gold shop row, the riots spread from Meiktila to 14 other cities. The wave of violence left 43 people dead, 86 injured and more than 1,300 buildings _ mostly mosques, schools and the homes of Muslims _ destroyed.
For bloggers such as Nay Phone Latt and Kyaw Soe, and the leader of the 88 Generation Students Group, Min Ko Naing, the government's failure to respond adequately to the unrest was clear evidence of its complicity. Recounting the interviews he conducted in Meiktila Muslim communities soon after the riots, Kyaw Soe said, "Eyewitnesses told me that all the members of the mobs carried the same type of knife, which was about 60cm long. They also said that the men signalled to one another with whistles, so they were clearly well trained."
Some of the rioters even disguised themselves as monks, he said.
"Several witnesses said they saw the men take off their robes and burned them with the dead bodies after the killings."
The mobs were clearly being guided by people behind the scenes, he said.
"They killed only Muslims," he said. "It was like genocide."
What saddens Kyaw Soe most is that when they are not being manipulated by shadowy groups and their social media platforms, Myanmar's Buddhists and Muslims get along just fine. Indeed, during the riots and attacks in Meiktila, many Muslims were given refuge in the homes of their Buddhist neighbours, he said.
Creating instability and nurturing an atmosphere of mistrust and fear among different religious and ethnic groups has long been a tactic used by governments around the world to maintain control.
They fan the flames of religious intolerance and ethnic hatred, so that when riots break out, the military has the excuse it needs to take to the streets and impose its rule.
In his article "The Vicious Cycle of Extreme Nationalism" published on April 8 in Irrawaddy magazine, Czech Republic-based human rights campaigner Igor Blazevic wrote of the lessons he learned in his home country of Bosnia in the early 1990s.
"Ethnic cleansing does not come about because of spontaneous violence by a mob or by grassroots communities that allegedly hate each other," he said.
"It is usually the work of well-trained paramilitary groups organised by elements of the security apparatus. Their task is to do the dirty work without showing the direct link to the regular forces, officials and their political patrons."
The recent killings in Meiktila were by no means the first of their kind in Myanmar. The massacres during the 1988 uprising, the attacks on Mrs Suu Kyi and her supporters in Depeyin in May, 2003, and the killing of 10 Muslim pilgrims in Taungup in May all pay testimony to the country's bloody past.
Whether or not these atrocities were committed by military or paramilitary groups, the fact remains that the government did nothing to bring those responsible for the killings to justice.
The rule of law in Myanmar would seem to apply only when the government deems it necessary to declare a state of emergency and put troops on the streets.
The killings in Meiktila did, however, prompt a response from the government. President Thein Sein said that the efforts of "political opportunists and religious extremists who try to exploit the noble teachings of these religions and have tried to plant hatred among people of different faiths for their own self-interest will not be tolerated".
According to Kyaw Soe, the president's words seem to confirm the presence of a controlling body, or puppet master, behind the conflicts.
"I really think that there might be a group within the government that doesn't want democracy, so they are doing all they can to disrupt the country's progress towards it," he said.
"If the government fails to identify who or what that is, the violence will continue."
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 04:09 AM PDT
Sudahkah Anda memiliki properti minimal sejumlah anak Anda, tanpa mengandalkan orang tua, mertua, atau utang? Kalau belum, coba tes diri Anda. Kalau jumlah anak anda dua, berapa seharusnya jumlah minimal properti Anda? Mestinya tiga unit. Nah, jika jumlah anak Anda tiga, Anda seharusnya punya empat unit. Sudahkah Anda seperti demikian?
Banyak orang yang tidak sadar bahwa hidupnya sebenarnya sudah game over, karena usianya 40 tahun dan 50 tahun rumahnya cuma satu atau usia 60 tahun rumahnya cuma dua. Padahal, jika memiliki dua anak, minimal memiliki tiga rumah. Sudah 10 tahun bekerja, namun tidak bisa membeli 10 properti. Jangankan beli 10, beli 3 saja tidak mampu. Jangankan beli tiga, beli jadi beli satu rumah saja belum lunas.
Seringkali orang masuk dalam lingkaran asap utang yang menyesakkan hidup. Banyak orang belum membeli properti untuk anak-anaknya, namun malah bergaya memperbanyak ponselnya. Punya 10 ponsel, namun tidak memiliki rumah untuk anak kedua. Jangankan untuk anak kedua, rumah untuk diri sendiri pun belum lunas. Kita mau banyak rumah banyak utang atau banyak rumah TANPA utang?
Seharusnya, Anda makin tua tambah berwibawa, karena telah menyiapkan properti untuk anak-anak. Namun, banyak orang, tambah tua malah tambah berhutang, atau tambah tua malah tambah bergantung pada mertua, atau tambah tua malah tambah malu sama anak, karena belum membelikan rumah untuk anak-anaknya.
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Posted: 29 Apr 2013 04:00 AM PDT
Pakatan leads in almost half of Johor targeted seats
View PhotoPakatan leads in almost half of Johor targeted seats
With only six days to go before the 'judgment day' on
May 5, it is believed that Johor Pakatan Rakyat has set a solid foothold
in almost half of its 11 targeted parliamentary constituencies in the
southern state and is moving
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 05:14 AM PDT
Kuala Lumpur: Kebimbangan Barisan Nasional (BN) akan kehilangan kerajaan sampai ke kemuncaknya apabila Majlis Profesor Negara mengadakan mesyuarat tergempar di Putrajaya.
Menurut Ketua Pengarang Harakah, Ahmad Lutfi Othman dalam tulisannya, seorang rakannya dari Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) memaklumkan hal ini kepada beliau.
"Semalam, seorang kawan di UKM telefon, beritahu Majlis Profesor Negara bermesyuarat tergempar di Putrajaya, ekoran situasi bayangan membimbangkan bakal melucutkan takhta BN," tulis Lutfi dalam kolumnya di Harakahdaily.
Beberapa hari sebelum itu, tulis Lutfi, pensyarah kanan UKM, Profesor Dr Mohamad Agus Yusoff juga melahirkan keyakinan BN akan tumbang kali ini.
"Semasa saya mengunjunginya di Bandar Baru Bangi juga melahirkan keyakinan sama," tulis Lutfi.
"Khabarnya banyak lagi meeting serupa semalam di Putrajaya, bincang isu sama," tulis Lutfi lagi. -HD
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 02:43 AM PDT
Suu Kyi's fading glory By Billy Tea
In November 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was freed from years of house arrest amid a tightly choreographed transition from military to democratic rule. Eighteen months later, her NLD won 43 out of 45 seats up for grabs in parliament in democratic by-elections, winning Suu Kyi an elected seat in parliament after her party's boycott of the 2010 polls.
Suu Kyi was an inspirational opposition leader during the dark days of military rule, from which she emerged as a symbol of freedom and democracy. She spent 14 out of 20 years under house arrest over that period. But as the country begins to look towards new elections and greater democracy in 2015, questions previously unheard of are being raised about whether Suu Kyi would be well-suited to serve as president.
As national leader, Suu Kyi would have to manage more than 135 groups that are highly divided along ethnic and religious lines. Failure to meet persistent calls for greater autonomy in ethnic minority regions would undoubtedly undermine her historical legacy as a champion of national unity and reconciliation.
As the daughter of independence hero Aung San, Suu Kyi has long been associated with her country's fight for freedom. Aung San's interim post-independence government entered the Panglong Agreement in 1947, a deal that granted full autonomy to "frontier areas" occupied by ethnic minority groups. He was assassinated that same year and the agreement was never implemented, providing the initial spark for many of the ethnic insurgencies that have inflamed the country for decades.
Suu Kyi famously followed in her father's footsteps by making her first potent political appearance in August 1988 in front of the Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's most sacred Buddhist shrine and the site where Aung San made a famous pro-independence speech in 1946. In the lead up to and after the military's 1988 bloody crackdown on street demonstrators opposed to military rule, Suu Kyi emerged as a clarion voice in favor of democracy.
She and her party swept 1990 elections, but the military annulled the results and maintained power through iron fist rule. Although Suu Kyi had the chance to leave and reunite with her family overseas, she stayed in Myanmar (or Burma, as it is also known) and endured years of harassment and detention while mounting a non-violent struggle for democracy.
When asked if she ever considered leaving, including after what was widely viewed as an assassination attempt on her motorcade in 2003, she responded in an interview, "I never thought there was a choice. I never thought of leaving Burma. I always thought that as long as there was one person who believed in democracy in Burma, I had to stay with that person." 
During her years under house arrest, Suu Kyi's discourse always spoke in favor of change through peace and non-violence. In a 1996 interview, Suu Kyi described her views on politics through non-violence: "I do not believe in an armed struggle because it will perpetrate the tradition that he who is best at wielding arms, wields power… That will not help democracy."
More recently, according to NLD spokesman Nyan Win, Suu Kyi "has remained a devoted Buddhist who from the beginning admired the principles of non-violence and civil disobedience espoused by India's Mahatma Gandhi.  Her passion for non-violence won her a Nobel Peace prize in 1990, when her party won an election that was never recognized by the junta."
For decades, Suu Kyi has symbolically and elegantly represented opposition to military rule and in the name of freedom support for the cause of persecuted ethnic minorities. She was named the "Lady" in part for her ability to win the trust of ethnic groups through her non-violent message and for speaking out forcefully against the human rights violations perpetuated by the military in conflict zones.
Yet if Suu Kyi wins the presidency in 2015, she will face huge challenges and obstacles in maintaining this exalted stature. As national leader, she will need to be seen as satisfying the demands of a multi-ethnic and divided population while simultaneously working with a parliament that reserves 25% of its seats for military officials who have strongly opposed autonomy for ethnic regions.
Rather than serving as a pro-democracy icon, as president she would head what would still most likely be a military-dominated political system. As a parliamentarian, she has already been perceived by some to compromise on principle by taking a more middle-of-the-road position on important national issues, including ethnic conflicts.
In recent months, Suu Kyi has been subjected to unusually sharp criticism for her perceived as limp response to conflict in Rakhine State, where Buddhist Rakhine's have clashed violently with Muslim Rohingyas. In an interview with the New York Times in September 2012, Suu Kyi said, "I know that people want me to [speak on the issue], they want strong and colorful condemnation, which I won't do, because I don't think it helps."
She said that "I've always spoken out against human rights abuses but not against a particular community… If you condemn one community that makes the other community more hostile towards that community." Suu Kyi said she believes that the solution to the conflict should be based on rule by law that promotes ethnic reconciliation. "It must be based on sound citizenship laws," she said. 
Her reactions, or lack thereof, to the escalating Kachin State conflict have also sparked widespread criticism, including from among her once erstwhile supporters. Neng Seng, a Kachin human rights activist, wrote a recent article in the Huffington Post entitled "I Feel Betrayed by Aung San Suu Kyi", in which she described her frustration and disappointment with the lack of action by her previous idol.
"She [Suu Kyi] remained silent over serious human rights violations committed by government army soldiers, including attacks against civilian populations, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence … Aung San Suu Kyi's principled stance and moral example once inspired me…you cannot be neutral, cannot be silent, in the face of such terrible abuses, because silence and neutrality enables those abuses to continue… I feel angry, betrayed and sad." 
The Irrawaddy, one of Myanmar's respected liberal newsmagazines that historically often portrayed Suu Kyi in a favorable light, recently wrote, "As long as Suu Kyi continues to avoid taking any meaningful stance on the very real issues that plague [Myanmar], the 'democratically united' country that she spoke of in her speech will remain as elusive as ever." 
As an elected politician, Suu Kyi will be unable to appease and please all constituencies in her sharply divided country. As a parliamentarian, she has already been required to make tough choices with limited budgets, undeveloped infrastructures, and restricted capacities. As in any democratic system, there have been sharp disagreements within her own party, with some feeling she has been too engaged with the military-dominated government and others feeling she has not done enough.
For Myanmar's military and military-associated politicians, such criticism is less problematic after facing blame for decades of mismanagement and corrupt rule. But the once almost universally popular Suu Kyi has much more to lose when she fails to please her former backers and supporters, including in ethnic minority areas.
It should be remembered that responsibility for the assassination of Suu Kyi's father, Aung San, was placed on a political rival, former prime minister U Saw. It was Aung San's popularity and worldwide recognition for his leadership in ending British colonialism that led to the political divisions that motivated his death. Today, recognition for the exceptional democratic advances made under Thein Sein's presidency have sparked similar political competition and jealousy, within both the military and opposition party.
Suu Kyi's legacy as a great opposition leader is already secure, witnessed in the outpouring of sentiment and support she has received from the global community during recent overseas trips. But would she be able to achieve the same recognition as Myanmar's national leader if elected as president in 2015?
To be sure, Suu Kyi faces major obstacles in her personal transition from pro-democracy icon and symbol of freedom amid oppression to mainstream politician in a quasi-civilian, military-dominated political order. How she handles that transition and manages her once spotless image over the next two years will largely determine her electability amid fast-changing expectations in a fast-changing Myanmar.
Billy Tea is a Research Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS. His research interests include conflict prevention, conflict management and regional cooperation; Chinese foreign policy in Asia; and security and defense relations between Asia, Europe and the United States. He holds a BA in Political Science from UMASS Amherst and a MA in War Studies from King's College London.
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 02:32 AM PDT
Land grabbing as big business in Myanmar By Brian McCartan
Inadequate land laws have opened rural Myanmar to rampant land grabbing by unscrupulous, well-connected businessmen who anticipate a boom in agricultural and property investment. If unchecked, the gathering trend has the potential to undermine the country's broad reform process and impede long-term economic progress.
The threat of military force meant there was little grass roots opposition to these land seizures and few avenues to secure adequate compensation. That's changed under the new democratic order as local communities band together to fight back against seizure of their lands. Many of the current land disputes date to the period before the 2010 general elections that ushered in President Thein Sein's reformist quasi-civilian government.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation's Department of Agricultural Planning reported in January 2010 that 216 companies had received a total of 1.75 million acres (708,200 hectares) of farmland in the form of state concessions. Many of the disputes now being contested are related to land taken in the mid- to late-1990s. A significant proportion of the land grabbing during this period took place in ethnic-majority states in the country's peripheral regions.
This was especially the case in areas along the border with China in Kachin and Shan States and along the border with Thailand in the Karen and Mon States. The army has maintained a strong presence in these areas to battle ethnic insurgencies and uphold tenuous ceasefires with other insurgent organizations. Much of the land was taken for military camps and military access roads, but also for commercial projects either run by the military or companies with ties to the military. Significant land grabbing also took place in the Sagaing and Irrawaddy Divisions.
The confiscation of land has been repeatedly documented since the 1990s by human-rights groups such as the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM), and Earth Rights International (ERI), as well as numerous smaller grassroots organizations.
With new hope for an economic revival and rising property prices sparked by Thein Sein's reformist government, land grabbing has continued in many of these areas and has also increased in central Myanmar and in Rakhine State in the west of the country. Current land grabbing is forcing farmers off their land for commercial agri-business ventures, infrastructure projects, tourism development, industrial facilities and gas pipelines.
Political and economic reforms, together with relaxed sanctions and a better relationship with the West, have raised expectations of a foreign investment-led economic boom. The government has actively encouraged more investment in agriculture, one of the country's more laggard economic sectors, by promoting the country's former role as the "rice bowl of Asia" and highlighting its potential for commercial agriculture.
This has encouraged state agencies and private companies to seek to acquire increasingly larger tracts of land in the hopes of enticing foreign partners. Local firms are both seeking new land as well as reasserting dubious claims to past ownership over land they received as concessions during the 1990s under the military government.
Much of the land grabbing in the 1990s occurred during a previous opening of the country to foreign investment. However, the lack of foreign interest at the time meant much of the land remained unplanted and many companies subsequently allowed the former owners to continue farming the land.
The symbiotic relationship between serving and former military officers and influential private businessmen that flourished under the previous military regime remains largely unchanged under the current administration. Indeed, these alliances are in the forefront to land lucrative joint venture deals with foreign investors.
Although widely derided as "cronies" of the military, these businessmen have long occupied a powerful niche in Myanmar's economy, a role which will be enhanced with foreign investment-driven faster economic growth. At the same time, connections to the security forces provide these firms with the muscle to intimidate or force small landholders off their claimed lands.
Under military rule, many farmers simply understood that it was fruitless to challenge land seizures by state-owned enterprises or government cronies. Indeed, protests could result in lengthy prison sentences, enforced disappearances, or, especially in ethnic areas, summary execution.
One highly publicized protest has involved the forced removal of villagers from three villages in Sagaing Division to expand a copper mine being developed by the government-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings (UMEH) and the Wan Bao Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of China North Industries Corp.
A protest that included a large number of Buddhist monks supporting displaced villagers was violently broken up by police. Incendiary devices fired into the protest camp severely burned several of the monks, according to press reports. The heavy-handed crackdown sparked outrage across the country.
In another case, farmers in Mandalay Division filed a court case against the Bureau of Air Defense and the High Tech Concrete company owned by army crony Aik Tun for their perceived as unlawful seizure of 40 acres (16.1 hectares) of land. Most recently, on February 26, a police attempt to break up a protest in Maubin Township, Irrawaddy Division resulted in a clash where one policemen was killed and dozens of police and villagers injured. The farmers were protesting the confiscation of their land by the military in 1996 and its later sale to a businessman in 2004.
Under Myanmar's 2008 constitution, the state is the ultimate owner of all land and natural resources above and below it. Land rights are exclusively in the form of either leasehold rights, user rights, or the right to cultivate a certain plot of land. These rights are granted on the approval of local government bodies appointed by the central government.
Two new land laws passed on March 30, 2012 – the Farmland Law and the Vacant, Fallow, and Virgin Land Management Law – were intended to clarify ownership under the constitution and provide protections to land owners. While the laws guaranteed more individual ownership rights, to date big businesses have profited most from the legislation.
The new laws created a dysfunctional and opaque system of land registration and administration that reinforced a top-down decision-making process without local participation. The absence of adequate legal and judicial recourse for the protection of land rights has further exacerbated the situation. Rather than deter land rights violations, the laws have effectively facilitated more land grabbing and manipulation of the system.
While providing for certificates of ownership and the selling of rights to land, the Farmland Law requires prospective land owners to register at local Farmland Management Committees. These committees are appointed by the government with no representation from farmers, leaving them open to corruption and the influence of government and military officials in league with commercial interests. The composition of the committees and enduring distrust of the bureaucracy after years of mismanagement under the military regime will likely discourage many farmers from registering.
Farmers appealing decisions of these bodies must appeal within the same system of farmland management committees at various levels up to the state and regional levels. These same government appointed bodies are also empowered to issue fines, enforce evictions, and issue criminal penalties, allowing for a mechanism which few farmers would be willing to challenge.
The customary rights held by millions of agrarians, land laborers, and contract farmers including shifting cultivators and pastoralists are also not recognized within the current legal framework. Without land tenure security, small landowners are particularly vulnerable to speculators and corporate agri-businesses.
The Vacant, Fallow, and Virgin Land Management Law likewise vests an enormous amount of discretionary power in a central committee appointed by the president. The committee is empowered to grant permission to use vacant land, set taxes, and request security fees for land use as well as monitor compliance with the law.
Additionally, central committees determine whether land is unused, a particular concern for farmers practicing the traditional taungya form of shifting upland cultivation in which crops are rotated with some fields left fallow for certain periods of time. Much of the land seized and given to private companies is classified by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation as fallow, vacant, or virgin land without registered owners.
Without any meaningful recourse to the courts under the current legal framework, opportunities abound for manipulation of the system. Myanmar's justice system has for decades been integrated into the military's authoritarian governance structure and is still equated in many people's minds with summary justice and kangaroo courts.
As such, the system is largely incompetent and virtually powerless against powerful vested interests in other parts of the state or private companies. Officials are neither inclined to intervene in land disputes nor effectively capable of protecting the rights of small landholders against encroaching military-owned companies and their partners.
The provision for the selling of land rights is also open for exploitation by businesses which encourage farmers under mounting debt to sell off their land for short-term gains. Many farmers in Myanmar are in debt due to a widespread inability to access credit through formal channels and the high costs of agricultural inputs.
This has undermined local confidence in both Thein Sein's supposed democratic government and the overall reform process. The situation is compounded by an enduring attitude in the bureaucracy that treats farmers with contempt, threats and intimidation. Rising landlessness, meanwhile, will push many farmers into cities, creating a new urban underclass and a potential source of instability.
Growing discontent among small landowners, displaced agrarians and landless rural workers has the potential to create a powerful voting bloc in the 2015 elections. Nearly 70% of Myanmar's population of some 60 million live in rural areas, among which one-third are estimated to be landless laborers. Effective land reform promises thus have the potential to win massive popular support at the next polls.
In apparent recognition of the importance of the rural vote, Naypyidaw-based parliamentarians are paying more attention to the plight of farmers. Both the majority Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) – commonly perceived as the party of the former military rulers – and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) have broached the topic in parliament.
In July 2012, parliament, including members of the USDP, took the unusual step of overruling the government and voted to form a committee to investigate land disputes across the country. The Parliamentary Land Investigation Committee began visiting various areas of rural Myanmar in late September to probe alleged land seizures, particularly in Rakhine, Mon and Karen States, as well as in the southern Taninthanayi Division. Committee members have reportedly received numerous reports of land seizures during their investigations. Government officials and presidential advisors have subsequently sought out the advice and assistance of local and international experts on land issues.
A recent report by Displacement Solutions, an international organization involved in land rights issues, recognized the importance placed on the issue by the government. "There is a clear recognition at all levels of society – from the Government, the political opposition, the private sector, civil society groups, the UN and donors – that the way in which [land rights] issues are addressed within the reform process will be a central factor in determining the social and economic (and political) destiny of the nation."
At least some of Myanmar's private businesses, including several owned by so-called cronies, have recognized the sensitivity of the land issue and have taken positive steps to mitigate the damage from past seizures. While the laws still work in their favor, some analysts believe this signals a grudging recognition that in the new more open political and social climate it is important to maintain a positive social image.
With the country's poor reputation for human-rights violations and the alleged involvement of businessmen in some of those violations, including land seizures, many foreign investors are wary of investing with partners associated with such unsavory practices. Rising governmental and parliamentary attention to the issue will also bring more scrutiny to arrangements by local and foreign firms seeking to develop land-intensive projects. Media attention will also keep the issue in the spotlight in the lead up to the 2015 elections.
Some local companies have already moved to improve their image in relation to land ownership and compensation. Several companies have taken steps to either return land or initiate joint development programs with the former owners of the land. In June, a local parliamentarian successfully lobbied the military to pay compensation to owners of over 500 acres (202 hectares) of land in Shan State confiscated in 2009. In August, under similar pressure the Ayeya Shwe Wah Co Ltd returned a concession of some 40,000 acres (16,187 hectares) to farmers in the Irrawaddy Delta.
In December, Max Myanmar, one of Myanmar's largest conglomerates, owned by military-linked tycoon Zaw Zaw, paid 13 farmers US$838,000 for 106 acres (42 hectares) of land it had seized in the Irrawaddy Delta. Max Myanmar is also planning to assist farmers whose land was taken by Max Myanmar and 15 other companies for use in contract farming in Dagon Seikkan township near Yangon. Zaw Zaw is still on a US economic sanctions list for his association with the previous rights abusing regime.
By better guaranteeing land rights, Thein Sein's government has the opportunity to put Myanmar's rural areas on a more equitable and democratic track. Genuine land reforms could also help to stave off rural unrest and a potential new source of urban instability through land grabbing driven migration into cities. Whether his government seizes or misses the opportunity will likely be a determining factor in the 2015 elections pitting his USDP against the opposition NLD.
Brian McCartan is a freelance journalist. He may be reached at email@example.com
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 02:19 AM PDT
Doublespeak on Myanmar's Rohingya By Ramzy Baroud
A governance whitewash has been underway for some time now in Myanmar. Perceptions of the former ruling military junta as an oppressive regime with a disconcerting human rights record have shifted favorably on its closely aligned quasi-civilian regime, which has been widely credited with managing a budding democracy. Reality, however, is much removed from the new regime's official newspeak.
While the regime speaks of recognizing "international standards" in its energy sector, international human rights standards have been completely ignored in its handling of the suffering and humiliation of the Rohingya people. According to the United Nations, the Rohingya are "virtually friendless" in the face of a relentless ethnic cleansing campaign that threatens their very existence in Myanmar. The UN has referred to the Rohingya as the world's "most persecuted" people.
On February 26, fishermen discovered a rickety wooden boat floating nearly 25 kilometers off the coast of Indonesia's northern province of Aceh. The Associated Press reported there were 121 people on board including children who were extremely weak, dehydrated and nearly starved. They were Rohingya refugees who preferred to take their chances at sea rather than stay in Myanmar.
Their plight is hardly an isolated event. Such deadly journeys, each with their own traumatic twist, have been reported with growing frequency in the regional media. Another large rescue took place off the coast of India's eastern Andaman archipelago, where 108 Rohingyas in dismal condition were rescued on February 28, the Andaman Sheekha website reported.
A week earlier, another group of Rohingya refugees were not so lucky. New York-based Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called on the Thai government to investigate an incident in which two people were reportedly killed after a group of refugees were forced onto a boat and sent back to sea from Phang Nga province in southwest Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported. "Our government has a policy to take care of the Rohingya on humanitarian grounds, so they won't be pushed back," Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatara told journalists on Monday. "We will investigate this," she said of the alleged deaths in Phang Nga, according to the report.
Driven by systematic persecution of the Rohingya inside Myanmar, the mounting incidents have so far been a mere irritant to the country's still highly touted democratic opening, a transformation that has been widely hailed as a success story by Western media, companies and political elites. Western governments have heaped rewards on the new regime, including a suspension of previous punitive economic and financial sanctions imposed over the junta's abysmal rights record, for its supposed newfound respect for rights and democracy.
Most Rohingya Muslims are native to the previous state of Rohang (originally a kingdom of its own), now officially known as Rakhine, in Myanmar's coastal southwest. Over the years, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the original inhabitants of Rakhine were joined by migrant or forced labor from Bengal and India, many of whom permanently settled there. For decades thereafter, tensions brewed between Buddhist Rakhines and Muslim Rohingyas in the region.
Eventually, the Rakhine majority backed by a mostly Buddhist military junta prevailed over the Rohingya minority who lacked any serious regional or international backers. The Rohingya, currently estimated at nearly 800,000 in Rakhine State, have since lived between the nightmare of lacking legal citizenship status and the occasional ethnic purge.
The worst of such violence in recent years took place between June and October last year when Rakhines clashed violently with Rohingyas. The first clashes were sparked by the alleged rape of a Rakhine girl by Rohingyas. While Rakhines paid a heavy price in the subsequent clashes, the isolated and effectively defenseless Rohingyas suffered from the greater death and destruction.
Voice of America recently cited a moderate estimate of the communal violence, claiming hundreds of Rohingya Muslims had been killed, nearly 115,000 displaced and thousands of their homes burnt. Many Rohingyas who have fled the violence have perished at sea or disappeared. UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, reported that nearly 13,000 Rohingya refugees attempted to leave Myanmar on smugglers' boats in the Bay of Bengal in 2012 and that at least 500 drowned.
While Western countries led by the United States jockey for position to exploit Myanmar's natural riches, they remain muted about the state-sanctioned human rights abuses underway in Rakhine State. While Rohingya "boat people" were floating or sinking in various regional waters, Thein Sein met with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo on February 26 in what was billed by both countries' media as a "landmark" visit.
Stoltenberg unambiguously characterized the situation in Rakhine State as an internal Myanmar affair. In regards to the controversy over Rohingyas being denied Myanmar citizenship, Norway's leader said, "We have encouraged dialogue, but we will not demand that [Myanmar's] government give citizenship to the Rohingyas."
To reward Thein Sein for his supposedly bold democratic reforms, Stoltenberg followed other countries now competing for Myanmar's riches by waving off debts his government owed to Norway. None of those forgiven funds are expected to be earmarked for resolving the mounting humanitarian crisis of Myanmar's Rohingya. But it's clearly high time that more voices spoke out against Western government's engagement with Myanmar and in support of the Rohingyas' basic human rights.
Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press).
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 01:31 AM PDT
China counter-pivots on Myanmar By David I Steinberg
Australia, increased positive involvement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and allies in the Philippines and Thailand as well as near-ally Singapore, and concerns over Chinese claims of sovereignty of the South China Sea.
But in this equation, China regards with suspicion the US's changed, positive policy toward Myanmar, also known as Burma. Chinese concerns are evident. This, they claim, is the second US containment policy of China. The first was during the Cold War, but this second is in some sense more urgent. China during the Cold War was struck by the internally destructive forces of the Cultural Revolution. It tried to project Maoist thought through its embassies overseas, but this was internal political rhetoric, not external reality.
Now, however, as the world attests, China is on the rise and the perception of containment strikes at what historically China considers its backyard and traditional sphere of influence – Southeast Asia. Many of the monarchical realms in that periphery sent tribute to the court in Beijing. Even the colonial British agreed to do so in 1897 after they eliminated Burma's monarchy, but only if the Burmese went. The expeditions never took place.
The openings to the US in the last throes of the previous ruling military junta and into the new administration of President Thein Sein have been seen by the Chinese as a setback to their vital national interests in the region, in which Myanmar plays a singular role.
With its two pipelines for oil and gas, a vast quantity of hydroelectric power, mining and resource extraction interests, a major market for China's landlocked southern Yunnan province, and an influx of unrecorded population of perhaps two million, Myanmar is of obvious importance, even if it fades in comparison with Chinese concerns over North Korea.
In May 2011, China and Myanmar, on the visit of Thein Sein to Beijing, signed a "Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership" agreement. Relations from a Chinese perspective seemed secure; Chinese interests were surging. But by September 2011, Thein Sein suspended construction (during his term of office in 2015, when new elections will be held) of the important and very controversial Chinese-constructed Myitsone Dam at the confluence of the Irrawaddy River in the Kachin State, quite close to the Chinese frontier.
Followed by the visit of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in December 2011, and the subsequent influx of high-level, worldwide visitors culminating in President Barack Obama's trip in November 2012, China believed its position in Myanmar was eroding. The Communist Party of China-owned English language newspaper the Global Times viewed Clinton's trip as "undermining the [Chinese] wall in Myanmar". Beijing's formal responses were, however, more diplomatic and temperate.
Even before the end of the George W Bush era, it was widely recognized that the US sanctions policy had failed to achieve its goal in Myanmar. And before all the critical players in the new Obama administration were in place, Myanmar sent discreet signals for more positive relations, to which the Obama administration responded.
Many prominent Chinese officials and academicians have regarded this shift in US policy from "regime change" under both the Bill Clinton and George W Bush administrations to Obama's "pragmatic engagement" as designed against Chinese influence in the region.
This, however, seems an unlikely ex post facto interpretation. Chinese perceptions may skew reality from a US vantage point, but from Beijing the implications seem all too apparent, especially when combined with the other demonstrable US "pivotal" moves.
To an outside observer, Beijing has demonstrated and responded to the heightened concern about the US presence in Myanmar, as those bilateral relations are probably the best they have even been since the country achieved independence in 1948. For the first time in Chinese history, China in early March appointed a respected senior retired diplomat, former vice foreign minister Wang Yingfan, as special envoy for Asian affairs, and he is said to be tasked with concentrating on Myanmar relations.
This was followed on March 13 with the announcement of a new Chinese ambassador, Yang Houlan. He is highly respected, with experience in Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, and Afghanistan, and other key states. It seems the Chinese ambassador, Li Junhua, under whose tenure these negative changes in Chinese influence took place, has been moved and, unfortunately and inaccurately, blamed for China's decline – although growing Myanmar concerns over Chinese penetration should have been apparent to its embassy.
China's past extensive presence, however, failed to take into account Myanmar sensitivities, which clearly indicated a mushrooming resentment against the obvious tilt toward, and influence of, China. In the highly charged nationalistic environment that is Myanmar, this should have been anticipated in Beijing.
So, has China "pivoted" toward Myanmar? That term indicates a turn-about change of some degree and may be too sweeping. Perhaps China's new position is better described as "re-structuring" or "reinforcing" its important role there by trying to rebuild and deepen lost mutual confidence.
Now, the tilt seems toward the US. But Washington should act cautiously and discreetly in Myanmar. Too great a presence, too extensive an influence, and too condescending an approach will likely result in a reaction, in good Hegelian terms, away from that very favorable extreme as it did against China, and to a more moderated stance.
Born in the shadow of China, nurtured in neutralism during the Cold War, and now intent of gleaning assistance from all available sources – East, West, and otherwise – Myanmar will likely return to the policy that had served it well before: a balance among all external interests that could subvert its autonomy. A more modern form of neutralism in the post-Cold War era is Myanmar's likely course. The China lesson is one all foreign states should heed as they enhance their Myanmar relations.
David I Steinberg is Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. His latest volume (with Fan Hongwei) is Modern China-Myanmar Relations: Dilemmas of Mutual Dependence (2012).
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 01:01 AM PDT
No clear path to Suu Kyi victory By Aung Tun
As democratic transitions in several authoritarian countries have shown, formerly oppressed opposition leaders such as Nelson Mandela in South Africa and Viktor Andriyovych in Ukraine have later become the head of states in new democratic governments. Those leaders successfully cemented democracy in place by building up institutions in the executive, legislature and judiciary that earlier rights-curbing regimes never allowed to take root.
A similar though in many ways different transition is now tentatively underway in Myanmar, which was ruled by successive despotic military regimes for nearly five decades until a quasi-civilian government now led by President Thein Sein was elected in 2010. Pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party entered parliament in small numbers through by-elections held last April.
Suu Kyi and the NLD had boycotted the 2010 polls as they said these were rigged in favor of military-backed candidates, and the party was later outlawed for its non-participation.
That was rolled back in 2011, paving the way for Suu Kyi and her party to win 43 of the 44 seats it contested in by elections in 2012, giving the NLD a 6.4% share of the seats in parliament.
With new general elections set for 2015, many believe Suu Kyi and the NLD will win in a landslide against the now ruling military-aligned United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) if the polls are held freely and fairly. The NLD overwhelmingly won elections held in 1990, taking 80% of the seats, but the military annulled the results and maintained its iron-clad grip on power.
The NLD held its first National Congress in over 25 years in Yangon on March 9-10, during which Suu Kyi was re-elected party chairwoman, a position she has held since being released from house arrest after the 2010 elections. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate spent 15 of the previous 21 years under house arrest while many of her NLD members were imprisoned and harassed under various draconian laws against political association and activities.
Suu Kyi has stated her desire to become president in 2015. But there are still three big obstacles to that be outcome. First, how can she overcome the constitutional provision that bars any Myanmar citizen whose spouse or children have foreign citizenship from assuming the presidency (Suu Kyi's late husband was a British citizen)? Second, how would the military, which has yet to be reformed and harbors suspicions about the transition to democracy, respond to Suu Kyi's civilian leadership? Third, will Suu Kyi be able to convince other military-linked candidates, including incumbent President Thein Sein and Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann, to pave the way for her to contest the 2015 polls?
Thein Sein stated at at the Asia Society in New York during his trip to the United Nations General Assembly in late 2012 that he would consider serving a second term if the people wanted him to stay. He had previously said that he would serve only one five-year term due to health reasons. He now uses a pacemaker and presumably his health has significantly improved. At the same time, he indicated that Suu Kyi could take the presidency if the people elect her.
Thein Sein will no doubt campaign on his reform credentials, including his government's negotiations towards ceasefires with various ethnic minority rebel groups, successful outreach to the wider world, especially the West, after decades of international isolation, and economic policies that have increased government salaries, reduced mobile phone costs and outlined plans for poverty reduction. A mass of people recently gathered at Yangon international airport to welcome Thein Sein home after a recent foreign tour, proof to some of the president's rising grass roots popularity.
It is still unclear where Thein Sein and Shwe Mann, both presidential hopefuls in 2015, stand on the potential constitutional amendments. The USDP is by far the largest party in parliament with control over more than half of the upper and lower houses' 664 seats and is fortified by the 25% of seats reserved outright for uniformed military officials. Any constitutional amendments must be approved by more than 75% of parliament, meaning the military can block any proposed changes.
Thein Sein recently handed over the USDP's chairman to Shwe Mann, thereby giving the Lower House Speaker authority over any proposed constitutional changes. The handover of the party's reins also means that Suu Kyi must work with Shwe Mann rather than Thein Sein to achieve changes to allow her to run for the presidency in 2015. Media speculated earlier that Suu Kyi had fallen out with Thein Sein after a period of engagement and is now on better working terms with parliamentary leader Shwe Mann.
Still, many political observers doubt Shwe Mann, currently locked in a power struggle with Thein Sein, would be willing to implement changes that undercut his own electoral chances for the presidency. Suu Kyi will need to convince both leaders that constitutional change is necessary for the country's further democratization and development, a view Western governments and donors will no doubt support. The drive to reform the constitution will pit her idealism against the USDP's and military's power politics and show how far the military is willing to go towards genuine democratization.
The jockeying for presidential position has already begun. During a recent trip to observe the conflict and peace process in Kachin State, Shwe Mann said repeatedly, "I'm not a dictator", in conversations with local people. Observers say the comments are consistent with his attempts to distance himself from the previous military junta he served as a high-ranking officer and associate himself with the country's new democratic direction.
Even if the charter is changed in a way that allows Suu Kyi to run for president, it is not clear how the military would ultimately respond to her civilian leadership. In recent statements Suu Kyi has bid to put the military's fears at ease, including in a BBC press interview where she expressed her long-time "fondness" for the army. More significantly, her parliamentary committee's recommendation to continue with a controversial military-invested copper mine despite land seizures from villagers indicated a willingness to protect military commercial interests in the face of grass roots resistance. She notably referred to the need for "national reconciliation" in her committee's recommendations.
Unlike the opposition icons that became national leaders in other transitional democracies, Suu Kyi faces many obstacles to finally assuming Myanmar's presidency. Indeed, some political observers doubt the military will allow free and fair elections to be held in 2015 if Suu Kyi and the NLD are clearly poised to win. Whether Suu Kyi can negotiate the constitutional changes she and her party now seek and convince potential spoilers of her benign intentions will animate Myanmar's politics in the weeks and months ahead.
Aung Tun has worked as a journalist inside Myanmar for several years and is currently based in Boston in the United States.
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 01:00 AM PDT
BN stronghold of Kepala Batas could fall to PAS
The Malaysian Insider
View PhotoBN stronghold of Kepala Batas could fall to PAS
View PhotoBN stronghold of Kepala Batas could fall to PAS
View PhotoBN stronghold of Kepala Batas could fall to PAS
By Opalyn Mok
KEPALA BATAS, April 29 — Young voters plus a sense of disaffection
with the Barisan Nasional
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 02:30 AM PDT
Tawau 29 April: Sambutan luar biasa rakyat Sabah kepada Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim semasa Ketua Umum KEADILAN itu tiba di Tawau semalam sangat mencemaskan Umno Barisan Nasional.
Ini berikutan kenyataan Pengerusi BN, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, kononnya Sabah dan Sarawak tidak mampu ditawan Pakatan Rakyat pada Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13, 5 Mei ini.
Beliau menyatakan demikian susulan lautan 20,000 rakyat membanjiri ceramah Anwar di Sarawak Jumaat lalu.
Bimbang dengan sokongan rakyat itu, Najib turut bergegas bertemu penduduk Sarawak keesokan harinya.
Bagaimanapun, usaha Najib untuk meyakinkan penduduk Malaysia Timur itu gagal apabila kedatangan Anwar ke Sabah disambut ribuan rakyat.
Dua jalan menghala ke pejabat KEADILAN Tawau, iaitu lokasi ceramah Anwar berlangsung, terpaksa ditutup untuk memberi laluan kepada 15,000 penyokong yang tidak putus-putus hadir mendengar amanat pemimpin negara paling popular ketika ini.> (Lihat kajian Pusat Kajian Demokrasi dan Pilihan Raya Universiti Malaya (UMCEDEL)).
"Dengan sambutan kepada Pakatan Rakyat sebegini, Najib boleh kata; 'Saya yakin Umno Barisan Nasional boleh menang'.
"Sebab RTM, TV3 tak akan siar semua ini. Memang tak boleh pakai…Bila (kita) boleh tengok semula RTM, TV3? 6 haribulan (Mei 2013), InsyaAllah…(lepas kita menang ke Putrajaya)," kata Anwar malam tadi, disambut sorakan gemuruh rakyat di Jalan Kuhara, Taman Gek Poh, Tawau.
Sementara itu, Pengarah Program Kempen Pilihan Raya KEADILAN Tawau, Thressia M Umar menyifatkan, kehadiran ribuan rakyat adalah kerana faktor populariti Anwar sendiri, selain gerak kerja jentera yang mula berkempen tiga hari selepas Anwar mengesahkan kehadirannya.
"Datuk Seri Anwar memang popular, Perdana Menteri Najib Razak datang pun jalan tak ditutup macam sekarang.
"Generasi muda terutama yang sudah mendengar ucapan dan ceramah beliau di tempat-tempat lain menerusi internet, tapi semuanya mahu mendengar dan melihat sendiri beliau berucap," kata Thressia.
Anwar kemudiannya bergegas pulang ke Semenanjung pada jam 8 malam, untuk dua lagi siri ceramah di Setiawangsa dan Subang, malam tadi.
Sebelum itu, beliau menjelajah Gum-Gum, Sikom, Silam, Semporna dan Lahad Datu untuk menyampaikan amanat terakhir pilihan raya.
KEADILAN meletakkan Datuk Kong Hong Ming sebagai calon di Parlimen Tawau (P190).
Posted: 29 Apr 2013 12:36 AM PDT
Race on for ports, pipelinesin Myanmar By Eric Draitser
Business delegations are flocking to Myanmar in hopes of securing access to previously closed markets and resources. From the construction of economically and geopolitically significant ports and pipelines, to the development of hydroelectric dams and a modern energy infrastructure, Myanmar's transformation promises to have a major impact on the region's economy.
the larger competition between China and the West for influence in the Asia-Pacific.
With its expansive Indian Ocean coastline and strategic location in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is prime for massive port development. The country already boasts three large port development projects: Sittwe on the northern coast and Dawei in the South. These projects represent a microcosm of the battle for influence between China and their regional and global competitors for both economic preeminence in Myanmar and security over critical maritime trade routes.
Financed and constructed by India, the Sittwe port represents one part of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project, a sweeping initiative designed to link eastern India with Myanmar and, by extension, the rest of the region via sea, waterways and highways. New Delhi views the megaproject as integral to its "Look East" policy, which seeks economic growth and political influence through the development of ties with regional neighbors.
Last month's meeting between Myanmar President Thein Sein and India's Lower House Speaker Meira Kumar led to the announcement that the two sides plan to accelerate the implementation of the Kaladan Transit project. The announcement not only underscored warming bilateral ties but also highlighted the project's overall importance in the current economic and political context.
India's US$100 million investment in the Sittwe port could thus be viewed as a linchpin in New Delhi's greater drive to expand its regional influence by helping Myanmar to overcome its economic underdevelopment and chronic mismanagement after decades of military rule.
Like Sittwe for India, the port at Kyaukphyu is a cornerstone in China's strategy in Myanmar and the region more generally. For Beijing, Kyaukphyu, only about 100km south of Sittwe, is of central importance as it forms the foundation for its investments in both energy production and delivery infrastructure in Myanmar. Additionally, the port provides valuable land-based access to the Indian Ocean, something that China has craved for decades, including as an alternative route for its fuel shipments from the Middle East.
Just as in the case of the Chinese-funded (and now controlled and administered) Port of Gwadar in Pakistan, Beijing views deep water ports in South Asia as essential for its economic development and geopolitical ambitions. At the same time, ethnic and political unrest in Myanmar's Rakhine state has illustrated to the world, and China in particular, that instability and security concerns could impact the development of the ports in Myanmar.
Though it shares some similarities with Sittwe and Kyaukphyu, the planned construction of a port at Dawei on Myanmar's southern coast faces bigger obstacles. Originally conceived as a massive joint venture between Thailand and Myanmar to be completed by 2020, the project has encountered major hurdles to implementation, including doubts from potential Japanese investors about the feasibility of the US$58 billion megaproject.
Dawei, initially designed as a special economic zone replete with high-speed railways, modern highways and the region's largest industrial park, aimed at connecting Myanmar with the wider regional economy.
Kyaukphyu represents the entry point of Chinese-funded twin oil and gas pipelines that will run across Myanmar into southwestern China's Yunnan province. Not only will these pipelines become a reliable means of delivering energy imports from the Middle East and Africa directly to China without having to navigate the narrow Strait of Malacca and increasingly volatile South China Sea, they will also provide China a potential direct line to over 20 new offshore oil and gas exploration blocks that will go up for international auction in April.
For China, the pipelines are the focal point of a comprehensive energy and investment strategy in Myanmar. However, these plans, too, have encountered difficulties. The recent renewal of civil war in Kachin State after 17 years of a ceasefire has hampered the development and inauguration of the pipeline. Security has become such a concern for China that the Chinese are paying are reported to be paying Myanmarese soldiers in the north for security for pipeline construction.
A 2008 study by Earth Rights International noted "At least 16 Chinese multi-national corporations have been involved in 21 onshore and offshore oil and natural gas projects in [Myanmar], including all three major Chinese oil and natural gas companies Sinopec, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)." The fact that so many Chinese investors are involved in every aspect of Myanmar's energy shows the degree to which Myanmar fits into China's long-term energy security plans.
The Chinese-funded Myitsone Dam, a $3.6 billion hydroelectric power development project on the Irrawaddy River in Kachin State, has also courted controversy. An estimated 90% of the power generated from the dam would be exported to southwestern China at a time when Myanmar still suffers from chronic power shortages. Violence and insecurity, environmental concerns and issues of national pride have all contributed to the project's suspension.
Beijing has served as host to several rounds of peace talks between Kachin rebels and the Myanmar government, so far to little avail. Beijing has taken on the unfamiliar role of peace-maker in an effort to influence the negotiation process, in the hope that a lasting peace will allow the Myitsone dam project to resume.
Ethnic conflicts, though sometimes problematic for investors, have not impeded Myanmar's overall drive towards economic development and progress. Although rapid development financed by foreign capital could, without regulation, destabilize Myanmar's fragile transitional economy, the benefits achieved in poverty reduction alone are expected to outweigh the costs. Perched between China and India as a gateway to Southeast Asia, Myanmar is now well-poised to profit from the geostrategic competition for its resources, contracts and markets.
Eric Draitser is the founder of StopImperialism.com. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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