Salai Kyaw Moe — The following interviews are with representatives from two ethnic Chin political parties on the future of Chin state in the wake of the recent national election. Cheery Zahau, a renowned women rights activist and previous Chin person of the year award winner, is the Chin Progressive Party (CPP) Secretary. Salai Pi Pi and U Ngai Sak are both from the Chin League for Democracy (CLD).
Salai Pi Pi - Chin League for Democracy (CLD)
If the government cordially transfers power since the NLD has won, Burma’s economy will rise three times what is now because western countries, especially the US, will give a lot of aid for Burma’s democratic transition after Daw Su won with a landslide. Because she is respected by the world.
I believe Burma will change a lot due to this aid. On the other hand, China is also likely to give a lot of aid to Burma as a way of showing its face in competition with the US. As the country needs investment, it may receive of a lot funds from either the U.S. or China.
So, if we were to observe whether this will be beneficial for Chin State, we have to look at two sectors: the Parliament and the administration. Since the NLD has won [nearly] all of the seats in the Parliament, the NLD is likely to rule. But, no matter how they rule, the qualification [of the MP] is the predominant factor.
MPs were only able to enact five new laws during the last five-year parliament term. The question of how many new laws can the NLD enact for our Chin State within the next five years has become very important. That’s why I say the qualification is number one. It’s not concerned with the party.
Secondly, all nine ministers in the [Chin State government] have become quite important. It will be better to appoint a chief minister who has strong convictions. With the appointment of the nine ministers, it is important to appoint those qualified people in the right positions. I believe it will be very beneficial for Chin State if both the winning candidates as well as the defeated candidates with qualifications can be appointed in these positions rather than appointing [all the ministerial positions] from the NLD.
Cheery Zahau -Secretary of the Chin Progressive Party (CPP)
It depends largely on the qualification of the elected woman candidates in Chin State for a lift in the lifestyles of women in the next government’s term. Men will never touch women’s issues. They are not interested in these issues. Most of the newly elected men are traditional and do not believe in gender equality. That’s why we need to observe the capacity of the current women [MPs]. There isn’t much hope. It depends on how much efforts these MPs will make.
Also, I believe that politics will become quite developed when the NLD government takes office. I don’t have expectations for the economy due to the position of the Chin State because the NLD practices a central administration system. We need a federal [system] for an actual development of social standards. The central administration system has been used for nearly 60 years. The economic systems and projects set down by the central government might not match with the position, natural environment, agriculture, and lifestyle of Chin State. When these economic systems and projects failed to reflect Chin State, it became the poorest state. In order to change this, we always say that we need to get a federal system.
In order to have a Chin State government, the decision should be made in the hands of the Chin people. Otherwise, [the policies] set down by the central government may not be effective in our situation. No matter how good the policies are in the central government, they are useless if they don’t match with the current situation in Chin State. We need to look at this. We need to look at how much authority the NLD will give to the Chin State government and how it will distribute the power. If the central [government] continues to hold the power, the Chin people will still be far from their dreams.
U Ngai Sak - Chin League for Democracy
If I were to give an estimated observation for 2015-2016, Burma may become very developed. The NLD has won on a nationwide level. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s image is very big. That’s why a multitude of foreign investment is likely to be made. Many loans can also be obtained.
The economy will develop not only in Chin State, but also on a nationwide level. But, there may be doubts as to whether or not the implementation in Chin State will be effective while the rest of the areas become developed. The Chin Hills and Karenni [State] have been neglected territories for successive governments. It is doubtful how much they can do. So, a development policy for the entire country needs to be properly set down and carried out on the same level. It will also be better for the state if tourism businesses are allowed [to operate].
We have transparency now. Another thing is that the investment law needs to be amended. The bylaw needs to be handled systematically.
Restrictions against foreign tourists need to be lifted in Chin State’s Matupi Township. If all of them are lifted, the tourism industry will become developed. A border area development project is needed if an equal border area and development policy is to be practiced.
The USDP government has done as much as it can in 2015. But Chin State has been affected by flooding. A lot of infrastructure has been damaged so the issue on reconstruction has become very important. It will be inconvenient if the implementation in [Chin State] is carried out on the same level with the mainland. The flood-affected areas need to be designated as a special area and infrastructural development tasks needs to be carried out.