Kayah State politicians reflect on limited public engagement

Kayah (Karenni) State politicians say local government has so far failed to engage with the public they allegedly serve.

“[MPs] raise questions in the Hluttaw about the public’s difficulties. When we raise the questions, only the Hluttaw representatives know the details about their constituents, but the government officials and the ministers don’t know because they don’t do any field surveys,” said U Aung Naing Oo, a Hluttaw representative from Mese Constituency 1. “The responses they give to our questions are not satisfactory for us. They only know how to read out the answers given by their department heads.”

He encouraged state ministers to go out and meet with the public before creating policy.

U Luu Kyi, joint secretary of the Kayah Unity Democracy Party (KUDP), said some of the state MPs also need to do their own legwork and more proactively speak with public.

“In my opinion, the public has started to lose faith in the existing government because there is so little communication between them [and the politicians],” he said.

Kayah State’s Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP)’s chair U Poe Reh Aung Thein said very few Hluttaw representatives regularly meet with the public.

On May 9, Mercy Corp held a regional development workshop in Loikaw. Part of the discussions focused on how to communicate and cooperate with constituents.

“The workshop was held to enhance [political representatives’] capacity in communicating with the public,” said U Myat Thu, a project manager at Mercy Corps.

He added that local political figures should exchange experience, capabilities, and knowledge with the public in order to effectively develop the state and respond to local needs.

Translated by Thida Linn
Edited by Laignee Barron