The Mon State Chief Minister has poured cold water on the idea of appointing a Mon ethnic affairs minister.
Mon State Hluttaw’s Ethnic Affairs Committee had last month called on the government to appoint a minister responsible for overseeing Mon affairs, especially after an issue with undelivered Mon language textbooks sparked outrage.
According to the 2015 Law Protecting Ethnic Rights, a state or region’s chief minister can appoint ethnic affairs ministers at their discretion.
However, Chief Minister Dr. Aye Zan told parliament on September 6 that such a position would be redundant.
“We don’t need to appoint a joint minister for Mon Affairs. The Mon government will handle Mon State affairs and Mon literature and culture issues,” he said in response to a question by Deputy Speaker U Aung Naing Oo.
The Deputy Speaker reasoned that such a position would be helpful in presiding over day-to-day affairs that may escape the government’s notice.
"Literature and culture, as well as Mon National Day, are issues that are already taken care of. But beyond that, it is important that someone take responsibility [for Mon affairs] rather than always relying on assistance from the state government,” he said.
In the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, K150 million was allocated for a Bamar affairs minister, K200 million for Karen affairs minister and K150 million for PaO affairs. No budget has been allocated for Mon affairs.
Under the previous administration, Mon affairs fell under the office of Minister of Planning and Finance U Min Nwe Soe.