On House Speaker U Win Myint’s mutual understanding, trust and respect

  • Written by Sai Wansai/S.H.A.N
  • Published in Analysis

The key words of house speaker are mutual understanding, trust and respect, in order to be able to amend the constitution. Let us look at them word for word.

First regarding the mutual understanding, there is a big gap to be bridged. The military or Tatmadaw and many Bamar political class understanding of how the country we now called Burma or Niyanmar is quite different from those of the ethnic nationalities. From their point of view, it is a relatively new political entity made possible by virtue of Panglong Agreement signed voluntarily in 1947, between the ethnic nationalities and the interim Burmese government, still under the British colonial rule, headed by I: Aung San, the late father of NW leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The present day Bamar military and civilian leaders seem not so clear regarding this concept of how the country came into being. For at least the Tatmadaw is promoting the idea that Panglong Agreement is in fact the reunion of Pyima, or Burma Proper, with the hill peoples. In other words, all ethnic nationalities’ areas belong to the Bamar since ancient times.

Now let us go to the word of “trust’. To be able to trust, the first step for the government and military to do is to stop the occupation and militarization of the ethnic homelands, followed by honoring the Panglong Agreement and Pledges with genuine Panglong Spirit. And as an introduction that the Bamar leadership meant business, a unilateral nationwide ceasefire should be declared and withdrawal of the front line Tatmadaw forces to a safe distance should be ordered and implemented. And only then we will be in a position to talk about trust-building, not before.

As for respect, the ethnic nationalities have always been respectful to the Bamar leadership starting from Aung San’s day in 1947. Otherwise the Panglong Agreement would not have come into being, much less the formation of the Union of Burma. More important is that the Bamar leadership respect the rights of the ethnic nationalities and not trample on them as has been the case so far.