We believe we must give shape for emergence of democratic State that corresponds with our country and our people
Some big nations are siding with interests of the individual which they desire and believe in one-sided false news, are unjustly pressuring our country, causing all kinds of difficulties to 52 million Myanmar people
Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt clarifies future policies and programmes of State

YANGON, 30 Aug (The New Light of Myanmar 31 Aug) - Prime Minister of the Union of Myanmar General Khin Nyunt met with officials of the ministries and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at Pyithu Hluttaw building at 9.30 am today and clarified future policies and programmes of the State.

Also present were Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Soe Win, Secretary-2 Lt-Gen Thein Sein, commanders, ministers, deputy ministers, the chief justice, the deputy chief justice, Supreme Court justices, the attorney-general, the deputy attorney-generals, the auditor-general, the deputy auditor-general, the chairman of the Civil Service Selection and Training Board and members, the Yangon mayor and the vice-mayor, the Mandalay mayor and the secretary of Mandalay City Development Committee, members of the National Convention Convening Commission and the working committee for the NCCC, members of the State and Division Peace and Development Councils and the public relations and information work committee, the director-general of the State Peace and Development Council Office and departmental heads, chairmen and secretaries of academies of various fields in Myanmar, and chairmen, secretaries and officials of NGOs.

Director-General of the State Peace and Development Council Office Lt-Col Pe Nyein acted as master of ceremonies.

The Prime Minister clarified the future policies and programmes of the State.

The following is the clarifications made by Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt concerning the policies and programmes of the State at the Pyithu Hluttaw here today:

I would like to first of all wish all the responsible members of the State, Heads of Department and specially invited guests health and happiness.

In my address today, I shall be explaining about important matters of the State that responsible members of the State and the general public should be aware. The address will be in three parts.

The three parts

In the first part, I would be explaining about the all round development achieved in the country from the time of the assumption of responsibilities by our government, an achievement made possible through day and night efforts of responsible persons and the cooperation of the entire people in keeping with the objective for the emergence of modern and developed State.

In the second part, I shall be briefly touching on the political developments in the country.

In the third part, I shall be speaking about the various steps of the political program which will be implemented for the emergence of a modern, developed and democratic State that corresponds to the political, economic and social conditions of the country and is based on Myanmar's historical background and experiences as well as the culture and civilization of the people.

On the right path for development

If I may now turn to the first part of my address-
Today, the State Peace and Development Council is endeavoring in all aspects for the emergence of a peaceful, modern and developed State with the aim of transforming our nation into one where the level of development of the country is comparable to those in the international community; where our national economy will be strong; and where the people will enjoy a high standard of living.

In marching towards this national goal of a peaceful, modern and developed State, we have laid down and are vigorously implementing political, economic and social objectives that would not only yield positive results such as peace and stability, progress and development but will also strengthen national unity spirit and Union spirit that constitute the main pillars for the perpetuation of the Union.

Peace and stability, economic development, national unity, and perpetuation of the Union are matters that are not only interlinked but are also mutually reinforcing.

The nation will only be peaceful and tranquil if there is national unity. Likewise, it is only when there is a peaceful environment can there be development of the basic infrastructure for national development. Moreover, it is only through these developments that the national economy will grow with momentum.

Similarly, sound economic foundation strengthens national unity and perpetuation of the Union as well as contributes to peace, stability and prosperity of the country.

Therefore, since the time of the assumption of responsibilities by the Tatmadaw Government, it has been systematically striving for national reconsolidation, peace and tranquility and prevalence of law and order as first priority task. It is also simultaneously implementing national projects that would strengthen national economic life and the economic, social and development infrastructure necessary for the emergence of a modern and developed State.

The national projects for development are being implemented on a pragmatic manner based on the strength of our natural resources; on the strength of our intellectuals, technicians and people; and on the strength of the economic and development infrastructure that are being built or are in the process of being built.

It can be seen that today, due to the efforts of the government based on the strength and capabilities of its own national resources and the participation of the entire people, the Union of Myanmar is on the right path for development. Moreover, sound foundation and fruitful results are being attained in respect of the fundamentals for national unity, basic infrastructures for national economic progress, for national development, for social development, as well as in technology.

I believe everybody will remember that at the time of our assumption of State responsibilities, the economy was in recession and, because of the destruction and looting by destructionists, almost all the basic infrastructure necessary for development, such as factories and workshops were in ruins. Moreover, communication and transportation system in the entire country had broken down and all activities in the country had grounded to a halt.

Starting from 1986, the economy of the country had declined and in the 1988-89 financial year, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country was at its lowest at (47141) million kyats.

After the assumption of responsibilities, the market oriented economic system that encourages the private sector was introduced and the national economic projects that were being implemented were also changed to correspond with the new economic policy.

At the same time, even while the factories, workshops and the economic infrastructure that had been destroyed or damaged were being repaired and reconstructed, development infrastructures such as roads, river-crossing bridges, dams and reservoirs, universities and colleges as well as hospitals were built throughout the nation.

Due to the day and night efforts of the government, the GDP of the nation, which stood at only over (47000) million kyats in fiscal year 1988-89, recovered from its decline and by the 1990-91 financial year reached (50260) million kyats. In the three years period from 1989-90 to 1991-92, the GDP of the nation achieved an average annual growth rate of (5.9) percent.

29 million work force

At the end of 1992-93 to 1995-96 Short Term Four Year Plan, the GDP of the country grew by an average annual rate of (7.5) percent.

Next, from 1996-97 to 2000-2001, the Second Short Term Five Year Plan was laid down and implemented.

During this Second Short Term Five Year Plan, systematic implementation was carried out to ensure that the present sound economic foundations would be further consolidated and that Myanmar's economy will be placed on a path of steady and durable economic growth. As a result, at the end of the Second Five Year Plan, the GDP grew by an average annual growth rate of (8.5) percent.

The present 2003-2004 fiscal year represents the third year of the current 2001-2002 to 2005-2006 Short Term Five Year Plan. During this Five Year Plan, the planned target is to realize an average yearly GDP growth of (10.7) percent. During the 2002-2003 fiscal year i.e. the second year of the Plan, (11.1) percent GDP growth was achieved. Moreover, at the end of the 2002-2003 fiscal year, per capital GDP had increased to (105940) kyats.

In addition, in order to diminish unemployment in the country, our Government created employment opportunities by using various methods and means. Consequently, we were able to find employment for nearly 10 million workers and the work force increased from (19) million in 1988 to the present (29) million.

Agricultural Sector

Let me now turn to the Agricultural Sector-
In trying to achieve growth and development with momentum in national economic life, the government pays special attention for all round development of the country based on an economic policy which calls for taking of agriculture as the basis and development of other economic sectors as well.

In the initial stage, taking paddy which is the main crop in the country as the basis, the government focused its attention on measures to increase sown acreage, to utilize modern agricultural techniques and high yield seed varieties as well as to use various methods to ensure the availability of adequate water for agricultural purposes.

At the time, when we first assumed responsibilities, paddy production in the nation was only (654) million baskets a year. Therefore, the government encouraged the farmers to grow paddy not only during the rainy season but also during summer as double cropping and set the target of reaching an annual production of (1000) million baskets a year. Consequently, paddy production reached over (800) million baskets from 1995-96 to 1997-98 and increased to (965) million baskets in the 1999-2000 fiscal year. The original target of (1000) million tons had been realized since the 2000-2001 fiscal year.

As availability of water for agricultural purposes is a main requirement for development of the agricultural sector, the government has constructed dams, reservoirs, sluice gates and implemented water pumping and underground water tapping projects across the country.

In order to obtain necessary water for agricultural purposes, a network of dams including small and medium size projects, some coupled with power generation facilities, were constructed across the country. Since 1988, during the time of our government, (150) dams and reservoirs as well as (265) river water pumping projects in areas where water is scare had been constructed. Due to the projects undertaken for obtaining water, agricultural land increased by more than (2) million acres.

More than (63494) million kyats were used from government funds to construct the (150) dams, reservoirs and weirs. Presently, 39 irrigation projects are in the process of being built and there are plans to construct (84) more.

Livestock and Fisheries Sector

With regard to the Livestock and Fisheries Sector-
Together with the agricultural sector, the government is also focusing on the development of the livestock and fisheries sector as
Myanmar's geographical features has made this sector as one of the most economically promising sector.

Since both the government as well as the private sector have expanded with great momentum livestock breeding and marine industries, the livestock and fisheries sector achieved an average annual growth rate of (4.6) percent during 1992-93 to 1995-96 First Short Term Economic Plan and (12.7) percent during the 1996-97 to 2000-2001 Economic Plan. In the 2001-2002 fiscal year the sector grew by (12.6) percent and in 2002-2003 by (12.0) percent.

The production of fresh water and salt water fish and prawns in 1987-88 was only (681,000) tons. However, this has increased to (1,579,000) tons in 2002-2003.

Forestry Sector

With respect to the Forestry Sector-
Together with the agricultural and livestock and fisheries sector, another great natural resource of our country is the forestry sector. (52.28) percent of our total land area is still covered with forests containing diverse valuable wood and bamboo resources including the internationally renowned teakwood.

In 1988-89, reserved and protected public forest accounted for (24.8) million acres and protected area system amounted to (1.35) million acres. Due to the preservation and reforestation efforts, by the 2002-2003 fiscal year, the reserved and protected public forest area has increased to (35.05) million acres and protected area system acreage amounted to (3.36) million acres.

Moreover, between 1998-99 and 2002-2003 fiscal years, forest plantation including special teak plantations, has been implemented in nearly (1.1) million acres.

Due to the progress in the forestry sector, wood-based industries have been established and value added wood products are on the increase.

Industrial Sector

With regard to the Industrial Sector-
In order to achieve economic growth based on modern industrial production during the time of our government, we are endeavouring to increase the capabilities of the state own large industrial enterprises as well as to increase industrial production on the whole. Moreover, to increase the industrial capabilities of the regions and to be able to offer more jobs opportunities, the private sector had set up (18) industrial zones and additional expanded industrial zones in various States and Divisions. At the moment, the private industrial zones are now capable of producing motor vehicles, agricultural machinery and equipment, electronic goods, spare parts needed for large factories. Moreover, there are also small factories such as factories that produced soap and detergents.

With a view to increase industrial production, to improve the quality of the products as well as to produce import substitution goods, (257) new large, medium and small sized factories have been established in the state sector. On the other hand, the private sector also constructed (24,293) new factories. Therefore, the number of state and private owned factories increased from (27,430) in 1988 to (51,980) at present. These efforts and achievements show the endeavours by both state and private sectors to develop the industrial sector in order to realize the goal of the emergence of the modern industrial country.

Roads and Bridges Sector

Regarding the developments in the Roads and Bridges Sector-
What is contributing effectively to significant achievement in building sound foundations for economic development is the dynamic growth of the transportation infrastructure including roads and river-crossing bridges that is being constructed by the government all over the country.

During the time of our government, river-crossing bridges and major roads have been constructed so that now there is a network linking east and west and south and north of the nation. Thus, all parts of the country including regions like Rakhine State and Ayeyawady Division that are full of rivers and creeks as well as the border areas are now linked by this network.

In 1988, there were only (461) roads in the country with a total length of (13600) road miles. In the time of our government, we were able to construct (55) new roads measuring nearly (2000) road miles.

If we look at the bridges, before 1988, there were only (2) major bridges namely the Sagaing Bridge across the Ayeyawady and the Sittoung Bridge across the Sittoung river. Today, (158) new bridges of more than (180) feet span have been constructed including (7) large bridges spanning across the Ayeyawady river, (2) across the Chindwin river and (3) across the Thanlwin river.

Presently, (35) new bridges including the Thanlwin bridge (Mawlamyine) which will be the longest bridge in Myanmar and Ayeyawady bridge (Yadanabon) are under construction. Moreover, plans are underway to construct another (23) bridges.

Rail Transport Sector

As for the Rail Transport Sector-
New rail lines that would link the important centres of the country have been constructed. These include Nyaungshwe - Yatsauk rail line, Aungban - Pinlong - Loikaw rail line, Namhsan - Mognai rail line, Shwenyaung - Namhsan rail line in the
Shan State. Moreover, Chaung Oo - Pakoku - Gangaw - Kalay rail line which would involve the construction of a high standard tunnel as well as a rail line that would circle the Yoma are also being built.

In 1988, the rail systems in Myanmar consisted of (1976) miles of railroads. In our times, another (1012) miles of railroads have been added and thus the rail system now consists of over (2900) and nearly (3000) miles of railroads.

Aviation and Maritime Transport Sector

As for Aviation and Maritime Transport Sector-
With the increased momentum in various economic and development sectors, the government has systematically implemented measures so that international aviation and maritime transportation as well as internal aviation and inland water transportation would also develop in tandem.

Due to these efforts to upgrade the air transportation sector, the number of airports in the country has increased to (27) from (21) airports in 1988. Moreover, at that time, there were only (6) airports in the nation where a Fokker F-28 jet aircraft can land. Today, there are (18) such airports.

Moreover, the runways of the various airports are being lengthened so that larger aircrafts can land. In addition to the upgrading of airports, (7) new airports are under construction.

Similarly, with regard to maritime transportation, international terminals such as International Thilawa Terminal, Thakayta Terminal, Alon Terminal and Myanmar Industrial Terminal as well as modern cargo handling systems and equipment, international standard container terminals testify to the achievements in this sector.

One development which deserves a special mention in the aviation and maritime transportation sector is the establishment for the first time ever in Myanmar of the Myanmar Maritime University and Myanmar Aerospace Engineering University where international standard marine technicians, architects and engineers as well as aviation technicians, architects and engineers are being trained.

Communication Sector

In the Communication Sector-
Efforts to upgrade the communication sector with momentum have been implemented in order to facilitate contacts between the people living in different parts of the nation. Furthermore, it can be seen that there has been a dramatic increase in linkages with the international telecommunication network by using rapidly changing information and communication technology.

In addition to establishing cellular, CDMA and GSM phone systems in the country, Data Communication, E-Mail, Internet, Intranet facilities are now available through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

As Packet Switching System has been installed in both Yangon and Mandalay, it is now also possible to use Data Line and E-Mail.

Electricity Sector

Regarding the Electricity Sector-
With the advancement of the nation and the raising of the standard of living and quality of life of the people, there has been a significant increased in the consumption of electricity. The government is therefore implementing systematic measures to meet the increased demand for electricity.

In 1988, the consumption of electricity amounted to (2226.45) million units. However, due to the systematic implementation of electricity projects, people are now using up to (5064.20) million units of electricity. In other words, electricity consumption has increased 2.27 times.

To increase the generation of electricity, the government has built hydroelectric plants, steam turbine plants, natural gas plants, as well as electricity plants using diesel oil. As a result, the installed capacity increased nearly (2) times to (1219.81) megawatts as compared to (706.82) megawatts in 1988.

This increase in production of electricity is made possible because the government constructed (28) Hydropower Projects and (6) natural gas plants.

(11) new Electric Power Projects including Paunglaung Hydroelectric Project that would produce (280) megawatts and Yeywa Hydroelectric Project that would produce (780) megawatts are also under construction. When these (11) projects are completed, additional (1960) megawatts of electricity will become available to the public.

Education Sector

Turning to the Education Sector-
The national task of the education sector is to nurture and develop human resources in all fields in order to maintain and promote for the future the benefits accrued from the advancement of the nation. It must also systematically implement measures so that the rapidly progressing science and technology in international arena will reach and spread in the country.

The Four Year Special Plan to raise the national education level involves not only the Education Ministry but also Health, Science and Technology and other Ministries concerned with Higher Education.

In order to provide opportunities for education, basic education schools, universities and colleges have been opened across the country.

As a result, in 1988 the number of basic education schools amounted to (33,747) schools. However in 2003, this has increased to (40,049) including branch schools and affiliated schools.

With a view to providing the rural areas with the opportunities to get basic middle school education, (3,800) post primary schools have been opened in the country.

As the increase in basic education schools requires additional teaching staff, the number of teachers has been increased to (222,000) in 2003 from (173,000) in 1988. In 1988, the number of students attending basic education was over (5.2) million (5,239,878). This has now increased to over (7.5) million (7,550,896).

There were many illiterate people in our country because of the colonial legacy and the weaknesses of the succeeding periods. Therefore, after we assumed responsibility, adult literacy classes were arranged throughout the nation including the remote border areas in order to decrease the number of illiterates with the eventual aim of totally eliminating illiteracy in the country. Because of these classes, today (500,963) adults are now able to read and write. The literacy rate also increased from (78) percent to (92.2) percent.

With regard to higher education, universities and colleges have been opened in the (24) special development zones established in (14) States and Divisions with the aim of providing all parts of the nation with opportunities for higher education as well as for human resource development of the region.

Due to the opening of new universities and colleges, the number of universities and colleges has increased from (32) in 1988 to (154) at present.

The expanded opening of universities and colleges have provided the people with greater educational opportunities and as a result, the number of students studying at colleges and universities increased from (130,000) to over (890,000) in 2003.

Similarly, the teaching faculties have also seen great increase. Previously, there were only (5,600) university teachers, ranging from professors to tutors and demonstrators. Today, the number stands at (16,600).

Moreover, in 1988, it was only possible to study up to a Master Degree. However, in 2003, various universities and colleges under the Education Ministry are providing (150) different post-graduate diploma and degree courses including (18) kinds of Master Researcher Degree, (40) kinds of Master Courses and (20) kinds of Doctorate Courses.

If we include the (90) different kinds of Master and Doctorate Courses opened by Universities of Medicine, (73) kinds of Master and Doctorate Courses opened by Technological Universities and Universities of Computer Studies, then the number of post graduate diploma and degree Courses being arranged by Universities and Colleges in Myanmar amounts up to (313).

In 1988, only (266) students obtained the Master Degree. As the government has greatly expanded post-graduate Master and Doctorate Courses, in a period of (3) years between 2001 and 2003, (9,474) students obtained the Master Degree and (206) received their Doctorates.

Technical Education Sector

With respect to the Technical Education Sector-
In the time of our government, Science and
Technology Universities and Colleges have been opened in all the States and Divisions in the country. Therefore, at present, there are four Universities of Technology, (2) Computer Universities, (1) Myanmar Aerospace Engineering University, (26) Government Technological Colleges, (24) Government Computer Colleges and (9) Government Technical Institutes.

In previous days, the Technological Universities could only offer Master Classes. Indeed, in 1988, there were only (22) students who received the Master Degree. However, in the time of our Government, it is now possible for students to study in (73) different kinds of post-graduate degree and diploma courses including (19) Doctorate Courses and (27) Master Courses. Consequently, from 2000-2001 to 2002-2003, within a space of (3) academic years, (1,424) students obtained their Master Degrees and (128) students received their Ph.Ds.

Health Sector

Turning to the Health Sector-
In endeavoruring for the development of the nation, it is necessary for our people not only to have higher standards of education, but also to be healthy and strong. The greatly increased availability of health care and a higher standard of health care reflect the rising social standards of the nation.

If we look at the progress made in health infrastructure, it can be seen that while in 1988, there were only (617) hospitals including specialist hospitals and general hospitals, in 2003 this has increased to (757) hospitals. Similarly, (84) local dispensaries and (1,414) rural health centres have been established in all parts of the country.

In addition to (140) new hospitals, existing hospitals are being upgraded. The 25-bed hospitals have been upgraded to 50-bed ones. 100-bed hospitals to 200-bed hospitals and even up to 300-bed hospitals. Altogether (114) hospitals were upgraded.

In 1988, there were only (4) Universities of Medicine. Today, there are (14) Universities of Medicine under the Ministry of Health. In previous times, only (10) Diploma Classes and (13) Master Classes were available. Today, the Universities of Medicine are offering (28) different Diploma Courses, (26) Master Courses, (7) Dr. Med. Sc. Courses and (29) Ph.D Courses.

Border Areas Sector

With regard to development of Border Areas Sector-
During the time of our government, we were able to build up unity among our national races; and to restore peace and stability to the border areas. As a result, we are now able to implement, in a systematic manner, projects for the development of border areas and national races. To provide more momentum to border area development works a separate Ministry for Borders was established. Thus, the development of border areas and national races and the raising of the standard of living are being implemented with greater impetus.

Although, in the initial stage, border area development programmes were carried out only in areas where peace had returned, it has now been extended to cover all the areas in the country that have lagged behind the development.

Presently, border area development programmes are being carried out in (18) different areas of the country covering (68) Townships in (7) States and (2) Divisions covering (83,415.34) square miles. The population in these areas is over (5.3) million and the government is providing wide ranging humanitarian assistance to them.

The sectors in which development activities are being carried out for border area development are ones that directly impact on the backwardness of the region and include roads and bridges, education, health, agriculture, livestock breeding, electricity, communication, mineral exploration etc. and therefore are of great benefit to the people.

Border area development projects were implemented phase by phase starting from the 1993-94 to 1995-96 First Short Term 3-Year Plan, 1996-97 to 2000-2001 First Five-Year Plan and 2001-2002 to 2005-2006 Second Five-Year Plan. These plans also correspond with the overall national plans.

As border areas and national races development programmes are being undertaken with momentum, the government has already spent (45,762.87) million kyats and over US $ (506) million from the time when border area development programmes started in 1989 to the present. Due to these efforts, it can be seen that there have been significant all-round development in the border areas.

In previous times, border areas such as Panwa in Kachin State, Laukkai, Namtit, Panhsan, Mongla in Shan State were very backward in development. Today, they have been transformed into towns with modern buildings, international standard hotels, department stores, that are comparable to those in the capital city of Yangon. These endeavours, moreover, have strengthened the spirit of national unity and Union Spirit in the country.

True facts

In the Second Part, I will be informing the responsible persons and the people the true facts about the reasons why our government had to assume responsibilities as well as the political developments after our assumption of responsibilities.

It is because of the historical necessity that we were compelled to assume State responsibilities on 18 September 1988. It may be recalled at that time there arose a most alarming movement towards chaos and anarchy due to the political influences behind the violent demonstrations in the country. It is because of this situation that we unavoidably had to assume responsibilities.

Some unscrupulous persons distorted the undeniable historical fact and tried to term the unrest and demonstrations that happened during 1988 as a movement for democracy. However much they try to persuade with sweet words, a careful analysis of the events of 1988 will show that people who tried to get political gain, people who were swayed by instigations and encouragement of western countries and people with leftist views who had donned the cloak of democracy united to deliberately create anarchism among the demonstrators and protestors who had grievances against the previous government. As the group who were making demonstrations and launching struggles and demands with the aim of getting political gain and the group of people who were waiting for an opportunity to loot and destroy combined to form the majority, anarchism reigned over the nation and the Union was on the verge of disintegration. The people were facing untold hardship and difficulties and the Tatmadaw which has the responsibility for national defense and security of the nation had to unavoidably assume State responsibilities.

From the time of the assumption of duties of the entire country, the historical task of restoring peace and tranquility to a nation where unrest and instability had spread to the entire nation as well as to transform the future Union of Myanmar into the peaceful modern and developed State was thrust onto our government. It is our belief that in keeping with the changing political and economic conditions in the world, we should systematically lay down and implement national policy and programmes in keeping with democratic practices so that the Union of Myanmar will become a peaceful, modern, and developed State. In other words, we believe that we must give shape for the emergence of a democratic State that corresponds with our country and our people.

Therefore, as you all are aware, at the time of the assumption of responsibilities it was declared that elections will be held and that multi-party system will be introduced. Political reforms were carried out step by step for the transformation to a genuine multi-party democracy system. Our endeavours were not done in a haphazard way but to ensure the best possible future after studying the weaknesses and strength of the democracy system that had been practiced in the past as well as to treat the historical wounds that have not been healed yet.

Democratic practices differ from one country to another

Democracy can only materialize after taking into account the historical background and objective conditions of the country concerned. It is also a truth that democratic practices differ from one country to another. There exist differences between the countries that practice democracy today and the historical background, geographical conditions as well as the culture and character of the people of our country.

It is an undeniable fact that because of these differences, we cannot directly copy or import a democratic system that is being practiced abroad. Neither can such a change be affected overnight.

Because of the nature of our geography, there are many fast flowing creeks and rivers in the Union of Myanmar. There also exists steeped mountains and dense forests. Therefore, transportation connections between one place and another are inadequate and communication is difficult. Many national races live in the Union of Myanmar. There are slight differences in language and culture between them and they live in all the regions. Because of the transportation and communication difficulties, some regions lagged behind in development.

Moreover, since the time of the regaining of independence, armed insurrection emerged across the country due to the differences in ideology and thinking, thus greatly hindering internal peace and stability as well as development and progress. This is a reason why we lagged behind in development. Even today, in some parts of the border areas there still exists armed opposition from some national brethren.

Because of these conditions, because of these difficulties, the border regions and the remote areas where the national races live lagged behind in education, health, social and economic conditions.

Moreover, it also resulted in the weakening of national unity in the country. Because of the lack of peace and stability in the country, it has to face great difficulties in trying to make the country modern and advanced. As such, it is not surprising that even after fifty years of independence, when compared to other countries Myanmar lagged behind in development and standard of living. Without trying to heal these own injuries and wounds it is very difficult to change overnight into a democratic state.

Therefore, from the time that we assumed the responsibilities, we have given priority to the development of the border areas and the national races. It is known to all that if one looks at the first declaration (1/88) issued after the assumption of responsibilities it is clearly stated that we would strive for the restoration of smooth transportation as well as for economic development to meet the food, clothing and shelter needs of the people.

It is also our belief that consolidation of national unity in the country and emergence of economic foundations for regional development, together with the raising of the standards of living of the people are basic foundations of the democratic system.

Even as the government lays down and rapidly implement the projects for the development of border areas and national races for the sake of reconsolidating national unity, it simultaneously engaged in efforts to restore trust and confidence with the armed groups so that they could return to the legal fold. As a result, 17 armed groups have now returned to the legal fold. Even a casual look can reveal that the task of persuading the armed groups to return to the legal fold represents a very difficult change. It was definitely not easy to overcome from difficult conditions created by more than four decades of national brethren fighting against each other with loss of life on both sides while the people face all kinds of difficulties and sufferings. Our government has to achieve what had not been possible for the previous successive governments. This success was due to the fact that there was mutual respect, understanding, confidence and sincerity on both sides. It is heartening to note that the national leaders from these groups are actively participating in the construction of basic infrastructure not only in their regions but for national development as well.

As the conditions for peace and stability improved in the country and as national unity had been built to a certain extent, efforts were initiated in 1992 for the convening of the National Convention. The National Convention is a convention which tries to find a solution by discussion and deliberation for basic principles required in the drafting of the constitution that would shape the future democratic State. The Convention was not only composed of representatives from the political parties, representatives-elect, representatives from the national races, national races leaders that had returned to the legal fold but also from representatives of intellectuals, public servants and people from various strata in the country.

Emergence of a modern, developed and democratic State

In the National Convention, political parties and politicians have the right to take part in official deliberations and to make known their views and wishes. The National Convention, which people from the political field had longed for so long, was convened in a manner that allows all the political forces to participate in the process. The convening of the National Convention is also for the emergence of a modern, developed and democratic State in accordance with the aspirations of all strata of people.

However, in 1995, one of the above-ground political forces, namely the NLD, decided to ignore the future of the country and placed the attitude and wishes of an individual and the interests of its own party above the national cause, and carried out a plan aimed at destroying the National Convention. Consequently, efforts for political development have now faltered at half way point.

Instead of systematically participating and cooperating in a political program that needs to be implemented step by step, the NLD continued to intransigently hold on to the results of an election that was held 13 years ago and launched a political attack based on the convening of the Hluttaw and holding a dialogue for its own political ends. It was they themselves and according to their own decisions that they decided to pay heed to the interests of an individual and a political party and turn their backs on the National Convention that was providing an opportunity for political parties, national races and people from all strata to hold political discussions at the highest level. However, believing that the establishment of mutual understanding and mutual confidence can contribute towards national unity, the Head of State himself with magnanimity met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and tried to find ways to smooth out the differences.

However, it did not develop as we have hoped for. Due to the pressure and embargos placed by some big nations as well as due to continuous political manipulations in order to bring down the present government, the transformation process was again retarded. As long as a political force in the country is acting in harmony with the efforts of the collaborators of neo-colonialism from abroad who are trying to find ways to bring down the existing government and as long as this political force continues to maintain a negative attitude or refuses to change its methods, it will result in a situation where the golden land that we all hope for will remain in the distance.

On our part, we consider as a strength all national forces that hold true to our own country and our own national interests. Without entertaining prejudice against any person or any faction, we tried to work hand and hand with the NLD and guide it toward political change. However, the NLD turned away from the national political path and took the attitude that it would do whatever it liked. Because of this, democracy, which was almost at hand, has become distant again.

It is known to all that at the moment some big nations are siding with the interests of the individual which they desire and believing in one-sided false news, are unjustly pressuring our country without taking into account the interests of the 52 millions people in Myanmar and thus causing all kinds of difficulties to the people. Since the time of our independence, Myanmar has never participated or sided in any world grouping, regional grouping or military pact. However, it has consistently endeavoured to have friendly relations with neighbouring countries, regional countries and friendly nations. In the relations between states, Myanmar has never deceived or hidden anything but has always acted sincerely as befitting a good neighbour. It is also always careful not to become involved or intervened in the internal affairs of other countries or problems between different groupings. In keeping with its independent and active foreign policy, it has acted with honesty and integrity.

In the sphere of the United Nations and international affairs, it has always respected international law and agreements. Because Myanmar has constantly acted with integrity, it can be seen that it has contributed towards the peace and stability of regional countries including the neighbouring nations. Whether you look from the ASEAN perspective, East Asia Pacific region perspective or from BIMST-EC perspective, it can be seen that Myanmar is a strategically important country. If a big power practices hegemonism over Myanmar and installs a puppet government, it can be a threat to the existing solidarity among the nations of the region including the neighbouring countries. It will also definitely affect the peace and stability of the region. As an independent and sovereign country, Myanmar has the right to shape its own destiny. Based on the objective conditions of the country, the government and the people must and will act in unity to achieve the best possible and most appropriate results for the people.

Basically, in building a genuine democratic State,
(1) Human Resource
(2) Natural Resource
(3) Capital
(4) Technology
(5) Stable Work Environment
are the main requirements. A stable work environment means political stability. Presently, because we have worked day and night, the positive developments taking place in all the sectors of the country can be clearly seen. This progress was achieved due to the united efforts of the people and the national races, responsible persons from various departments, national economic forces and non-governmental organizations. Our country had to pass through very rough times in our history. We have already encountered experiences which are worse than the sanctions that are now imposed from abroad. If the unity among the national forces in the country is strong, we will be able to overcome any kind of situation. Therefore, we are striving to consolidate our national unity and to do what is necessary for building a genuine democratic State.

The facts that I have presented are true representations of the actual work done by the government. We are constantly endeavouring for correct work and positive efforts in the interests of our country and its people. However, some big nations, acting on false and incorrect information and misled by the fabrications of their collaborators, have adopted a negative approach and are giving all sorts of pressures. Such actions will not contribute towards democracy and will only cause it to become further and further away. The more one pressures, the further it will become. However, as we already have the correct objective, we will work together with the people so that there will be no deviation from the path that we have chosen.

What I have presented are the true conditions under which the government has to work as well as true events and developments.

Political program

In the third part-
I shall now continue to present the political programme that will be undertaken step by step by our government.

As the Union of Myanmar is composed of over 100 nationalities that have lived together in unity and harmony for thousands of years, it is a nation that is striving with highest priority to build national unity. Therefore, non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and perpetuation of sovereignty have been laid down as national policy of the country.

In accordance with this national policy, we are systematically advancing towards the goal of the State by laying down four political objectives, four economic objectives and four social objectives for the emergence of a modern and developed nation.

At this junction, I would like to reiterate the most important four political objectives, which are:
(1) Stability of the State, community peace and tranquility, prevalence of law and order;
(2) National reconsolidation;
(3) Emergence of a new enduring State Constitution;
(4) Building of a new modern developed nation in accord with the new State Constitution.

The manner in which the nation will be built can clearly be seen in these four political objectives. Therefore, the emergence of a new enduring State Constitution is the most important key in building a new nation.

Therefore, the government will be implementing in a step-by-step and systematic manner the following political program for building the nation.

(1) - Reconvening of the National Convention that has been adjourned since 1996.
(2) - After the successful holding of the National Convention, step by step implementation of the
       process necessary for the emergence of a genuine and disciplined democratic system.
(3) - Drafting of a new constitution in accordance with basic principles and detailed basic principles
       laid down by the National Convention.
(4) - Adoption of the constitution through national referendum.
(5) - Holding of free and fair elections for Pyithu Hluttaws (Legislative bodies) according to the new
(6) - Convening of Hluttaws attended by Hluttaw members in accordance with the new constitution.
(7) - Building a modern, developed and democratic nation by the state leaders elected by the
       Hluttaw; and the government and other central organs formed by the Hluttaw.

This is the Road Map of Myanmar.

In concluding, I would like to summarize that:

The most important factor in building a new, peaceful, modern, developed and democratic nation is the emergence of a disciplined democratic system that does not effect the historical traditions of the Union of the national races living in unison and harmony for thousands of years; that does not effect the national prestige and integrity of our people and nation; and that does not effect the national characteristics of our people. Therefore, I would like to urge all the national races to work together with the Government in unity, and the local authorities and the responsible Government departmental personnel to actively render necessary assistance, for the realization of the seven steps in the political programme mentioned above which the Government will continue to implement for the emergence of a new enduring State Constitution and building of a new modern developed nation in accordance with the national policy of Our Three Main National Causes as well as twelve political, economic and social objectives.

In addition to this, it is very important to advance along the national path without deviation by firmly embracing patriotism, national spirit, spirit of national unity and Union spirit for the perpetuation of the Union in its march towards the national goal of a new peaceful, modern, developed and democratic state for the long term interest of the state and all the people.

As the goal of the emergence of a peaceful, modern and developed nation means the strengthening of national economic life and firm establishment of economic infrastructures, we must strive forward by utilizing the natural resources inside the country together with the resources of intellectuals, technicians and the united strength of the people.

Therefore, in concluding, I would like to urge the government and all the national races to unitedly work together, for responsible personnel of the government departments, local authorities and non-governmental organizations to endeavour diligently and for all to march on the correct national path in order to reach the goal of a new modern, developed and democratic nation which the Union of Myanmar is aspiring for.


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