CHRONOLOGY OF STATEMENTS BY BURMESE MILITARY SPOKESMEN ON MULTI-PARTY ELECTIONS, A NEW CONSTITUTION, THE NATIONAL CONVENTION, TRANSFER OF POWER ETC.

The bulk of this chronology was assembled by doing an electronic search for “transfer of power”, “constitution”, “national convention” etc. in the archive of “The Burma Press Summary” compiled between 1987 and 1996 by Hugh MacDougall  from “The Working People’s Daily”(WPD) and “The New Light of Myanmar” (NLM). The archive is accessible online at  http://public.ibiblio.org/gsdl/cgi-bin/library?site=localhost&a=p&p=about&c=burmaps&ct=0  Notes by the compiler – in square brackets – are retained.  More texts are being sought in order to complete the document. If you see any gaps, and know of material that would fill them, please inform the OBL Librarian at darnott@iprolink.ch 

References: WPD=“The Working People’s Daily”; BBC SWB=the BBC’s Summary of World Broadcasts.[acknowledgements to Derek Tonkin who dug up the SWB quotes] Other sources are named in full.

The sections in bold in the text below are what seemed to be most representative of the evolving statements on these issues by spokesmen of the Burmese military.


1988

July 1988

Ne Win's Speech (full text) to the Extraordinary Party Congress of the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP)

July 23 1988  Party Congress delegates. I speak on matters for calling Extraordinary Party Congress and the matters to be presented, discussed and approved by this Congress and carried out. Other points which need to be included will also be included. I believe the 1988 March and June bloodshed and disturbances were meant as moves by those who took part in the disturbances and those behind them to show lack of confidence in the Government and the Party leading the Government.

It is necessary to assess whether among the people of the entire country, a majority is behind those lacking confidence or a minority. As I believe that holding a national referendum on what they wish--a one-party system or a multi-party system--would bring out the answer, I am asking the Party Congress to hold a referendum.

If the majority want a multi-party system, the present Constitution's provision under Chapter II, Paragraph 11 for the sole political party leading the State will have to be substituted with wording in consonance with a multi-party system. A suitable lapse of time would of course be needed for convenient movement of the people, production of ballot cards and other requirements.

Roughly said, it should be set up no later than end of September. It should be held earlier than that if possible. If, after the referendum more votes are for a multi-party system, elections must be held at the earliest for a new parliament. Part[ies] formed by bonafide citizens, organizations and individual citizens will have to register themselves with the elections supervisory body. Last date for registration will have to be prescribed. The elections supervisory body should co-ordinate with the organizations taking part to set the last date for registration and decide whether or not individual independants should be allowed to compete. At the end of the registration period, the elections supervisory body should co-ordinate with the registered organizations the date for holding elections. I believe all will be best satisfied if the date for election is set as soon as possible. The Hluttaw elected thus, can write the Constitution and other necessary laws according to its own wishes. I request the organizations currently taking responsibility to assert control as much as possible to keep the country from disarray till the organizations formed by the Hluttaw can take over.

I request the present organizations to hand over authority without delay, if the new Hluttaw or the organizations formed by that Hluttaw say that they are no longer needed or continue assistance if asked to do so for some time.

If the majority of the people decide on a single party system, the present party and organizations will have to continue to lead in keeping with the changes made and the regulations which continue to be accepted. I want to specially point out my role if the present party is to continue to lead.

As I consider that I am not totally free from responsibility even if indirectly for the sad events that took place in March and June and because I am advancing in age, I would like to request Party members to allow me to relinquish the duty of Party Chairman and as a Party member. In order to do so, Paragraph 14 subpara (c) of the Party rules will have to be amended. I request you to do so. If you do not want to amend the rule, I request this Party Congress to treat it as a special exemption.

Formerly, whenever I talked of relinquishing Party chairmanship, my confidants and, colleagues prevented me and, unhappily, I have had to stay on in this political samsara. This time my confidants have not only consented to allow me but have also asked that they too be allowed to leave along with me and have entrusted their resignations to me.

They are (1) U San Yu (2) U Aye Ko (3) U Sein Lwin (4) U Tun Tin (5) U Kyaw Win. There are others, quite a number, who have as seniors been shouldering high responsibility, who want to retire, leave the Party. I would like this Party Congress to accede to their wishes to do so after transferring responsibility with the emergence of the new Hluttaw. I want to tell those wanting to retire, to leave the Party, to tender their letters of resignation in time while this Congress is in session.

In short, (a) I submit to this Congress to seek the decision through a nationwide vote which the majority of the people choose from the two, a one-party system or a multi-party system (b) if the majority supports a multi-party system, then, as I have said before, arrangements will have to be made in accord with the terms concerning a multi-party system, (c) if the majority of the people support a one-party system, those of us who want to retire, must be allowed to do so in deference to our wishes while other remaining Party members continue to shoulder responsibilities of State, (d) please accede to the wishes of those who want to leave with me, (e) multi-party system or one-party system, whichever of the two the people support, may I conclude, declaring that I shall leave the political arena and turn away from politics.

That is what I have to say in connection with the Congress and I have said it. However, from what is currently happening--from what happened in Taunggyi, what is happening in Prome--I cannot say if there is something imitative, thinking that they could do as they like against discipline. We made arrangements to exercise restraint so that the events of June in Rangoon would not lead to further bloodshed. Despite this, what occured was not of our creation--for example, it was in March, was it? What happened was between some locals and students. The locals and students had it out in a teashop. As a matter of duty, the Government could not but intervene. So, what ensued? What happened between the students and the locals faded away and the Government and students met head-on. Therefore, we tried all means to avoid recurrence of such things in future.

What occurred in Prome started on the 16th, and we knew it only on the 17th. When we heard it on the 17th we thought it could be controlled by the police and the council, we hoped. As I said earlier, in what concerned preventing bloodshed, I asked that the Tatmadaw be not used in trifling matters and that it be used only when really necessary. I told them not to use the Tatmadaw without my knowledge. The Prome affair however did not subside but became bolder. So, I allowed the Tatmadaw to go in yesterday.

There is what I said earlier that I would retire from politics. Although I said I would retire from politics, we will have to maintain control to prevent the country from falling apart, from disarray, till the future organizations can take full control. In continuing to maintain control, I want the entire nation, the people, to know that if in future there are mob disturbances, if the army shoots, it hits --there is no firing into the air to scare. So, if in future there are such disturbances and if the army is used, let it be known that those creating disturbances will not get off lightly…..

. (Applause) (WPD 7/24)

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September 1988


Dr. Maung Maung's Address

Sept. 1 1988 : President Dr. Maung Maung addressed the nation reiterating the government's political plans. An Extraordinary Party Congress will be held Sept. 12, followed by an Emergency Session of the Pyithu Hluttaw on Sept. 13, to decide on a referendum, to be held within a month, as to whether the single party system should continue or be replaced with a multi-party system. If a multi-party system is chosen, general elects will be held as soon as possible under the supervision of free and independent elections commissions. The party which is strongest at the Hluttaw will form a government.

This is the procedure required by the Constitution, which was adopted by the people in a referendum in which some of those who now call for changes must have participated. The Constitution in fact "provide controls against any single person or group from gaining and exercising absolute power," by spreading and sharing power down to the ward and village tract level. "Can you not wait until the people's wishes become clear and distinct...?"

He recounted the events of 1958 and 1962, and then "laid down" eight facts: (1) We are to abide by the Constitution, and that is why special meetings of the Party and the Pyithu Hluttaw are being called, and why only a referendum can change the one-party system provided by its Article 11. (2) "Please render help for enabling those who are highly regarded by the people" to supervise the referendum and elections. The Sangha and religious organizations are asked to supervise rights by protecting polling booths until votes are counted. (WPD 9/2)

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Extraordinary Party Congress

Sept. 10 1988: The Extraordinary Party Congress was preceded by the 12th meeting of the Burma Socialist Programme Party Central Committee at 8 am in the Pyithu Hluttaw conference hall. It approved the Party Congress, and the resignation of a Central Committee member.

The Congress opened, with 968 of 1080 delegates (89.63%) present.

Chairman Dr. Maung Maung's address. In his opening address, BSPP Chairman Dr. Maung Maung said that conditions no longer permit a referendum on the one-party system. "The people are faced with difficulties in meeting food and shelter needs. That is why the decision to hold, as speedy as possible, general elections under the multi-party system has been made and it is therefore evident that the interest of the people is placed before the interest of the Party." He spoke of the history of the Lanzin [BSPP] Party and how it was originally a people's party. "But the weakness of the Party as it emerged as the ruling party and grew as the ruling party [sic]. There have been practically very few sacrifices, risks and strenuous efforts. The power can absolutely destroy the man. When without power, it is natural that there will be craving for power. There will be a few who do not crave for power except for the Arahats."

"After reviewing the present disorderly scene, he said "we should not entertain anger and prejudice nor speak ill of politicians of party organizations that will come into being. Instead, we must face the law of impermanence and continue the march along the Burmese way. Truth shall prevail. Metta (loving kindness) will overcome dosa or anger."

The Hluttaw, he said, "will be held tomorrow and its decision is to be sought so as to change over to multi-party democracy on experimental basis in accord with the resolution passed by the Party Congress. Arrangements will then be made to be able to hold, within the shortest possible time, the most just and freest general election in which various parties can compete.

"It will be complicated and time-consuming if elections are to be held at Hluttaw and lower levels. Therefore only the Hluttaw is to be elected and the forthcoming Hluttaw is to form a government. The Constitution is then to be amended as necessary.

"The formation of commission with personalities who are highly regarded by the people and are worthy of being on it is to be submitted to the Hluttaw meeting tomorrow to supervise...the general elections .... The Commission is also to seek the help of members of Sangha, students and town elders to supervise polling booths....

"It has been a tradition among the Tatmadaw members to vote freely on their own will in the general elections. They will be able to uphold this tradition. The Tatmadaw would not canvass for any party....

"The public services personnel should act the same way.... They should be loyal only to the country and the people."

Party General Secretary U Aye Ko justified the convening of the Congress and review the past few months' events. Party Chairman [U Ne Win] on July 23-25 had called for a referendum on the party system. Party delegates had had bitter experiences with a multi-party system, and were concerned with the priority of economic problems. But disturbances arose, political and economic, and on Aug. 3 the Council of State proclaimed military administration in Rangoon.

At the 11th meeting of the Party Central Committee on Aug. 19, the General Secretary discussed long and short-term economic changes. Chairman Dr. Maung Maung called for working together to bring about economic development in peace and tranquillity.

The Emergency Session of the Fourth Pyithu Hluttaw on Aug. 19 established the Commission for Ascertaining the Desires and Aspirations of the People, and paved the way for the Commission to seek out public views in September and report to the regular Pyithu Hluttaw session in October.

The BSPP Chairman addressed the nation on Aug. 24, and said an Extraordinary Party Congress would be called to decide on a referendum on the party system, and that the Chairman and the Central Executive Committee would resign if the Party did not accept. If the referendum approved a multi-party system, the Pyithu Hluttaw would enact it, and present leaders would not run in the ensuing elections.

The Commission for Ascertaining the Desires and Aspirations of the People was dissolved on Aug. 24, and the Council of State solicited suggestions for members of a 25-member National Referendum Commission. Martial law in Rangoon and Prome was withdrawn on Aug. 24.

On Sept. 1, Chairman Dr. Maung Maung explained the Constitutional necessity for a referendum under Article 11 of the Constitution. And the matter of the referendum needs to be submitted to an Extraordinary Party Congress, and thus this Congress was convened.

Congress votes. The Extraordinary BSPP Congress then voted, "by more than 75% of the delegates" and "decided to hold general elections under multi-party system cancelling the proposed national referendum on the option between one-party system and the multi-party system." (WPD 9/11/88)

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22 September 1988: Brig Gen Khin Nyunt, Director of Defence Services Intelligence,  speaking to foreign Military Attachés

"Elections would be held as soon as law and order had been restored, and the Defence Forces would then 'systematically hand over state power to the party which wins',
Khin Nyunt said."

 

BBC SWB FE/0265 i dated 24 September 1988

 

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23 September 1988: General Saw Maung, Chairman of the State Law and Order Council, addressed the nation, as follows [full text]:

Rahans, laity and the people,

I wish to submit certain points of clarification so that rahans, laity and the entire people would understand the position of the Tatmadaw, and so that they would have no misunderstanding of the Tatmadaw's intention in connection with the prevailing situation in the country. The demonstrations which occurred throughout the country began as a political movement in which peaceful demonstrations were used with the aim of attaining genuine democracy. Later, vicious and violence-prone unsavoury elements infiltrated the movement and created violent disturbances, threats and cruelty and other anarchistic activities resulting in conditions in which the law and order and peace and tranquillity in the entire country became threatened. Conditions became uncontrollable and the situation was such that it was practically impossible to resolve matters through political means. It was a moment of great danger for the entire nation. It was at this point that the Tatmadaw, though realizing that it would be confronted with many difficulties, nevertheless had to unavoidably assume the responsibilities of the State power. It was with misgivings that the Tatmadaw was forced to take this course of action and it is suffering much unhappiness.

Our purpose in forming the government was merely to establish the fundimental characteristics of a sovereign nation and expedite relations with other countries as well as for the distribution of responsibilities. The fact that only a few persons have been assigned a large number of portfolio responsibilities is clearly indicative that there is no desire whatsoever to cling on to power for a long period. I and all my colleagues, and all Tatmadawmen most respectfully and honestly give our word to all rahans, laity and the people that we do not wish to cling to State power for long. As it has been stated in Declaration No. 1/88 of the State Law and Order Restoration Council of which I am the leader, steps have already commenced to implement the following measures immediately:-

(a) Maintenance of law and order; prevailing peace and tranquillity in the country.

(b) Providing secure and smooth transportation.

(c) The State Law and Order Restoration Council will strive for the better conditions of food, clothing and shelter of the people and render necessary assistance to the private sector and the cooperatives to do so.

The fourth point of the first paragraph of our organization's Declaration No. 1/88 concerns the holding of multi party democracy general elections. Arrangements are being made to implement this measures [sic] as soon as possible. We wish to inform all citizens of the nation and all political parties and organizations which would be running for elections that work has commenced on carrying out the necessary measures. In this connection the political parties and organizations which would be running for elections ought to be making preparations to get themselves registered according to law. It has been just a few days since we assumed responsibilities. This being the case, we wish to suggest that the organizations concerned maintain stable control of their own organizations instead of making over-zealous demands at a time when conditions have not yet stabilized.

We are Tatmadawmen. Our organization which is made up largely of Tatmadawmen, is absolutely loyal to the nation. We wish you to be fully convinced that we would not in any way and under any circumstances abrogate the oath of loyalty which has been sworn towards the nation and the people.

We wish to submit our supplications to the Sayadaws of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee that we would most respectfully make note of the request made by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee on 20 September.

At this point I wish to say a few words about service personnel. A service personnel who is carrying out the duties entrusted by the State should not be under the influence of any political party or organization. All such personnel are obligated to carry out all responsibilities and duties which have been lawfully entrusted by any government which comes to power and which will work for the welfare of the nation. The prevailing situation today is that our nation has overcome a period of disruption and has achieved a reasonable measure of stability. Reconstruction activities are to begin as quickly as possible even as increasing stability is achieved. We urge to join hands with us and work together so that the multi-party democracy system for which the people have been aspiring may be successfully established.

We wish to warn that it is important that bad conditions do not occur again at a time when a reasonable amount of stability is being achieved; we warn that mass looting and destruction of public property, mills and factories by unsavourly elements should not occur. We wish to repeat the warning that we will have to take effective action since we cannot tolerate such mob-criminality.

As the period for which we assume responsibility is a short one, we can provide only limited attention to such matters as health, education and other social activities. Long-term improvements in health, education and other social activities are to be carried out by the government which comes to power after the multi-party democracy general elections.

Our Tatmadaw on its part would continue to carry out the original duty of national defence and security and the maintenance of law and order after handing over power to the government which emerges after the free and fair general elections in which the citizens of the nation would be able to exercise their full democratic rights.

Such being the case we request all rahans, laity and the people who wish to have a multi-party democracy and all political parties and organizations which would run for elections to join in, and work for the quickest possible holding of a free and fair multi-party democracy general elections. (WPD 9/24)

 

 


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1989

 

 

February 1989

Feb. 5, 1989: Interview given on Jan. 17 by Gen. Saw Maung to Asiaweek correspondent David King and journalist Dominic Faulder: ...

“Now what I would like to say is that after the election, when the new government comes into power, I will submit my report without reservation for the actions that I have taken. The happenings that occurred during my administration, whether they were good, whether they were bad. I assume responsibility...

Q. What will you do after the elections?

A. I'll retire (laughs). Those who are still young enough will carry on. (WPD 2/5)

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March 1989
 

General Saw Maung, Defence Forces Chief of Staff, in a speech on the occasion of the 44th Armed Forces Day parade:

 

"As conditions improve on all fronts, genuinely fair multi-party democratic general elections will be held nationwide except in some areas where there is no security due to insurgency. After the necessary work has been carried out following the elections, a new government will be formed in accordance with the law by members of the People's Assembly elected by the people. We hope that this new government will be able to best serve the interests of the people as they continue to lead the country. As for members of our Defence Forces, we will return to the barracks and continue to relentlessly to carry out our original duties......."


BBC SWB FE/0420 B/2 dated 29 March 1989

 

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May 1989

Saw Maung Orders New History

 

May 5 1989: Defence Services Commander-in-Chief [Gen. Saw Maung] Order No. 163 25/Oo 1 of May 5, 1989, requested the Burma Government to support new research on recent Burmese history...

 

The text of Gen. Saw Maung's Order is as follows: ...

12. There are many peculiar characteristics in Burma. One is the existence of many national racial groups and small races. It is expected that the multi-party election will be held in the near future and that the people's representatives will draw up a constitution of the State or a constitution of the Union of Burma. Appropriate lessons must be drawn from the mistakes of the past and efforts must be made not to make mistakes again ... (WPD 5/6)

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June 1989

 43rd SLORC Press Conference held on 9 June 1989

 

9 June 1989: "In response to a question from the News Agency of Burma correspondent, information committee members said that Saw Maung, Chairman of SLORC, had on numerous occasions touched on the matter of transfer of power. He had stated that power would be transferred as soon as possible to a government that would emerge in accordance with law after the elections. We do not know as yet to whom and how power would be transferred, and we do not know who would win and in which manner we would transfer power. We cannot transfer power as soon as the elections are held. The government would be formed according to a constitution. If the state power is hurriedly transferred, it would lead to a shaky and weak government. This can be worked out by any person with intelligence. Stability can be achieved only by systematically forming a government based on a constitution.

 

"At present, we have two constitutions in our country, that is, the 1947 Constitution and the 1974 Constitution. Of the two, the 1947 Constitution was drawn up based on the 1935 Act - the Government of Burma Act 1935 - in accordance with the Aung San-Atlee Agreement.......The 1974 Constitution was promulgated after obtaining the wishes of the entire people on many occasions. The difference between the two laws has been pointed out. The elected representatives can choose one of the constitutions to form a government, and we will transfer power to the government formed by them. We are ready to transfer power to the government which emerges according to the constitution. If they do not like the two existing constitutions, they can draw up a new constitution. Neither the Defence Forces nor the SLORC will draw up a new constitution. The elected representatives are to draw up the constitution. If the people approve that constitution, we will transfer power as soon as possible to the government which emerged according to that constitution. There should be no worry about the transfer of power. We are ever-ready to transfer power. We are just stressing systematic transfer of power according to the law. We do not want to hold onto power for a long time.

 

"Instead of making demands on the transfer of power, political parties should be organising for elections so that they can present their political, economic and social platforms and programme for national unity to be carried out of they are elected. Instead of constantly criticising the government and demanding power, they should be engaged in organisational work and presentation of their future programmes. We would like to tell the parties not to worry about power. We will transfer power as soon as possible to the emerging government, as explained earlier......."   (BBC SWB FE/0489 B/2 dated 22 June 1989)

 

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July 1989

Brig Gen Khin Nyunt at the 49th SLORC Press Conference on 17 July 1989

 

"Changing a country's political and economic systems cannot be done overnight. It must be done gradually.........Please do not ask for a dialogue, because what has to be done will be done when the time is right. This does not mean we will not meet any political party. In Kyauktan, I said that when the time is right we will meet political parties that do not oppose the SLORC and that will co-operate in the holding of elections."  (BBC SWB FE/0153 B/1 and B/2 dated 20 July 1989)

 

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November 1989

 

SLORC Information Committee 65th Press Conference.

 

[in which the Information Committee reaffirms earlier positions of  the SLORC, as delivered by General Saw Maung, including the pledge of 23 September 1988]

 

Yangon, 17 Nov[ember 1989] – The Information Committee of the State Law and Order Restoration Council held its 65th Press Conference with local and foreign journalists in the guest room of the Ministry of Defence at 1pm today….

 

“…In clarifying the stand of the Tatmadaw, the Information Committee said: “On 23rd September 1988, soon after the Tatmadaw’s taking over State power, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services General Saw Maung presented the request of the State Law and Order Restoration Council…[t]he following are some of the excerpts from his address: …

 

''’Our Tatmadaw on its part would continue to carry out the original duty of national, defence and security and the maintenance of law and order after handing over power to the government which emerges after the free and fair general elections in which the citizens of the nation would be able to exercise their full democratic rights. …’

 

“Similarly, the Defence Services Commander-in-Chief of General Saw Maung also mentioned the stand of the Tatmadaw in  his address at the course conclusion ceremony of the Command and General Staff College No. 40 training course on 10 November. He said: …

 

To summarise, the Tatmadaw will do all it can to assist the Election Commission so that it can hold the free and fair multi-party democracy general election. All the service personnel including the Tatmadaw members can cast their votes on their own free will. After the election is held according to law, State power will be duly handed over and the Tatmadaw will steadfastly carry out its original duties, namely:

1.    to prevent disintegration of the Union.

2.    to prevent disintegration of national solidarity, and

3.    to ensure perpetuity of sovereignty…’”

 

 

Source: verbatim record of the 65th SLORC Press Conference, SOAS Library.

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1990

 

March 1990

Gen. Saw Maung's Speech

Mar. 27 1990: State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung gave a major address on Armed Forces Day The following were the principal topics covered:...

"Some say that the election is not important but drawing the Constitution is the primary issue. Some say it is necessary to draft a temporary constitution, to form a provisional government to effect transfer of power and only then to take time and draw up a proper constitution. In what ways they want to do so is up to them. The Tatmadaw has given a promise to hold the election...."

"the party with the adequate number of representatives in the Hluttaw can form a government; then the remaining parties will become the opposition force. They will criticize the actions of the government in the Hluttaw sessions. When the majority of representatives no longer render their support, the government will fall and a new one will have to be formed. The government will have to enact laws required to safeguard the interests of the people,...to lay down policies relating to the economic, social and administrative affairs. It is the duty of the government bodies to implement their policies...." (WPD 3/28)

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April 1990

Apr. 12 1990: In the course of an address to Yangon officials, State LORC Secretary (1) Maj-Gen. Khin Nyunt said:

"The party that wins in the 27 May elections will have to form a government. Only if a firm Constitution can be drawn up and a government formed in accordance with it that [sic] will the government be a strong one. Only a strong government can lead the State for a long time. The Law and Order Restoration Council at different levels will continue to carry out the responsibilities of the State while the Constitution is being drafted. So we will continue to carry out the responsibilities even after the elections. We will continue to do so till a strong government has been formed." (WPD 4/13)

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May 1990

May 4 1990: At the 89th State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

-- Nyan Htet in the Apr. 22 issue of Loktha Pyithu Nezin said that "There are many problems in Myanmar Naing-Ngan today; the problem of drawing up a constitution after the election and the problem of having to form a government by those who will have won the parliamentary elections held under the law of the adopted Constitution." Whether this amount to having to hold another election is "the view of the author." The SLORC "will not draft a new constitution. The matter of drafting up a new constitution rests with the candidates who win in the forthcoming election." (WPD 5/5)

*************************************

May 10 1990: In a speech to Command and Division Commanders, State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung made the following principal points

-- "As our current aim is to hold the election as scheduled we cannot as yet concern ourselves with the Constitution.... A new Constitution can be drafted. An old Constitution can also be used after some amendments.... Among the 93 parties,... five...want to use the 1947 Constitution,...77 parties...want to draw up a new constitution and...11 parties...made no comments.... Whatever may be the case, the people will decide with their votes." (WPD 5/11)

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May 11 1990: At the 90th State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

-- "The fixing of the date for holding the first Hluttaw meeting after the election will be co-ordinated by the candidates who will be elected." (WPD 5/12)

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11 May 1990: 90th SLORC Press Conference,

Excerpts from report

 

“…the information committee answered questions from journalists ... In his question, the 'Yomiuri’ correspondent, U Myo Thant, noted that in his 9th May address, Senior Gen Saw Maung, Chairman of the SLORC and C-in-C of the Defence Forces, said some political parties have plans to draft a new constitution based on the 1947 constitution while some parties plan to draw a new constitution based on the 1974 constitution and that some parties plan to copy and use a foreign constitution.

 

He asked the information committee what plans there are to clarify this sad state of affairs so that there will not be too many voices. …

 

The information committee answered that from the party manifestoes of the 93 parties contesting the elections, it can be seen that five parties want to use the 1947 constitution after amending it, 77 parties want to draw up a new constitution and 11 parties have not stated their position.

 

The information committee explained that the SLORC is giving priority to holding the scheduled elections as fairly as possible and believes that the drafting of a constitution should be discussed and decided by elected representatives in the assembly. The SLORC has nothing to say on how the constitution should be drafted.


Source: Democracy and Politics in Burma (Marc Weller, NCGUB, 1993)

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May 30 1990: In a post-election statement to SLORC members and senior officials, State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung said [in part]:

"If asked whether our duty is completed or not, the answer is `no'. Why? It is necessary to understand that we are responsible for the enforcement of the rule of law and ensuring regional peace and tranquillity until a government can be formed according to law.

"Another thing is that we'll never let the emergence of political turmoil as in 1988. Regarding the government servants, I would like to make them understand that the political parties' win or loss over the election must not cause contradictions between government servants. Another important point is that we'll always be loyal to the three national causes--non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and perpetuation of sovereignty--in whatever situation and in whichever position we are. If the three national causes are adversely affected, we cannot ignore....

"This is what we have done to our four main tasks. And when they are finished, there are many tasks ahead for us to continue.... The most important task of holding the free and fair multi-party election has been accomplished. But there is one more thing. We will continue to implement the task of ensuring secure and smooth transportation. And this will be the same to the remaining two tasks.... I'm going to say one thing unequivocally and unambiguously. I can't let the emergence of political turmoil as in 1988...." (WPD 5/31)

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June 1990

June 1 1990: At the 93rd State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

-- State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung said on 30 May that the election was free and fair, as journalists had seen, and that "that they would never let the reoccurrence of situation as in 1988, that till the power has been handed over to a strong government that would come into being in accordance with law, that they would carry on implementing the first three tasks... [rule of law and tranquillity; transportation; food, clothing and shelter] and that they would always put in the fore the three main causes of non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity, and for perpetuation of national sovereignty."

-- Asked what tasks the SLORC would carry out "before the next government was formed...and how long they would take," the spokesman said the SLORC would "carry on with the duties and responsibilities till a strong government is formed according to the constitution and that the SLORC would also continue to carry out the three main tasks.... A constitution would be drawn up by the representatives of the parties elected, that power would be handed over, according to law, to the strong government formed in accordance with the constitution thus drawn up and that it could not be said how long the drafting of the constitution would take."

-- Asked "whether the constitution thus drawn up would be put to a referendum or not," the spokesman noted that the 1947 Constitution had not been put to a referendum, but that "it was considered that good advice and suggestions as well as the desires of the people including all the national races in connection with drawing up a new constitution so as to bring out a strong new constitution could be obtained and that it considered that the people's representatives would take the advice, suggestions and desires of the people into serious consideration and carry out. [sic]"

-- Asked "when would the State [LORC] and the representatives of the political parties that won in the election meet?" the spokesman said "there was no predetermination when such a meeting would take place."

-- "Asked "whether the political parties that had lost in the election had the right to continue to exist or not?" the spokesman said they could.

-- Asked whether, since some 20 constituency results had been announced each day, that figure had been decided on, the spokeman said results were announced as soon as authentically ascertained, without any specific quota. Tatmadaw helicopters were assisting, and "whether the task of announcing the names could be finished within the time estimated depended on weather conditions."

-- Asked whether "the responsibilities would be handed over to an interim government if such an interim government were formed with the Hluttaw representatives while a constitution was being drawn up?" the spokesman said "the State [LORC] would hand over the responsibilities only to the strong government that would come into being according to law in accordance with the Constitution drawn up and approved by the Hluttaw representatives elected, and that this was said not only now and that the State [LORC] Chairman and Secretaries had told this time and time again...long before the election was held."

-- Asked whether action had been taken against anyone "for security reasons" in connection with the election, the spokesman said it had not.

-- While most foreign election coverage was correct, some broadcasts said "the election was not free and fair and that the opposition had won and the party supported by the government had lost." This was not true, since "our government is not a party government but it is only a jury. So there is no opposition party to us." The continued use of "opposition party" is inappropriate. (WPD 6/2)

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June 2 1990: Visiting Shwepaukkan new town, State LORC Secretary (2) Maj-Gen. Tin Oo said that

"the constitution to be drawn up needed to become one which the people accepted." [According to headlines over the article, "It cannot be assumed that our duties are completed though the election has been held./New Constitution is to be drawn up and enacted; Our construction activities and special projects are to be carried out with momentum till a government is formed under new constitution./Constitution concerns not only a party or a group but also the people of entire nation and thus it must be the one accepted by the entire national people."] (WPD 6/3)

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June 7 1990: Minister for Health and for Education and Chief Commanding Officer of the University Training Corps Col. Pe Thein told education officers:

"You are all aware that the country has seen a drastic change. The SLORC has accomplished the four main tasks but it will carry on its duty of further implementing the first three tasks until a new government emerges in accordance with the law. Transition of power will be made only then.... I would like to say as regarding a national concern. This is paying respect to the State flag.... You teachers are to instil in your pupils the spirit of paying respect and reference to the State flag. Similarly, your pupils are required to be taught the singing of the National Anthem." Basic education schools will reopen June 11. (WPD 6/8)

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June 15 1990: At the 95th State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

-- Re announcements concerning election accounts and period for raising objections to election results, the spokesman said "we have heard some persons and some organizations criticize to the effect that such issuing of announcements is aimed at causing delays without any reason at all." They have either not read the Election Law and Rules or "have evil intent to make the people misunderstand and suspect the State [LORC] Government. [Text of relevant laws and regulations reprinted.] The law is being followed.

-- "93 parties contested the election. According to the Commission announcements candidates of 23 parties have been elected up to this day. But the number of elected representatives differs.... Since candidates of many political parties have been elected, a single-party system has now come to an end.... The Tatmadaw government...is no party organization. Therefore, it has no rival party.... Hence, it has no opposition party before and after the election. It will deal with all parties equally and perform its duties in accordance with the law in future until the tasks are accomplished."
(WPD 6/16)

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June 17 1990: Speaking to officials in Kungyangonn and Twantay Twps. [Yangon], State LORC Secretary (1) Maj-Gen. Khin Nyunt said:

"Although the election has been held we will continue to carry out the regional development work. It is heard that some diplomats from certain foreign embassies in Yangon secretly met persons from certain parties and some youths in breach of their diplomatic ethics and instigated them. I would like to make known this to the people." (WPD 6/18)

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June 18 1990: Addressing the fourth coordinating meeting between the State LORC and the Committee for Compiling Authentic Facts on Myanmar History, State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung made the following principal points:

-- The publications of the Committee clarify various episodes from 1947, notably that the 1947 Constitution was framed and adopted "according to the will of the British" before independence and therefore included a right of secession.

-- The Revolutionary Council came into being "because of the right to secede contained in that Constitution." It was "a legal government."

-- The State LORC Government "is also a legal government." It is not bound by any constitution. "I would like to emphasize that a sound constitution is essential in order that there may not be problems in future."

-- The insurgents threaten further attacks "if the military government is not forthright concerning the election returns...." There "is no cause for us to be bothered by the likes of these insurgents.... It is enough to say they have now got only two camps...Manepalaw and New Wankha left...."

-- "We will not accept any attempt to return to the 1988 incidents. We are prepared to face any eventuality.... It must be noted that constitution is the concern of all the citizens including us, the Tatmadaw members and the service personnel. We will do what needs to be done ...." (WPD 6/19)

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June 20 1990: State LORC Secretary (2) Maj-Gen. Tin Oo told local officials that:

 "Having held the freest and fairest election, we have proved that Tatmadaw is not power crazy. And we have time and again declared that power will be transferred only to the strong government that will be formed according to law." (WPD 6/21)

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June 22 1990: At the 96th State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

-- "Arrangements have been made" according to law for meeting with parties and holding a Hluttaw session to draw up a constitution, and will be announced when the time comes.

-- Asked about reports that signboards of the League for Democracy and Peace "were put down", the spokesman said he had heard that the party had split into two [see below under Elections]. (WPD 6/23)

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June 29 1990: At the 97th State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

-- The spokesman declined comment on a reported statement by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister U Ohn Gyaw that "a new Hluttaw could not be held before September." (WPD 6/30)

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July 1990

July 3 1990: In an address to State/ Division SLORCs, State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung made the following principal points:

-- "We have frequently declared that we must continue with our responsibilities until such a time as we are able to hand over power to a government which emerges with a constitution embodying sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of State Law and Order Restoration Council Declaration No. 1/88 issued at the time we assumed the responsibilities and which would be of assistance in the realization of Our Three Causes [of Non-disintegration of the Union, Non-disintegration of national solidarity and Perpetuation of national sovereignty]."

-- It is important "never to under-estimate anything which is likely to unsettle the nation.... Thoughts should be in accord with Myanma ideas and thoughts. It is very important that things are not done with ideas from this or that country."

-- "Now that the election has been completed, what comes?... release this or that individual...this amounts to personality cult. Quickly free `political prisoners", convene the Hluttaw; the Hluttaw has legislative, judicial and administrative power. As soon as the Hluttaw is convened, hand over power immediately. Some say that certain individuals should be freed and be included in drawing up the constitution; that a national assembly should be convened. According to some of the material we have, an organization calling itself the nationalities parties front or something like that also calls for transfer of power and also what points should be included in the constitution...."

-- "They say" that there have been three Tatmadaws: that of the independence struggle; that of the AFPFL; and that of Bogyoke Ne Win. Therefore the Tatmadaw "should be made to swear allegience to the Constitution." But has the Tatmadaw ever betrayed the nation?

-- Before Sept. 1988, "at the time when the Lanzin Party Emergency Congress agreed to hold multi-party election and if people had accepted it and co-operated, the Hluttaw would not have been disrupted and there would not have taken place the situation which exists today. I think, if the Hluttaw representatives elected from that election amended whatever should be amended from the Constitution, everything would have been settled."

-- Western people disregard that our situation is different from Eastern Europe because of the insurgencies. The activities of BCP UGs in towns during the disturbances was disregarded.

-- I have not mentioned, for fear that people would accuse the Tatmadaw of taking sides, that the [BSPP] was already planning to change the socialist economic system at the regular 1989 Party Congress when the 1988 disturbances broke out.

-- "What is to be done after the multi-party election? The constitution has to be written.... I have said the SLORC would not write it. We cannot be made a scapegoat.... The Constitution concerns everyone .... We will speak out about what should be of relevance to prevailing conditions in the country." [Review of 1943, 1947, and 1974 constitutions and their adoption.]

-- "Myanmar...today is an independent nation.... The SLORC Government today is one recognized by nations, including the United Nations. What will happen to the country if power is taken by forcibly calling the Hluttaw into session?... In Myanmar today...although there is no political stability yet, law and order have been maintained, and SLORC has been able to put the political, social and administrative situations under firm control.... We have picked up momentum even in market economy.... Moreover, after the constitution is written, we are not the ones who will leave this country as the British did...." [Irregularities in implementation of 1947 Constitution discussed.]

-- Discussion of complex ethnic divisions. "How should we take into consideration the matter of dividing (the country) into states nationalities-wise? Is it possible?... To what extent will powers be given to states?" Will the Tatmadaw be replaced by insurgent armies as the DAB demands? Even East and West Germany have trouble uniting.

-- Michael Adler [AFP journalist] "told the Information Committee that the Constitution could be drawn within three hours. But when asked if his country did so, he didn't reply."

-- "The broadcasting stations are blatantly shouting nowadays. `Transfer the power promptly as there is a landslide victory. Na-Wa-Ta (SLORC) is applying delaying tactics....' They also broadcast news for the DAB."

-- "How dangerous is the split in our country? It can be seen by the situation of the election. A total of 93 parties have taken part in the election.... There are altogether 27 parties which have won seats.... There are also six independent candidates who have won victories...." One party [League for Democracy and Peace of U Nu] has split.

-- "Last week I have the chance to know what Bogyoke Aung San had said about the right to secede provided for in the 1947 Constitution.... Bogyoke Aung San asked to scrap it. I can't help it if the one who knew does not reveal it. I have documentary evidence. This is history." [Lengthy exegisis of drafting of 1947 Constitution.] (WPD 7/4)

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Election Commission Meets

July 3 1990: The Election Commission met with Chairmen of the various sub-commissions to review the election. Chairman U Ba Htay presided. Member Saya Chai noted foreign doubts about the possibility of fair elections, which proved unfounded. He said the Election Law did not make reference to any constitution. For the future, he said, "A constitution shall prescribe whether the Hluttaw (parliament) will be a bicameral or a unicameral one, its tenure and others. A constitution, which meets the requirements of the country, is to be drawn up in accordance with the wishes of the entire people and to be approved by the majority. A government can be formed only in accordance with the constitution. Only a government that comes into being in accordance with the constitution will be strong. Only such a government will come to power in accordance with the wishes of the people and will have to step down when they no longer like it. It can be found that transfer of power is easy and swift when the constitution is in force. It is believed that the SLORC and the elected Pyithu Hluttaw representatives from parties will hold thorough discussions and go on step by step for coming into being of a constitution which will bring about multi-party democracy and comply with the current situation of the country." (WPD 7/4)

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July 5 1990: At the 98th State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:...

-- Re drawing up a Constitution, "the [SLORC] would meet the parties when the time came and...would announce the programme for holding a meeting with the parties when the time came." (WPD 7/6)

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July 13 1990: At the 100th State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

-- "Political parties are known to be extensively discussing the drafting of a constitution.... We would like to present a matter that requires serious consideration in drafting the constitution...the political stand to be adopted by insurgent groups. [Former BCP official] U Sai Aung Win said [at Press Conference No. 99] that...the group led by KIA accepts the autonomy (status) while the group led by KNU has not altered its stand on the right to self-determination which includes the right to secede.... It is the tactical ploy of the KIA in adopting the stand on autonomy status. Their ultimate objective is self-determination which includes the right to secede.... [Long historical discussion.]

-- "Some political organizations are claiming that certain races which are not officially recognized as national races to be considered to be national races.... We do not recognize nationalities depending on their faith. Those who are not in the nationalities list previously in trying to obtain nationalities status can harm the drafting of the constitution...."

-- "There are ethnic conflicts among ethnic groups in the States. There are such problems in Mohnyin and Mogaung area of northern Kachin State and in northern part of Sagaing Division. There are similar problems in such states as Shan, Kayin and Mon.... The existence of separate Shan insurgent groups and even Pa O and Kayan insurgent groups pose a serious obstacle.... We will not allow sections of our territory to be included in another's. The existing [international] boundary shall remain forever. We cannot accept the emergence of more insurgent groups. If it takes place only the Tatmadaw will have to face (the problem).... These issues have to be solved politically. A provision in the 1947 Constitution led to the seizure of power in 1962. It is necessary for the persons who will rule the country for a long time not to include provisions which will bring bad results. If there is no agreement on the insurgent issue and the issues on rights of national races, there will be no political stability. Neither will there be unity. The national solidarity is to be given top priority. Therefore the drafting of a constitution is extremely important."

-- "The SLORC will not take a leading part in drawing up a constitution and that...will be done by the elected Hluttaw representatives .... It would give suggestions if they were asked for."

-- "The matter of insurgents have to be taken into consideration in drafting a constitution so that no new insurgents arise after the annihilation of the existing insurgents."

-- [In drafting the constitution] "ways and means must be sought through consultations by all strata of classes and the organizations representing the parties.... If the Constitution is drafted on the basis of three causes namely non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of the solidarity of nationalities and consolidation of sovereignty, the Constitution which is in accord with the desire of the public can be adopted."

-- The SLORC will not act as a judge in limiting the time for drafting the Constitution. (WPD 7/14)

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July 13 1990: Gen. Khin Nyunt replies to Claims about Transfer of Power…

Excerpts from recorded speech by Maj-Gen Khin Nyunt, Secretary-1 of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) at the 100th news conference of the SLORC Information Committee at the Ministry of Defence on the morning of 13th July, Rangoon

Veteran local and foreign journalists and guests:

Although Senior General Saw Maung has frequently addressed the issues of transfer of power and the constitution - today's most popular issues - 1 do not know whether there has been a genuine misunderstanding or a pretence of misunderstanding over these issues. The writings and shoutings of publications and foreign broadcasting stations have been giving the impression that we are unwilling to transfer power and that we are playing for time. By doing so, they are trying to create confusion among the public. In response to this, I am meeting veteran journalists today (13 July) to explain what should be known about the nation.

The first point I would like to explain concerns information in the newsletter published, distributed and sold recently by the National League for Democracy (NLD). I refer to the latest issue, No. 13/90, of the NLD newsletter. That newsletter raised the questions of when power would be transferred, when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would be freed, the issue of the three branches [legislative, judiciary, executive], the definition of a political prisoner and the Chinese ambassador's statement on the genuine need for talks between the SLORC and the NLD.

It took us some time to find out who was responsible for the publication. We had to strain our eyes a great deal and finally found the publisher's name at the very end of the page - U Chit Khaing. We had to search hard to find his name. The newsletter contains demands and attacks against the current government as well as incorrect and fabricated information and smacks of the undisciplined publications which proliferated during the events of 1988. We had to strain our eyes to locate the name of the publisher which was contained in very fine print.

No matter who writes, when incorrect information and accusations are written the publisher must be summoned to take action. The publisher responsible for this newsletter, U Chit Khaing, was summoned by the appropriate officer on 11th July to explain the matter. We have given the publisher a first warning that if the publication goes any further, action will be taken according to law. U Chit Khaing signed a pledge to arrange to publish a correction to the statement made by Senior Gen Saw Maung at the 43rd news conference. The publisher has been warned because the newsletter contained incorrect information.

I shall continue to discuss the incorrect information. Newsletter No. 13/90, published, distributed and sold by the NLD, contains an article, with no author's name given, on the issue of when power would be transferred and when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would be released ... The article referred to Gen Saw Maung's statement on the constitution and transfer of power at the 43rd news conference on 10th June 1989 and his reference to the existence of two constitutions currently in the country - the 1947 Constitution and the 1974 Constitution. The article implied that Gen Saw Maung made this statement at that news conference. As you veteran journalists know, Gen Saw Maung met the press only once last year and never attended the regular news conference to give any explanation.

The article also referred to Gen Saw Maung's speech at the co-ordination meeting of the SLORC and law and order restoration councils of states and divisions on 3rd July 1990 on the issue of drafting the constitution after the multi-party general elections ... The article is accusatory in nature, pointing out that statements made before and after by Senior Gen Saw Maung are inconsistent and that he had changed his tune.

Senior Gen Saw Maung never attended and did not give any explanation at the 43rd news conference held on 9th June 1989. Further, the 43rd news conference was not held on 10th June 1989, but on 9th June 1989. Senior Gen Saw Maung never addressed the news conference with the exception of an address he gave at a meeting with local and foreign journalists on 5th July 1989. Statements made on the issue of transfer of power at the news conference were made by the Information Committee.

The Information Committee in their replies at the news conference said SLORC Chairman Senior Gen Saw Maung had frequently spoken on the transfer of power, that he had said power would be transferred immediately to the government that emerges according to law after the elections and that we did not know to whom and how power would be transferred immediately as we did not know who would win in the elections. The Information Committee said power could not be transferred as soon as the elections were held and the situation would depend on the formation of a government based on the Constitution. The Information Committee said that if power were transferred in a hurry only a shaky and weak government would emerge, and that this fact was apparent to anyone capable of thinking and that a stable situation was possible only when a government was formed systematically according to the constitution ...

At the news conference, the Information Committee quoted Senior Gen Saw Maung as saying that the new constitution would not be drafted by the Defence Services, that it would not be written by the SLORC and that the elected people's representatives were to draft the constitution ... The NLD newsletter selectively took extracts from what had been explained fully and related them to the senior general's speech of 3rd July 1990 at the meeting of the SLORC and the law and order restoration councils from states and divisions and implied that the SLORC had changed its tune. This is incorrect. It is aimed at causing confusion among the public and amounts to accusations against the SLORC Chairman and the government. In other words, these are fabrications to create antagonism between the SLORC and the people.

We have not changed our attitude. Please study the explanations and statements issued by us. They are consistent. I would like to clarify that the 43rd news conference and the 3rd July 1990 speech by Senior Gen Saw Maung do not represent any change in attitude or inconsistency ...

At the present time we should consider the choice between the 1947 Constitution and the 1974 Constitution. It is evident, because of changing times and conditions, that neither constitution is now suitable or usable. So which constitution should we use in transferring power? We should draft a new constitution. It is essential to draft such a constitution. For a strong government to emerge, we should proceed systematically according to law.

In order to carry this out we need a new constitution which has been drafted and promulgated systematically. It is necessary that such a constitution be acceptable to every citizen in the nation. The winning parties are to work for the emergence of a resolute constitution in the long-term interests of the state and the entire people. The political parties are responsible for drafting the constitution.

As for our SLORC, we will not regard it as something that is of no concern to us. I would
like to say that the SLORC will give as much assistance as possible. As individual Burmese citizens, it is of concern to us and we are responsible for it...

In drafting a constitution we should not copy the constitutions of other countries, but must consider the unique conditions in our country, bearing in mind that our country is a union of 135 ethnic groups and that there is internal insurgency which has existed from the time of independence until today ... Therefore, I would like to say that a constitution cannot be amended, drafted and promulgated easily by a minority ...

Next, I would like to address the issue of when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be released, which was raised in the newsletter. We have heard that the NLD openly declared that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi must play a leading role in establishing a new democratic state and that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi must lead in the talks with the SLORC ... I would like to ask a question of the representatives and winning political parties elected by the people hoping to play a leading role in determining the destiny of the country. Which is more important: Obtaining power and the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, or the long-term interests of the country and the people? They must consider this. I believe this is not the time for an individual approach or for a personality cult in insisting that a specific person be included in working for the long-term interests of the state. It is the time for the winning parties to work in the spirit of patriotism and in the interests of the country and the people and the perpetuation of the Union without attachment to personalities.

To speak frankly on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, we have been very lenient in the restriction order imposed on her. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's advocating defiance of authority and confrontation affected state security and public peace and tranquility and she repeatedly violated the law. By continuously defying authority despite repeated warnings from the authorities, she infringed on the Criminal Law as well as special laws. However, in consideration of her status as the daughter of national leader Gen Aung San, she was put under the restriction order according to Article 10-B as a pre-emptive measure to stop her from engaging in further confrontation. This action enables her to live in peace without danger and ensures stability and peace for the country.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is permitted to move about freely in the compound of her house and she is living freely ... We oblige her social needs as much as possible. We assisted in repairs to her compound and her residence and have been providing weekly medical care and treatment ... We even provide orthodontic care at her request to correct her uneven teeth. Her spouse, Dr Michael Aris, and her sons have been sending her letters, foodstuffs, goods, books and documents from Britain through the British Embassy in Rangoon. We accept responsibility for delivering these letters, goods and foodstuffs to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi without exception ... Although she cannot move outside freely under the restriction order, she can live peacefully and freely in her residence and attend to her social needs ... Arrangements have been made for her to offer food to the monks on Martyrs' Day (19 July, which marks her father's assassination) in her residence as she has requested. We have liberally done whatever we should and could for her.

Another matter mentioned in the newsletter is the three government branches ... The NLD newsletter in reference to the three branches mentioned that the Revolutionary Council exercised the three powers through decrees without resorting to the 1947 Constitution and that SLORC has been exercising legislative, judicial and executive powers without a constitution. It went on to say that before the 1947 Constitution was endorsed by the constituent assembly, the government of Gen Aung San and U Nu exercised powers under the 1935 Burma Act. The newsletter implied that power can be transferred without a constitution ...

The political leaders of the NLD should consider the times and conditions. They have among them famous legal experts. The SLORC is ruling today by martial law. The Defence Services are administering according to law after dissolving a government. It is an administration by martial law. It is not a political organisation elected by the people. Political parties elected by the people cannot obtain the three powers through decrees ... If a political party convenes a parliament and forms a government according to its own wishes, then such a government can only be a parallel government. If that happens, the SLORC government, which is a legal government, will not look on with folded arms.

Representatives from political parties which are to build a new democratic state must consult among themselves on a new constitution stage by stage ...

Another matter in this newsletter concerns political prisoners. There is an article on political prisoners by a person claiming to be a legal expert...

I shall explain these so-called political prisoners. To promote unity and peace in the country, on 28th May 1980, the state government issued Order No. 2/80 on General Amnesty declaring amnesty for those who had committed political offences ... There was such a classification of political offence under the provisions of the time by the State Council as applied to Order No. 2/80 on General Amnesty. We should take note that it does not apply to offences committed afterwards. The government at that time was the government of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma which had to safeguard its political line. Everyone should understand that the government in power today is a military government which is an organisation not bound by decrees and directives issued by the State Council at one time ... We do not have to defend a political line connected with party politics ...

The Emergency Powers Act was enacted in 1950 by the AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League) government and the Law Safeguarding the State from Dangers of Destructive Elements was passed in 1975 ... All laws have their own objectives and meaning. We cannot regard those against whom action has been taken under one of these laws under present circumstances as political prisoners. We have the Criminal Law enacted during the pre-independence era, the law passed during the AFPFL government era, and the law enacted during the time of the government of the Burma Socialist Programme Party. These laws and their articles cannot be uniformly interpreted as applicable to political cases. Times and conditions have to be taken into consideration.

Today is the time of the military government and we are acting according to our prescribed laws. The objective of taking action under these laws and articles of previous eras is to ensure law and order and peace and tranquility in the state and peaceful conduct of trade and livelihood by the majority of the public. It is to ensure security. We would like to state categorically that since the SLORC does not defend the political line of a party, the actions that have been taken are not for political offences. So long as the old laws are not yet abrogated, we have the right to use them ... We take action for security and law and order. Therefore, I would like to declare categorically that those against whom action has been taken at present for reasons of security and law and order cannot be regarded as political prisoners.

I would like to speak about matters regarding diplomats. That newsletter quoted the Chinese ambassador on the need for a dialogue between the SLORC and the NLD. The newsletter showed only the Chinese ambassador visiting the NLD headquarters but did not carry photographs of other ambassadors who have visited many times. There is a motive behind this. I will continue my explanation. In that newsletter, the meeting between the NLD executive committee members and the Chinese ambassador was highlighted with a large photograph. We think that in publicly showing the meeting with a foreign ambassador, the NLD is behaving like a current government in power without regard for the dignity of the ambassador.

We would like to say that it is not proper to state in the newsletter the ambassador's wish for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, even if he really said it, because it is only his personal opinion. It is not customary to publish officially a statement that is not issued by a government, but that is only a personal opinion. Publishing this in the NLD newsletter is just like announcing it officially to the public and could be construed as an act to create misunderstanding between the SLORC and foreign diplomats.

Many foreign ambassadors visited the NLD headquarters after the elections. Of all these visits why would the NLD choose to publish only the meeting with the Chinese ambassador? Ambassadors from Western countries have been meeting and holding discussions with NLD Central Executive Committee members often. You journalists all know this. There are many ambassadors from Western countries who have frequently visited NLD headquarters. It is considered dishonest to selectively publish a photo of the meeting with the Chinese ambassador on the front page of the newsletter while failing to report on meetings with the many Western ambassadors.

I would like to continue to discuss matters relating to diplomats.

On 11th July the VOA broadcast that the British government had asked the Burmese military government to begin holding talks on the transfer of power with the winner of the May elections. You journalists already know about that broadcast. It is included in the monitoring news [preceding two words said in English]. It was stated in the broadcast that the news was contained in the statement issued by the British embassy in Rangoon. When we asked U Ohn Gyaw, a responsible person from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he explained to us that he has not received this letter. Is it true, U Ohn Gyaw? The British embassy is located close to the Burmese Foreign Affairs Ministry. It is a wonder that it did not reach the ministry first, but instead reached the VOA, which is very far, and was subsequently reported in its broadcasts. There are motives behind the broadcasts.

Likewise, there are some foreign countries that have called for a quick transfer of power. Such calls were made according to their wishes without proper knowledge of Burma's historical background and without considering Burma's historical background on the struggle for independence or the military's historical background. Such an action carried out with the intention of bullying a small country is considered interference in the internal affairs of the country. That is how we see it.

It is also not proper to breach diplomatic ethics to interfere in the affairs of a country which was considered a colony. To state it clearly, only the Burmese people and the Burmese citizens have the right to determine the internal affairs of the country and we will not tolerate any foreign interference. The people who genuinely love Burma are the Burmese people; no foreigner will ever love Burma. It is all very clear. It is something to think about when foreigners say that they love Burma. I would like to urge you journalists to think about it also ...

Some Western countries have been applying pressure [preceding words said in English] frequently by threatening through the VOA, the BBC and by notes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cut off relations and economic assistance. We do not care about this pressure. Today, I would like to say through you journalists that we do not pay attention to all this pressure.

I will next present to you matters regarding the observance of the Martyrs' Day ceremony. Since no news has been published on this and since it is in the interest of most people, I will continue and present it. We will do what is necessary for this year's 43rd anniversary of Martyrs' Day in accordance with tradition ... We do not want the people to create any disturbances by taking advantage of Martyrs' Day. The SLORC will carry out its tasks step by step in accordance with the law for the country and for the long-term interests of the nation. During the period of our administration the situation in the country will be more stable and we will pave the way for the construction of a democratic nation. With regard to the people's interest, we would like to say through you journalists that we will take legal action against those whose activities could disrupt peace and tranquility ...

Next, I would like to speak on the issue of meeting with the assembly representatives and leaders from the political parties. There is a plan to hold talks with elected assembly representatives of political parties and the SLORC. A letter to this effect dated 11th July 1990 has been sent by the SLORC to the political parties concerned. We will not be meeting with just a single party but with elected leaders of all the winning parties and independent candidates. Before such talks are held, the political parties are to attend to all requirements of the People's Assembly Election Law. Political parties are required to submit their accounts of election expenses according to Articles 47 and 48 of the Election Law. Similarly, they are required to file any complaints on the election under Article 64 of the Election Law. Therefore, I would like to say that they should settle matters with the Election Commission before talks are held with us ...

Another matter is the 13th July issue of ‘Asiaweek’ magazine ... The AIR (All-India Radio) had already broadcast this. In the magazine Dominic Faulder described his interview with U Kyi Maung during his stay in Rangoon ... Dominic Faulder asked whether the government worries about revenge by the people ...

Much emphasis was given to the question. U Kyi Maung answered that they have many problems which must be addressed. He asked in actual fact, how many brutal German Nazis stood trial at Nuremberg. The meaning is clear. The question was then asked by Dominic Faulder whether U Kyi Maung implied there would be a Nuremberg in Rangoon ... U Kyi Maung answered that he did not believe the average Burmese would try to fight soldiers. He said it was a hugely exaggerated problem and that it was nothing. He said, of course, people such as Khin Nyunt might reasonably feel themselves pretty insecure.

I would like to ask U Kyi Maung what attitude he had towards me in answering in such a manner. Let me say this frankly to U Kyi Maung as one soldier to another: I hold no grudge. We accept the fact that U Kyi Maung, who was once a soldier, has served the country. I would like to tell him that now we are serving the country and the people. U Kyi Maung claimed to have loved the country and to have sacrificed for the country. We too love the country and sacrifice for the country no less than U Kyi Maung. I would like to say no less.

I could attest to my character and patriotism and I dare to be compared to him ... As he said, I, Khin Nyunt, am a soldier and I never anticipate fear. We do not assume this responsibility because we are power-mad. I would like to tell U Kyi Maung that we are acting in the spirit of nationalism and patriotism. I would like the journalists, whom I believe meet U Kyi Maung frequently, to tell U Kyi Maung this. Do not insult with accusations which are not firm. Please tell U Kyi Maung that if it gets worse he will be sued ...

In conclusion, I would like to tell the NLD that the incorrect information contained in its newsletter undermines and insults the prestige of Senior Gen Saw Maung. They should be aware that action could be taken against them under the law for false accusation. Therefore, responsible persons should systematically scrutinise publications ... Please do not try to create antagonism between the people and the SLORC.

Please settle your own party affairs according to your own methods. Please do not try to accomplish party work and settle party affairs by showing opposition to the SLORC. Those who continue to do so will be wrong. Settle your own party affairs. Do not approach us by making demands and creating fights. We will continue to work systematically according to the law stage by stage. At present the political parties should be working on drafting a firm constitution in the interests of the country and the people ...

To the monks, laymen, students and youths, I would like to urge them to study and review the country's history and relate it to the tough political journey they have experienced. The time has come for them to act according to the law to ensure the country's future and peace and security. I conclude by appealing to them through the veteran journalists to unitedly assist and participate consciously in the task of constructing a new, stable and prosperous democratic state and to prevent unrest, demands and fights after being misled by instigations from unscrupulous people inside and outside the country. I thank you all.

[Source: Democracy and Politics in
Burma (Marc Weller, NCGUB, 1993]

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July 27 1990: At the 101st State LORC Press Conference [now held fortnightly instead of weekly], spokesmen said:

-- The National League for Democracy [No. 2] "is to hold a co-ordination meeting of elected Pyithu Hluttaw representatives in the Mahattama Gandhi Hall on Bo Aung Gyaw Street on 28 and 29 July.... The meeting is to be held with official permission.... Yet, unscrupulous persons outside the country are spreading rumours...that the Government has not given permission...so there would be unrest. They are doing so to destabilize the commodity prices... We hereby warn...rumour-mongers that severe action will be taken against them...."

-- "The party that obtained the majority of votes got only 38.11366 per cent of all eligible votes.... Nineteen parties in the name of nationalities gained only 2.5547 per cent eligible votes. Hence, all the winning parties combined gained only about 40 per cent of eligible votes. If one looks at this one can know whether they can represent the majority of the voters. Therefore, in a nation like ours where there are 135 national races, it will be necessary to solicit sthe desires and attitudes of the majority of the people of all the national races in order to bring forth a firm and strong constitution."

--"Parties that have published... leaflets instigating and inciting the people and inexperience youths ...include those that did not win a seat.... If they create conditions that sow enmity and discord between the Government and the people just as they have done,...whether [they] should be allowed to continue to exist will have to be taken into consideration." (WPD 7/28)

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Maj-Gen. Tin Oo's Speech

July 27 1990: In a speech to Government department heads, etc., State LORC Secretary (2) Maj-Gen. Tin Oo made the following principal points:

-- "The SLORC...has abolished one-party system as well as the laws protecting the socialist economic system and has paved the way for the market economy system...."

-- "The SLORC will have to carry out the tasks which should be done for the benefit of the public, stage by stage, according to the programme laid down. When the time comes, we will have to hold discussions with the Hluttaw representatives from political parties and independent candidates.... The transfer of power will be made systematically only, after drafting and approving of the Constitution. The SLORC is taking appropriate measures within the short period in the efforts for changing one-party system to multi-party system and establishing multi-party democratic machinery."

-- "Under the one-party rule, service personnel could carry out the State duties as well as the party tasks.... Service personnel are being trained to be free from party politics while changes are being effected in political system.... It is necessary for [them] to change their ideas and concepts they conceived during the one-party system.... They are to carry out their duties conscientiously and be faithful to whatever government comes to power according to law.... The Tatmadaw, being a service organization, does not accept the leadership of any party and is not biased for or against any party...."

-- "The Hluttaw representatives of successful parties...are to frame a constitution by seriously taking into consideration such factors as the delegation of sovereign powers, the choice of political system and regional administrative system. We will in no way let the nation plunge into a state of chaos for want of a firm constitution."

-- "The insurgent organizations and the exterior forces are...making attempts through incitement, instigation and sabotage...to manipulate the drafting of a new constitution. It will be inappropriate to shape the future of the country based upon personality cult."

-- "It is required for all to prevent the outbreak of demonstrations or strikes. Now is the time when the leftists and rightists within and without the country are making disturbances...bent upon putting the Tatmadaw into a tight corner...[by using] immature youths and students for their own selfish ends of coming to power.... It is incumbent upon parents and teachers to advise their children or pupils correctly." (WPD 7/28)

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July 27 1990: State LORC Declaration No. 1/90 of July 27, 1990

1. Myanmar Naing-Ngan became an independent and sovereign nation on 4th January, 1948.

2. The situation in the whole of the country deteriorated because of the disturbances during 1988. The Tatmadaw took over State Power in order to correct the deteriorating situation in time and in the interests of the people. The Tatmadaw abolished all the Organs of State Power including the Pyithu Hluttaw, formed the State Law and Order Restoration Council [SLORC], declared that it would carry out the four main tasks and undertook the responsibility of all the affairs of the State.

3. The [SLORC] issued laws, notifications, declarations and orders which have the force of law, required for effectively ensuring prevalence of law and order, the rule of law and peace and tranquillity throughout the country.

4. In order to ease the food, clothing and shelter problems of the people and to enable private, co-operative and joint venture businesses to be undertaken, the [SLORC] has repealed the restrictive laws and has issued necessary laws, orders, directives and orders which have the force of law. Moreover, it is carrying out measures which should be undertaken with a view to serving the long-term interests of the State.

5. The [SLORC] is carrying out measures which should be undertaken in order to ensure safe and smooth transportation and communications and to improve the same.

6. The [SLORC] (Tatmadaw) is not an organization that observes any constitution; it is an organization that is governing the nation by Martial Law. It is common knowledge that the [SLORC] is governing the nation as a military government and that it is a government that has been accepted as such by the United Nations and the respective nations of the world.

7. As regards international relations, the [SLORC] has declared that it will pursue an independent and active foreign policy and has friendly relations with the respective nations of the world. With a view to promoting better diplomatic relations with the respective nations the Government has not closed down any embassy in Myanmar Naing-Ngan but has allowed them to continue to operate; neither has it withdrawn Myanmar embassies from foreign countries, but has continued to keep them open and maintains normal relations with the respective nations. Furthermore, the Government has even opened an embassy in a country in which there was no Myanmar embassy previously.

8. Myanmar Naing-Ngan being a member of the United Nations, the Myanmar Embassy to the United Nations strictly pursues the foreign policy of Myanmar Naing-Ngan in international matters and in performing its duties concerning the United Nations, Myanmar Naing-Ngan abides by the principles of peaceful co-existence in its relations with other nations. Moreover, Myanmar Naing-Ngan defends and safeguards its independence and deals with other nations' interference in its internal affairs in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter.

9. In order to avoid disruption and severance of relations between Myanmar Naing-Ngan and other nations, the Government magnanimously has time and again told some diplomats who have violated their diplomatic code of conduct not to interfere in its internal affairs without mentioning their names and the nations to which they belong. Furthermore, it has informed the matters to the embassies concerned through diplomatic channels. As it has been able to avoid matters that may cause disruption of relations between nations and governments by doing so, there has not arisen any problem. Misunderstandings due to the activities of some diplomats have been cleared with magnanimity, through diplomatic channels.

10. The [SLORC] (Tatmadaw) has been persistently carrying out the three main tasks--that of preventing disintegration of the Union, preventing disintegration of national solidarity and that of ensuring perpetuity of the sovereignty of the State from the time it has assumed the duties and responsibilities of the State. Everybody is aware that on the other hand it has launched major offensives and crushed all sorts of armed insurgents, sacrificing the lives, blood and sweat of many members of the Tatmadaw. Since the Tatmadaw is not a political organization, it did not hold negotiations with the insurgents by political means. However, it welcomes all those who have renounced the programme of armed struggle and returned to the legal fold and a body formed by it is carrying out resettlement work for them. Since the [SLORC] is not a political government, it has no reason at all to negotiate by political means with any armed insurgent organization.

11. In order to enable the Multi-Party Democracy General Election to be held, the [SLORC] enacted the Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission and formed the Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission. It also enacted the Political Parties Registration law to enable political parties wishing to stand for the election to get themselves registered. Moreover, in order to hold a free and fair multi-party democracy general election, it enacted the Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law.

12. Section 3 of the Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law provides that--"The Hluttaw shall be constituted with the representatives elected from the constituencies in accordance with this law." The [SLORC] will take measures for summoning the Hluttaw in accordance with this provision. The Information Committee has, from time to time explained that the Multi-Party Democracy General Election Commission, the parties which won seats in the election and the elected representatives should carry out measures which should be carried out in accordance with the law and rules.

13. Today, after the Multi-Party Democracy General Election has been held, matters relating to summoning the Hluttaw and transfer of power are being discussed in bulletins and pamphlets published; guidelines in respect thereof are being given and incitements and instigations are being undertaken by foreign broadcasting stations and illegal pamphlets and leaflets are being distributed.

14. The matter of summoning the Hluttaw has been explained earlier. The Chairman of the [SLORC] has explained matters relating to transfer of power in the addresses he has made from time to time in his meeting with the Command Commanders, Commanders of Light Infantry Divisions and Chairmen of the State/ Division Law and Order Restoration Councils. The Secretary-1 of the [SLORC] explicitly dealt with this matter at the 100th Press Conference held on 13th July, 1990.

15. There will be no necessity to clarify the fact that a political party cannot automatically get the three aspects of State Power--the legislative power, the executive power and the judicial power--just because a Pyithu Hluttaw has come into being and that they can only be obtained on the basis of a constitution. The Constitution of 1947 was accepted and approved by the Constituent Assembly on 24th September, 1947. However, it can clearly be seen from the legal aspect that that constitution came into force only on 4th January 1948 when Myanmar Naing-Ngan was declared an independent and sovereign State. There are two types of constitutions for a nation--one drawn up before the nation becomes independent and the other drawn up after the nation has become independent. The tradition followed by the respective nations which have attained independence is that they held constituent assemblies and drew up the constitutions only after they have acquired sovereign power. However, in Myanmar Naing-Ngan independence was declared only after the Constituent Assembly had drawn up the constitution. It is clear that this was due to the fact that the leaders of the nation in those days wanted to obtain independence from the British by peaceful means as early as possible.

16. The Constitution of 1974 was drawn up after the nation's independence had been gained and no one can deny the fact that it was a constitution promulgated through a national referendum.

17. It is necessary to note particularly the difference in that the Constitution of 1947 was drawn up before the independence of the nation was attained and that the Constitution of 1974 was drawn up after the independence of the nation had been attained.

18. It can be seen from the statements issued that the desire of the majority of the political parties which contested in the Multi-Party Democracy General Election is to draw up a new constitution. It will be seen that when the Constitution of 1947 was drawn up, matters concerning the national races were discussed only with the Shan, Kachin and Chin nationals at the Panglong Conference and that they were not discussed with the Mon and Rakhine nationals. Today, in Myanmar Naing-Ngan there are many national races who have awakened politically and it is obvious that it is especially necessary to draw up a firm constitution after soliciting their wishes and views.

19. As the [SLORC] is a military government, it exercises Martial Law. As such it exercises the following three aspects of State Power in governing Myanmar Naing-Ngan:

(a) Legislative power: Only the [SLORC] has the right to exercise it.

(b) Executive power: The [SLORC] has the right to exercise it. However, it has delegated this power to the Government, State/Division, Township Zone, Township and Ward/Village-tract Law and Order Restoration Councils at different levels and has caused administrative work to be carried out through collective leadership. This is a form of giving training to the service personnel so that they will be able to perform, by keeping themselves free from party politics their departmental work under the government that will come into being according to the constitution.

(c) Judicial power: The [SLORC] has the right to exercise it. However, the Government has formed courts at various levels to adjudicate on ordinary criminal and civil cases so that they will have practical training when a constitution comes into being.

20. Consequently under the present circumstances, the representatives elected by the people are those who have the responsibility to draw up the constitution of the future democratic State.

21. It is hereby declared that the [SLORC] will in no way accept the drawing up of a temporary constitution for forming a government to take over State Power and that it will take effective action if it is done so, and that in the interim period before a government is formed in accordance with a new firm constitution drawn up according to the desires and aspirations of the people, the [SLORC] (Tatmadaw) will defend and safeguard--

(a) the three main causes--such as the non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and ensuring perpetuity of the sovereignty;

(b) of the four main tasks mentioned in the [SLORC] Declaration No 1/88 such as the prevalence of law and order, the rule of law, regional peace and tranquillity, ensuring safe and smooth transportation and communication, easing the food, clothing and shelter problems of the people and holding Multi-Party Democracy General Election, the first three main tasks (with the exception of the task of holding the multi-party democracy general election) and

(c) the task of bringing about the development of the national races of Myanmar Naing-Ngan.

By order,

Sd. Khin Nyunt

Secretary-1

The State Law and Order Restoration Council

(WPD 7/29)

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August 1990

 

Aug. 6-8 1990: A constitution acceptable to the people, by An Observer. [Review of previous constitutions. "In the process of drafting and adopting a constitution, elected Hluttaw representatives will have to study the past events, constitutions of the past, guiding speeches of national leaders, then drafted {sic} a constitution and sought the approval of the people through a national referendum in order that the constitution may be acceptable to all the national races of the country."] (WPD August 6-8)

 

***************************

 

Aug. 10 1990: At the 102nd State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

-- The Government has not taken note of reported remarks by NLD Central Body member U Chan Aye on July 30 that a meeting was needed between the SLORC and the NLD to resolve a difference of opinion over the constitution, and by U Kyi Maung "that `Mai' (the NLD) could not accompany `Maung' (the SLORC) wherever he (it) would take her." However, "U Kyi Maung...had even said something in connection with the Nuremburg trials." (WPD 8/11)

 

*********************

Aug. 19 1990: In a speech in Nyaungdon Township, where he was inspecting erosion controls, State LORC Secretary (1) Maj-Gen. Khin Nyunt said:

"We know that power should be handed over in accordance with constitution at the suitable time. There must be a firm constitution in our country and it is the life of the country. A government should not be formed and power be handed over in a slip-shod manner with a temporary constitution. We successfully held the election for we have arrangements for handing over power from the very beginning.

"Myanmar Naing-Ngan has two significant conditions. One is that the country is made up of 135 different national races and the other is that there is insurgency that emerged with our independence. These things are to be taken into consideration in drafting a constitution. A constitution is to be drafted in such a way that it is in accordance with the wishes of the national races who are residents of the Union and that it is in their interests.

"Myanmar Naing-Ngan remained backward due to insurgency. Now insurgents remain only in certain border areas. The State Law and Order Restoration Council has been carrying out activities for development of border areas and this work has been going on for more than one year. The work is aimed at strengthening national solidarity.

"Certain political parties and some organizations are making demands for swift transfer of power. Broadcasting stations of certain big nations are making attempts to interfere in our internal affairs to undermine national solidarity and to cause disintegration of the Union and then to make Myanmar Naing-Ngan their satellite country. We shall continue to carry out tasks for the benefit of the country and its people.

"We have no political party that backs us. We are doing things through co-ordination among Tatmadaw leaders and under the leadership of Senior General Saw Maung according to our belief and objectives for the good of national races." (WPD 8/20)

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Aug 24 1990: At the 103rd State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

-- "Political attacks on us... creating demands and attacks [are inappropriate].... The [SLORC] is not an organization that will hold on to State power for a long time."...

-- "We have heard the news that the [SLORC] has formed the military council only now and that the military council will continue to govern the nation.... There are now some people who have deliberately fabricated such news...there is no need to form a military council."

-- With the...election having been held, the [SLORC] will continue to carry out the remaining three tasks till the coming into being of a firm government.... We will continue taking the responsibility of the State till the emergence of a government formed in accordance with constitution accepted by all the national races."

-- Since all constitutions are now void, demands to hold a Hluttaw session are intended "to cause unrest and disturbances...." Various political parties [NLD; Mra People's Party] are framing constitutions, even some without a single seat. Parties without a seat "will have to stop their illegal acts if they want to continue to exist." Parties should not "incite acts defying the authority nor of making demands for an interim government."

*********************

Aug. 26 1990: Speaking in Rakhine State, State LORC Secretary (1) Maj-Gen. Khin Nyunt said:

"The [SLORC] carries out giving priority to Our Three CausesÄÄnon-disintegration of the Union; preservation of national solidarity and perpetuation of national sovereignty. Our Three Causes are the concern of every citizen.

"Our country must have a firm constitution. It is the life of a nation. It is impossible for us to hand over power to a government formed under a provisional constitution. We should see the long-term interests of the nation.

"It is necessary for the political parties to do their work within the bound of law.

"I would like you to realize that certain diplomats got themselves involved in the movements that had taken place in Myanmar Naing-Ngan and foreign broadcasting stations such as BBC, VOA and AIR broadcast false news in an attempt to cause disintegration of the Union. True events have been clarified in the press conferences.

"UG [underground] elements headed by BCP Bo Kyin Maung have infiltrated into the world of service personnel and parties.

"Market economy is being practised and natural resources of the State are systematically being exploited. Especially in the onshore oil exploration, we have signed contracts with ten foreign companies. It is expected that oil can be produced between six months and one and a half year from now. Myanmar Naing-Ngan will make rapid progress if the work meets with success....

"The most important task today is to draw up a constitution concerned with each and every citizen. Hluttaw representatives, leaderrs of nationalities and the people, therefore, are to take part in drawing up the constitution.... The constitution cannot be framed by one person or one organization...[it] must be in full accord with the wishes of the people.

"The National League for Democracy has made demands in publishing resolutions passed at Gandhi Hall and excerpts of its eighth press conference. Matters concerning the constitution and transfer of power cannot be dealt with hastily. In view of national interests these tasks must be carried out state by stage taking appropriate time.

"At present, the rule of law and peace and tranquillity are essential requirements and each and every person must abide by the law...." (WPD 8/27)

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Aug. 27 1990: Yangon Commander and Divisional LORC Chairman Maj-Gen. Myo Nyunt told judges and police:

"Just as organizations within the country are continually demanding speedy transition of power, so also the organizations outside our country are meddling in our internal affairs.... As their attempts to cause disturbances in August have come to naught, they have made another move to cause unrest in September. They are again spreading rumours that something will happen on 9-9-90...15-9-90...and 18-9-90.... Some organizations...are now demanding the convening of Hluttaw on this and that date, quoting the paragraph 3 of chapter 2 of the Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law.... But it does not mention a date on which it is to be constituted as they are demanding ....

"The very essence of Declaration 1/90 is transfer of power according to a constitution which is acceptable to all national races.... We have...put up sign-boards bearing the three main causes. But some students, persuaded by some unscrupulous politicians, are now putting down or destroying sign-boards. And these acts amount to the implication that those politicians who are pulling the strings from behind will forsake the three causes if they ever come to power....

"Greedy merchants and traders do not hesitate to join the propaganda campaign. They do not try to make money by simply competing among themselves. They resort to unscrupulous means, spreading fabricated news...[that] may heighten the anxieties of the people. Taking advantage of the government's revised fuel distribution the destructive elements spread various rumours. They'll always attempt to push us into a corner.... We, on our part, must keep an eye on their acts so that their destructive activities can be prevented." (WPD 8/28)

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Aug. 31 1990: Yangon Commander Maj-Gen. Myo Nyunt told recuperating soldiers that:

"As the attempts to cause disturbances in August have come to no avail, fresh attempts are being made to cause disturbances in September again. Some youths, cooperating with the pundits abroad, are spreading news that they will launch a movement on 9-9-90. Some political parties are reported to have decided to launch the second phase if the Hluttaw is not convened and power not transferred by September. They have also published meeting minutes No 15/90 and come to make this and that demands. Some are saying that a great movement will be launched on 15 September. There are also some who are calling this September `black September.'...

"There are some unscrupulous politicians who are saying: `SLORC will collide head on with NLD as both are running along the same rails in opposite directions; the only difference will be the impact of the collision.'... There are publications under the name of UNDP which carry the news that a democracy bomb is going to explode.... The SLORC... will strictly adhere to its Declaration 1/90.... You may sometimes think casually that power can be transferred easily. But if you think it seriously, you'll see that the transition of power without a firm constitution will only lead to the disintegration of the Union. Some nationalities from some states are giving hints of the right to secede even before the transfer of power. We would like to ask the next government how it will tackle things if the nationalities come to make demands and attacks....

"There are some individuals who are accusing the Tatmadaw of being fascists. Although there are such indirect references and innuendoes, the political parties have never revealed their attitude towards the Tatmadaw openly. They only reiterate their demands for earliest transfer of power and their offer to the insurgents to hold peace talks." (WPD 9/1)

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September 1990

Judiciary Warned

Sept. 2 1990: Chief Justice U Aung Toe warned judges and staff to observe Declaration 1/90.  (WPD 9/3

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Sept. 7 1990: Speaking to 650 Tatmadawmen living in civilian dwellings, Maj-Gen. Myo Nyunt said:

"There are certain unscrupulous persons who set you outliving Tatmadawmen as targets in their attempt to spark off disturbances.... Should the power be transferred without a firm constitution, aliens will blatantly interfere in our internal affairs. In this connection, U Aung Gyi in his book...wrote thus: `We can in no way permit CIA meddling in Myanma domestic affairs. What is worse is that there are some foreigners who are interfering in our affairs. Most of them are from the Western countries.... We'll in no way tolerate foreign interference or influence....

"There are differences of opinions and aims within the parties. You can imagine how perilous it will be for the SLORC to transfer power to them under present circumstances. You should read the book entitled `Whither Myanmar Naing-Ngan?' written by Vidhura Thakin Chit Maung. In his book, he raised a question of whether the casting of overwhelming votes for the candidates of a solitary party is right or wrong....

"The saboteurs have made fresh attempts to launch movements in September.... We have heard that they will collect lists of outliving Tatmadawmen, that they will insult, threaten and bully [them], that if [they] lose their temper and encounter them, they will injure or kill them, that if a civilian dies in the brawl, they will turn the person into a hero and thereby create disturbances.... So, I would like to urge you not to dance to the tune played by them...." [They are also "making movements bringing to the fore the members of the Sangha...."] (WPD 9/8)

**************************

Sept. 7 1990: State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung said, in an address to the nation and to news correspondents [major excerpts]:

"There are respective laws for specific professions and responsibilities.... We [Tatmadawmen] abide by the 1959 Defence Services Act. Citizens...have to abide by the Penal Code. Service Personnel...have to follow the Fundamental Rules. Furthermore, as we are Buddhists there is vinaya and codes of conduct for those of the Sasana.... For the entire nation and all the national races residing within the national boundary and for the conduct of international relations there must be a constitution....

"There is the matter of those who reign as kings. I am not a king. In fact, I Am the SLORC Chairman. But I am entirely responsible for Myanmar Naing-Ngan. I do not regard myself as a king. I am not a king. Today is not an era of kings.... [I have read the] "Shwenanthon Abidan" .... I've also found the ten kingly duties in it. [Other texts mentioned].... It is not good for a king to be too aggressive and if he is too soft he will be overwhelmed. I cannot let this kind of thing happen again in our country....

"There are also traditions and customs to be abided by. That means to pay respect to parents, teachers, elders and those who are of same age and to be kind and considerate to the younger ones...." [Christian and Muslim texts cited.]

"We have the situation at present .... The broadcast made last night by the BBC and VOA and measures to be taken to prevent undesirable things from taking place.... I did things which ought to be done during the night. You can ask afterwards .... Maj-Gen. Khin Nyunt will explain on 11th all these matters on who did what with documents, evidence, records, cassette tapes and video tapes....

"I had mentioned matters to be carried out after the election.... This should be understood by those who will lead the country.... I need reports from the Commission saying that such and such persons have become legally elected Hluttaw representatives, Pyithu Hluttaw representatives.... There seems to be some sort of controversy in this regard. Is this the constituent assembly or is this the Pyithu Hluttaw? [1947 Constitution, written under colonial rule, and adopted as an "a sort of amendment" under British colonial legislation.] But in our case no one must come under us.... I have no constitution. This should be understood.... Whether it's called the Constituent Assembly or the Pyithu Hluttaw...is a matter which concerns the [Election] Commission, as I have said earlier....

"What must the party organizations do?... Why should they come and demand `give us power' using confrontation method? This sort of thing took place in 1988.... I cannot allow such a thing to happen again. On the basis of what constitution is a government to be formed. I have told one and all that I cannot accept a temporary constitution.... [Panglong Conference, and Revolutionary Council conferences recalled.]...[The Revolutionary Council] had a party. I have no party. But if I wanted power I would have formed a party ....

"[The parties] should have asked by now what they should do. I have told them that I will help them .... What have they been doing? Have they they own real strength? Have they their real party strength? Ko (Maj-Gen.) Khin Nyunt will tell you about this in detail on 11 September.... [Party expense accounting requirements reviewed]. If the accounts are ...incorrect at the time of one's signing the affidavit, one commits an offense according to the penal law.... This amounts to giving false evidence.... There was a matter connected with a woman. The people thought that we did it to damage her dignity. No. The account must be cleared up....

"Then, another matter connected with law. I shall not give the name. [Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-HCMacD.] It concerns a woman's submission of an application. She was asked, in respect of the decision made according to democratic procedure of the League, whether she had the right to stand for election or not. It will probably be known. However, she signed the application saying she was doing it in obedience to the democratically-made decision of her party. This is connected with 10(e) .... According to it the following persons shall have no right to stand for election...those who have the right to enjoy the rights and privileges enjoyed by subjects and citizens of foreign governments.... What is mentioned is not `those who are enjoying those rights and privileges'.... `The right to enjoy' means one may have enjoyed them at one time or another in the past or one who will enjoy them in the future. That is what is meant.... However, the application was submitted as an act of respect of the decision of that organization. There took place commotion in that township. The matter was settled at the Division-level.... It is not we who created this....

"[Different countries have different kinds of head of state.] In our country how shall we get a Head of State?... I do not say what should be done. This is the work to be done by the coming Hluttaw representatives.... I work very hard. Today there are various kinds of rumours afloat. There is the matter of our having to take action last night. I cannot allow troubles and dangers to occur....

"I must say there are broadcasting stations giving us trouble. I restrained myself and just gave hints as I did not want to have relations between nations affected. I said things in connection with diplomats violating the ethics and code of diplomats. We have tolerated a lot....

"In connection with the matter with members of the Sangha in Mandalay, what I want to say is I am no unbeliever. In fact I am carrying out activities today for the betterment of Sasana.... People in the country are free to profess religion of one's choice. Muslims as well as Christians have the right. I received a letter from Mandalay (from) Thanga Thammagi Ahpwe. The members of Sangha informed us, the military Government, that they boycotted us for what had happened in Mandalay. We cannot help it. I am not a man who will flee the country. But I would like to supplicate that members of the Sangha need to take into account the points mentioned by Aung Min and act accordingly. So, members of the Sangha have to be free from politics. We have no desire to cause trouble to eminent Sayadaws. Because it can amount to committing a sin ....

"We have here valuable minerals. The Almanac of 1990 here was sent to me by USIS.... There are lots of mineral wealth. What we need is just to exploit them. There is no need to worry about debts.... Our country became an LDC not we wanted to [sic] .... As I understand it, the suggestion was made to us by two other countries. Nowadays, our country's foreign debt amounts to 4.2 billion .... Our oil exploration work is not a trifle [sic] one. Our oil reserve survey was seven hundred and thirty-three million billion barrels in 1985. It is very promising. I have learnt that we can start drilling some oil wells in the early part of the winter. Now we are only in the stage of seismic survey....

"Some are saying that something will happen on the 9th or on the 15th just like an indication.... I am not a wimp.... But I will not tolerate under any circumstances, anything that will harm the interests of the country and the national races or anything that will make the country come under the influence of another nation. In connection with the actions I have taken, I hereby inform the people, members of Sangha, journalists and my officers in Myanmar Naing-Ngan that I have only done things within the framework of the law. That is all." (WPD 9/8) [Photos in WPD 9/9]

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11 Sept. 1990: At the 104th State LORC Press Conference, Maj-Gen. Khin Nyunt’s  presentations.

 

-- State LORC Secretary (1) Maj-Gen. Khin Nyunt appraised "matters which may not yet be clear to the political parties and some of the people," as an extension of State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung's speech of Sept. 7.

"We have been hearing all sorts of talk...about the transfer of power. The gist of what is being said includes that a national convention is to be formed to draw up a new constitution; that the Tatmadaw is to prove [sic] it and the people are to vote on it; that another election is to be held and since it will take years to carry out these tasks stage by stage, there may finally be no transfer of power and that the Tatmadaw is undertaking this program simply because it does not wish to hand over power."

"As the British imperialists would give Myanmar Naing-Ngan independence only if all the people of the land demonstrated concensus...concessions [had to be] made to please the imperialists. The socialist cause, which was the national aspiration, had to be relegated to secondary position.... If the clause `the right to secede...' had not been included in the constitution [of 1947], the British imperialists might never have granted independence.... This constitution could be regarded as a temporary constitution .... As it was drawn up with the sole aim of regaining independence, the desires of the people could not be fully ascertained.... Rather... [it] reflects and represents the desires of the Sawbwas, the feudal lords belonging to the ruling class .... The British imperialists working in complicity with `axe-handles' inside the country, assassinated Bogyoke Aung San and the other leaders whom they knew it would be very difficult to handle....

"As the political system practised was a bourgeois parliamentary democratic system and as the economic system practised was one which was entirely in the hands of the foreign capitalists, the people were exploited.... Insurrections broke out ...and later, the party in power split into many factions.... The prejudice [was great] between those who had once been colleagues as they adhered to the motto `To get power is primary and the wellbeing of the nation is secondary".

"As the country was on the verge of disintegration, the Caretaker Government led by General Ne Win came into being in 1958. There were some people who blatantly lied that the Tatmadaw had seized power. The Tatmadaw held the election as promised and systematically handed over (to the winning party).... But it did not amend the Constitution to make it worthy of an independent nation....

"So the Federal issue arose.... Furthermore, the unity within Myanmar Naing-Ngan disintegrated and... the nation tethered [sic] on the brink of disintegration.... In other words, treasonous elements and traitors within the country counted on foreign forces that entered the region....

"At that time...the Constitution no longer suited the country. It no longer prescribed the establishment of socialism, the original national objective. It was building capitalist Parliamentary democratic system contrary to the original objective. National solidarity had disintegrated. National economy had also become bankrupt...in the hands of foreigners.... The war that would be breaking out in South-East Asia due to foreign interferences was going to engulf Myanmar Naing-Ngan too.

"Because of these conditions, the Revolutionary Council came into being in 1962.... This led to implementing the socio-political system, the original national objective of an independent nation, under a suitable Constitution.... The 33-member internal unity advisory committee made up of prominent politicians was formed on 4 December 1968.... Scores of mass rallies and seminars were held to solicit the wishes and opinions of national races and people from all classes.... A constitution was drafted based on their desires and opinions....

"If we look at the two constitutions...the 1947 Constitution which was drawn up prior to the gaining of independence, contains provisions on the right to secede... and besides it was drawn up in haste and therefore the approval of the national people could not be sought.

"As for the 1974 Constitution,... the opinions of the people were solicited on a wide scale. Moreover, a nation-wide referendum was held and ...the matter of the states of the national races were completely solved in accordance with the wishes of the national races.... It was overwelmingly approved by the people and hence it can be regarded as firm and good.

"However, a question can be raised as to why it ended up with the disturbances.... The then Chairman of the Organ of State Power U Ne Win delivered an address at the Pyithu Hluttaw premises on 10 August 1987, reiterating the need to review and apparaise in order to effect changes in economy and also to amend the Constitution if necessary. He also spoke of the need to consider and take measures to remedy the weaknesses in the socialist economic system and the one-party system. It was guidance given to think over whether it was appropriate or not to change over to multi-party system ....

"The public became restless in 1988 and...[at the] Emergency Party Congress...the Party Chairman himself suggested holding a national referendum to find out which of the two systems--one-party system or multi-party system--the people wanted.... Although the suggestion...was not followed,...a decision was made to change and practise the multi-party system at another Emergency Party Congress held on 10 September 1988. If the political organizations which existed at that time had accepted the arrangements of the State organs of power to effect changes in its system, this would have created...a multi-party political system...by merely amending the constitution.... There would have been no reason for the State Law and Order Restoration Council to come into being. [Its] coming into existence...is the same as [that] of the Caretaker-Government of General Ne Win in 1958 and the Revolutionary Council in 1962 as it was inevitable due to developments in history when the country was on the verge of disintegration, obviously it was a matter of history repeating itself...

"When an era or a system ceases to exist, then the constitution which reflects that era and system also ceases to be in force.... The [SLORC] views everything from a legal point of view.... The national objective in 1947 was to gain independence...and in 1962 it was the socialist cause.... After the advent of the [SLORC], the national objective is the coming into force of the multi-party system and accordingly, the [SLORC]...held the multi-party election.

"After the holding of the free and fair election in order to aim for the parliamentary democracy system, which is the national objective, it is necessary to implement the second step of drafting of the constitution...which is acceptable to majority of the national races ....

"The emergence of the [SLORC] was due...to political organizations which rejected the offer for the establishment of the multi-party system according to the law but demanded...an interim government according to the programme for seizing power through force.... [Congressman] Solarz and...Ambassador...Levin met with...Dr. Maung Maung on 4 September and attempted to browbeat him into forming an interim government by setting aside the constitution.... Some diplomats are still interfering....

"An announcement broadcast by the VOA on 1-9-90...stated that the military government has been violating human rights; that new conditions are laid down...[for] handing over power to the elected civilian government...[and] drafting and approving the constitution;...that the Army will continue its rule without limitations...; that the Myanmar Army had driven about 500,000 people out of their homes and resettled them in remote places during the last six months and that democracy means that the Army is to be put under civilian government which was elected in accordance with constitutional and democratic means. These facts [sic] were announced by VOA on 1-9-90....

[Denunciation of foreign interference and BCP plotting. Review of establishment and dissolving of parties. Analysis of surviving 93 parties, and of election results.]

"When we studied the list of successful candidates...the majority stood for election under the name of the National League for Democracy... Of the 485 successful candidates, there were 42 retired Tatmadawmen, ...145 retired service personnel, 54 advocates and lawyers, 50 doctors and 194 civilians.... Students are conspicuous by their absence.... If [SLORC] had no wish to hand over power it would not have held the election. This is quite clear....

"The National League for Democracy [NLD] Central Executive Committee and League candidates elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw held their first plenum at the Gandhi Hall on 28-29 July 1990 and published the `Gandhi Hall Declaration,' the main points of which were the convening of the Pyithu Hluttaw during September 1990, the handing-over of power according to the 1990 temporary constitution written by the [NLD] and the writing of a new constitution by the Pyithu Hluttaw only after power was transferred to the body.... [Other similar NLD declarations cited.] The Democratic Labour Party (Myanmar), the League of Democratic Allies and five student parties, namely the Democratic Party for New Society, the Patriotic Democratic Youth Front, the Patriotic Youth Organization, the Graduates and Old Students Democratic Association and the Youths Unity Front separately published support for the Gandhi declaration.

"The United Nationalities League for Democracy...[which] listed 22 parties after the latest changes... [has] four main standpoints.... One, formation of a Union comprising eight states by racial grouping.... Two, the full enjoyment of the three sovereign rights by these states. Three, the formation of a bicameral Hluttaw, and four, a union where equal rights are enjoyed....

"A youth organization, the Democratic Party for New Society [endorsed the "Gandhi declaration, while "manipulating the illegal organizations" and having "shady dealings" with the ABSDF].... I want to say there is a limit to such actions and they must cease....

"The...five youth organizations [listed above]...have jointly issued a statement endorsing the Gandhi declaration. It is also found that political parties would gang together and put the present military under coercion, stage demands and fights and then move toward instigating disturbances. I want to say this is not the time to get into such activities.

"Student...groupings such as the Ba-Ka-Tha, then the Ba-Ka-Tha (Upper Myanmar), Ba-Ka-Tha (Lower Myanmar), Thone-yaung-chai, Khut-daung-ni-Asiayone, Ma-Ta-Tha, Ah-Ka-Tha, Ah-Kha-Tha and such like, have been active variously and in disunity.... Some...are found to be working in collusion with political parties, some are...engaged in what concerns the students. Some...are... moving towards creating disturbances.... Some students get bold not only to the point of circulating anti-government handouts, but...to destroying the posters displaying Our Three Causes or smearing them with paint ,... [and] destroying the telephone. Or to take down the State Flag, create disturbances during school hours, or threatening the teachers or trying to harm them....

"Those who are against the Three Causes...are connected with the insurgents and those who are fomenting trouble from outside the country....

"Various political parties are talking variously about the kind of constitution they want.... [Breakdown of proposals] The Union of Myanmar is made up of 135 national groups. Therefore, if such variance as is found today gets into the way of drafting a constitution, it would point to the Union moving toward disintegration....

"Next, I want to put before you what concerns religion and race issues being mixed up in politics.... Some political forces in Rakhine State are working toward formation of a racial entity.... [Support by NLD and others; money contributions to NLD] The two points are: (1) Recognition of Myanmar-Muslim as Pathi and setting them up as a national group....(2) A self-governing status in the areas resided by Muslims....

"[NLD pamphlets in Mandalay] made out...as if the security units, in controlling the disturbances, had resorted lawlessly to force, as if the sangha and the students had shed blood.... [Reports on Mandalay disturbances by Monywa U Tin Shwe and others were only hearsay. Foreign broadcasting stations have reported "fabricated news." Bangkok papers distort reports sent by correspondents in Myanmar, and use incorrect news sent by diplomats. They ignore news on the BCP and KNU.] Bertil Lintner...goes to the (KNU) camp and reports the news that the insurgents have given.... Diplomats...seem to be conspiring to incite violence and disturbances intentionally....

"Diplomatic staff of some embassies...are...in constant touch with political parties.... [In] many instances student youths were invited and instigated....

"Foreign interferences and instigations of foreign organizations are mainly responsible for continuing insurgency problems. They persist because of foreign conspiracies....

"The SLORC...Declaration 1/90 [of] 27 July 1990...is actually a guideline for the political parties... what to do or what not to do so that nothing untoward would happen in the political transition of the country. The [SLORC] on 29 August 1990 sent the attitude of the SLORC...to three political parties, namely the National League for Democracy, the Patriotic Old Comrades League and the Party for National Democracy.... It is to let them know that...we are going to constantly uphold the progress of the national cause.... We are joining hands with the political parties along historical lines for building a democratic nation....

"As regards personnel of the political parties and Hluttaw candidates, there will be things they can do just as there are things they cannot do where the writing of a new constitution is concerned. Do what you are supposed to do. If there is something you cannot do, the SLORC and the Tatmadaw are ready to help you....

"Informations have been sent to the elected Hluttaw representatives to complete their work as mentioned in the...Election Law.... [They] are to submit (1) election expense accounts and (2) to give explanation on objections lodged against them ....

"Out of 479 representatives 347 ...had already submitted their election expense accounts up to now.... There are also 1,730 candidates who were not elected.... Out of this 1,093 candidates have submitted... accounts.... Only three Independent candidates out of six submitted... accounts. [Of] 81 Independent candidates who were not elected...58 have submitted accounts....

"There are 11 objections lodged in accordance with Section 64(a) of the Election Law...being heard at five tribunals.... There are 31 complaint letters sent to the [SLORC] .... The Election Commissions also received 41 complaint letters....

"We also know there are differences of opinion within the political parties, personality cult, personal attack, misappropriation, politicking and complaint letters were received from the political parties. The complaint letter said woman Hluttaw representative from the National League for Democracy was allegedly guilty of misappropriation and...moral turpitude.... A doctor who was an elected Hluttaw representative from the [NLD] is facing trial with alleged looseness of character....

"If efforts are made [by parties] to cause instability in the country the government that assume responsibilities cannot help in framing a constitution. It amounts to wasting the time for the government has to control the situation.... Hence, it is time for political parties and organizations to make efforts for the swift emergence of a new constitution that conforms with law [sic], instead of threatening and instigating with the aim of disintegrating the Tatmadaw and trying to confront the Tatmadaw....

"I will now present the concluding part. I will present matters relating to the drafting of the constitution. There is a dire need to have a constitution which contains precise and concrete policies, ethics, rules and procedures in order to ensure the perpetuity of country's independence; prevent the disintegration of the Union; to enable democratic essence which the people desire flourish and to enable the people to live in peace and tranquillity.

"All the Union nationals residing in the country, all mass and class organizations, all intellectuals and technicians, all who love the country and all who protect and preserve the country are to co-ordinate and co-operate in drafting a constitution so that it would be the best and all the national races...would be satisfied....

"I will...present matters on where to start the work of drafting the constitution and who are to take the initiative.... [Drafting and approval of 1974 Constitution reviewed at length.] Don't you think there should be...a conference or a pilot referendum for the drafting of a new constitution broadly based to reflect the wishes of the national races...and people of every walks of life.... [It] is not the work of a single party, a group, an association, a group of people or a single human being.... It simply can't be done in this way.... The wishes, attitudes and advices of the people as broadly based as possible should be sought.

"Who will sponsor this?... The SLORC is not going to write the constitution.... Accordingly, people's representatives from different political parties and the major political parties will be leading.... What we have to remember is to obtain the attitude and advice of the Union races living in farflung and remote border areas.... We, members of the SLORC government and the Tatmadaw, have visited our brethren in far away border areas...and have...studied and noted down their feelings and their wishes. Similarly, I would like to say that the voice of our brethren...should be heard and noted down in the programme for obtaining the wishes of the national races to be launched soon.

"If the new constitution incorporated these three causes [non-disintegration of the Union or national unity; consolidation of sovereignty] we will welcome it.... After the constitution is systematically, correctly and fully written and after it is approved by the people, the SLORC will hand over power to a strong new government that emerges according to the constitution." (WPD 9/12)

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October 1990

 

Oct. 10 1990: What should be the objective? Is it for one party or is it for the State?, by A Senior Tatmadaw Officer


 [Two roads for
Myanmar: "one political party to come to power" or "to ensure the perpetuity of the State." The decision to make Myanmar a multi-party democracy was made by the BSPP on Sept. 11, 1988, and the SLORC is implementing it. But the "principal political party" says the main task is not to draw up a new constitution but to get power transferred to it, as indicated in the "Gandhi Hall declaration." This would put the constitution in the hands of the party. "It is a constitution not concerned with the 135 national races...the peasants and the workers...members of the Tatmadaw, public service personnel, and people from other walks of life." It is clear that the party's objective "does not serve the interests of the entire nation," but seeks only to come to power. The Tatmadaw government will stand firm under Declaration 1/90.]

 

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Oct. 20 1990: The constitution is primary and it is to serve the interests of the people for ever, by Maung Pwint Lin.

[Need for a constitution drawn by all the people. Today, despite the great progress made by the SLORC, "It is primarily because of the clever political self-seekers and the great economic exploiters (using unlawful means) that the commodity prices today are rising instead of coming down. That is why the people are saying that they themselves will draw up a constitution that will keep them away from fear and alarm and that will bring about development that will ease their food, clothing and shelter needs."
Myanmar needs a "constitution that will endure for hundreds of years...."]

 

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Oct. 5 1990: At the l05th State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

 

-- SLORC Declaration 1/90 came out July 27, while the NLD's Gandhi Declaration was issued July 28. The NLD on Sept. 17 issued resolution 5/90 calling for talks with the SLORC. Since the SLORC is not a party, it will not discuss political matters outside the framework of law. Parties are to file financial reports, which will be checked and "if any discrepancy or cheating is found, action will be taken against those concerned according to law." The SLORC "will constantly continue to firmly stand by the terms of Declaration 1/90."

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UNGA Address

Oct. 10 1990: U Ohn Gyaw delivered Myanmar's annual formal address to the United Nations General Assembly on Oct. 9 [full text published in WPD]. Highlights were:

"... On 27 May 1990, the first multi-party general elections in nearly three decades were successfully held...in response to the ardent desires...of the Myanmar people. This historic event constitutes the fulfilment of the solemn promise, made by the [SLORC].... The [SLORC] is now taking firm steps--systematically and step by step--towards the establishment of a stable and enduring democratic state .... The [SLORC] will hand over power in due course to a strong and stable government that is to be formed in accordance with a new constitution to be drafted. [Election tribunals hearing complaints discussed.] [The new constitution] must be based on a national consensus and must be acceptable to a majority of the Myanmar people as well as to the majority of the national races living in the Union. To that end the Myanmar authorities...plan to meet with the elected representatives of the Pyithu Hluttaw (National Assembly). A broadly-based national convention will be convened to discuss all factors that should be taken into account in drafting the new constitution. Its drafting will be the responsibility of the elected representatives. The [SLORC] and the Defence Services will do their utmost to assist them in this task. Until such time as a firm constitution established government comes into existence, the [SLORC] will continue to fulfil its national responsibilities...." (WPD 10/11)

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Oct. 19 1990: At the 106th State LORC Press Conference, spokesmen said:

Constitutional Plans

-- The National League for Democracy meeting No. 6/90, and a subsequent NLD meeting in Mandalay, both held since the last SLORC Press Conference of Oct. 6, called for: (1) convening a Pyithu Hluttaw session as soon as possible; (2) transfer of power "according to the temporary constitution they framed"; (3) drawing up a new constitution; (4) negotiations [with the SLORC]. This "amounts to saying that the party that won the majority of Hluttaw seats want to assume power according to the constitution they drew up and get the Hluttaw to draw up a new constitution." But the constitution concerns all 135 national races, the worker and peasant class, and others like soldiers and civil servants.

The Union National League for Democracy (UNLD) on Feb. 8 proposed a constitution with 8 states, each having full sovereigny, and a bicameral parliament. The NLD wants 7 states and 7 divisions. Others want Myanmar proper divided into three states, Upper, Central, and Lower. Thanmani Bo Khin Maung's `Da Nya Ta' is reported to have accepted the 1947 Constitution. Kayin insurgent Nga Mya and others in the jungle advocate small republics with their own governments and armies. Kyaikmaraw U Thwin, expatriate Tin Maung Win of the CRDB, and the ABSDF, back KNU Nga Mya's attitude. An article by Win Myint Maw broadcast on All India Radio called for a national seminar grouping political parties, student Thamaggas (unions), distinguished people from the past, personalities from social organizations, armed national races organizations, leftist and rightist armed elements, expatriates groups and intelligentsia, student Thamaggas and organizations abroad, and international observers. Thus, different groups have different views on the constitution.

"It has therefore become evident that emergence of a new constitution acceptable to the majority is a basic requirement." The 1947 and 1974 constitutions caused insurgencies. "Only after the emergence of a constitution acceptable to all will there be a transfer of power."

-- Parties must complete monetary requirements. "It will not do just to mention the expenses. There must be accurate accounts compiled as to where the money was obtained, how much was spent and how much remained. For example, there was money given to the National League for Democracy. [K200,000 from National Peace and Democracy Party Chairman U Darwood Jamari; K10,000 from the League of Patriotic Old Comrades; and K100,000 from U K Ba Thaung.] "We would like to ask [the Parties] whether they have kept systematic accounts in advance and how they would solve the legal problem in future if they have not kept accounts."

The SLORC warned the people connected with Nu's parallel government in advance "with cetana because the existence of a parallel government would affect the election.... It is also with cetana that we have reminded as regards accounts, because they may become problems one day." ... (WPD 10/20)

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November 1990

Nov. 2 1990: Speaking to South-West Command in Pathein, State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung spoke of

"... The demand `Transfer power quickly' was shouted from Mandalay Ma-Soe-Yein Kyaungtaik.... The front windshield of the [Mandalay Commander's] car was shattered by stones from the Kyaungtaik. The Commander had to pay K 10,000 for the damage caused to the car.... And so I instructed the Central Command Commander Maj-Gen Tun Kyi to do what had to be done....

"I cannot yet say how many were arrested.... We have already discovered earlier on that this matter is connected with top level personnel of a party. There have been instances when individuals of party organizations have had to be called in and questioned about connection with religious matters. Some also had to be interrogated for opposing our Declaration No 1/90. These matters are too complex and complicated. Saying too much will only make it more complicated. They did all sorts of things; they [the NLD--HCMacD.] did the Gandhi Declaration and they also did the 5/90 and the 6/90.... I want to reiterate that we will not tolerate any organization or individual if it is against us. Such things are called influences and interferences. More about this later....

“..."There are many political parties which support the Gandhi Hall declaration. If we are to take action in these matters as I see in legal terms, there will not remain a single party registered with the Election Commission. I will wait and see to what extent they will continue to tell lies. If I decide there will not be any parties left. But I fear that if I do so, there is the problem that I would be thought of as one wanting power. We as well as the Tatmadaw do not want our names to get smeared in history and therefore we are acting with care and restraint....

"... Where shall we go? Don't think too much. You will be confused. What I would like to say is that I will not do anything that is wrong.... The Constitution is to be drafted .... There is freedom to practise one's faith. I will not impose restrictions on your rights. But not in that way. There are countries I have been to. I have been to Germany. The kind of rights permitted in Hamburg in the north cannot be asked from us. We will not allow a person in our country to stand under a street-lamp with a cigarette at dusk and do this and that. I will not go into details because people will be confused. Otherwise people will not understand it. What I have said will be printed...." (WPD 11/4)

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Nov. 11 1990: Speaking to officials in Pyay, State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung said [excerpts]:

"What was this morning's demand? Lift Martial Law; transfer power to civilian government... I will go on with this process.... I do not care about such intimidations.... There is a code of conduct for the police. Follow it and act according to it. You must carry out our instructions .... We repeatedly say that it is not allowed to assemble five or more persons. They should not assemble with the intention of inciting unrest...." [But we say nothing about movie-goers, crowds at markets, religious meetings.]

"I will simply tell you what Martial Law is.... The PPF members also do not know it. The judges will not know it. The lawyers will not know it. This law is exercised only by the Army. Only the Army has the right to exercise it....

"In our Military Tactics there is no `dialogue'. Why? Because it is politics that must undertake `dialogue'. I have said that I will not do politics. I go in for `Military' .... There is no reason for me to have any dialogue with armed insurgent organizations....

"I have in detail about [the political parties].... I know who are included in the other organizations. I also know who were elected and who are included in the organization which say that it is the party that wins (the election) and that leads the State.... I know on a nation-wide scale. I have found many who have lied in giving their bio-data. How can I hand over into the hands of such persons?....

"The attitude of some towards the Tatmadaw.... They said this army must be reformed, that it must first be dissolved and reformed, that the head of this army must be cut off and the body must be taken. I have all the evidence. However, those parties are permitted to exist.... (WPD 11/12)

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Nov. 12 1990: State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung told Mann Oilfield workers at Minbu that [excerpts]:

"... Many of the parties have signed pledges that they will abide by Declaration 1/90 issued by us. I will tell you in connection with the National League for Democracy.... The Patriotic Old Comrades League which is an ally of that has also signed .... The National Democracy Party, which is an organization under it, has also signed.... The organization which is split into two factions [U Nu's Party--HCMacD] has also signed ...but not as a party.... The National Unity Party has, as far as I know, already signed it. Bo Aung Gyi the (UNDP) I mentioned yesterday, has already signed it. Then, what happened? They said, `Give us time-frame'.... This is a `demanding process'. Don't do that. Do what you have to do till you finish it....” (WPD 11/13)

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Nov. 13 1990: State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung spoke to officials at the Textile Mill, Meiktila [excerpts]:...

"When the persons and the organizations concerned come to know things and mend their ways, our nation will, in future, become a democratic state which the majority people desire and aspire for....

"I have no desire to take over power. But there is reason to ponder greatly in handing over power to those who will plunge the country over a precipice. In yesterday's journal published by Kaythara, it is mentioned that officers above the rank of colonels are to be removed. Isn't it so? And then it is to be formed at will. Those in the jungles will be recognized legally and will come to town. If the country is governed by such persons, what will happen to the country?...

"A meeting of the NLD and allied parties Hluttaw representatives said: "However, serious consideration is to be made regarding the army. A clever approach is to be made so that the motto `Decapitate the Tat; take the body only' may be materialized. Ha! How about this? We ...what a thing. Decapitate; take the body only.... Here is also Ko Yu's line. Ko Yu is now in custody ....

"I will tell you candidly. If the NLD forms a government, you will not become prime ministers or ministers. There are not even enough posts for all of them to divide among themselves. If UNDP wins and forms a government, you will not become ministers....

"I do things with zest and zeal .... I prepare for the defensive. When I prepare for this and they attack me, I counter it with great force.... And they will be crushed. Defensive-offensive. I am practising it. I defend myself under the right of self-defence. My defence later becomes an offensive. Without strength it will collapse and if that happens I will be in trouble. They ask for the multi-party system. We have signed Declaration 1/90....” (WPD 11/ 14)

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Nov. 14 1990: State LORC Chairman Senior General Saw Maung, speaking to officials in Toungoo, said [excerpts]:

"Do you want democracy? If you want democracy, then it will be like what I have mentioned just now.... I have become quite weary. They want things to become smooth without any efforts. If they continue to go this way, it is rather difficult for us. In reality the farmers rights are the workers rights.... What rights have you lost?... Just tell me and if possible I will fulfil them.... (WPD 11/15)

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Statement by U Kyaw Min, Alternate Chairman of the Delegation and Permanent Representative of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations in the Third Committee of the Forty-Fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item No. 110: Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Principle of Periodic and Genuine Elections,  14 November 1990


Mr. Chairman,


May I first of all express our sincere thanks and appreciation to Mr. Enayat Houshmand, Director, Implementation of International Instruments and Procedures Branch, Centre for Human Rights, for his comprehensive and useful introduction to the important agenda items under discussion.


Mr. Chairman,


Today, I would like to focus on Agenda item 110. A number of fundamental principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the principle enjoining States not to interfere in the internal affairs of other States enunciated in Article 2 paragraph 7 are directly relevant to the consideration of this item. These principles are universally known and recognized. I shall therefore not tire the committee by recapitulating them at any length. But I feel I must say this:

 

These principles strictly delimit the nature and scope of all our deliberations and actions. They define and determine what the United Nations can do and what it cannot and must not do. They have been re-affirmed and clarified in innumerable declarations and resolutions of the General Assembly, the last being resolution 44/147 of 15 December 1989, entitled, "Respect for the principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of States in their electoral processes".


Given the pertinence of this resolution to our present deliberations, allow me to refer to some of its operative paragraphs:


- Operative paragraph 2

Affirms that it is the sole concern of peoples to determine methods and to establish institutions regarding the electoral process, as well as the ways for its implementation according to constitutional and national legislation;


- Operative paragraph 3

Also affirms that any extraneous activities that attempt, directly or indirectly, to interfere in the free development of national electoral processes, in particular in the developing countries, or that intend to sway the results of such processes violate the spirit and letter of the principles established in the Charter and in the declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;


- Operative paragraph 4

Urges all States to respect the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of States and the sovereign right of peoples to determine their political, economic and social system;


- operative paragraph 5 Strongly appeals to all States to abstain from financing or providing, directly or indirectly, any other form of overt or covert support for political parties or groups and from taking actions to undermine the electoral processes in any country;


As the world stands at the threshold of a new and promising era, it is doubly important for all States to scrupulously respect the sanctity of these principles, both in letter and spirit and to strictly observe them in practice.


Mr. Chairman,


Having said this, may I now proceed to apprise the Committee of the on-going process of democratization in my country. In the recent past, the people of the Union of Myanmar have expressed their desire and their aspirations for a multi-party democratic system of government. Accordingly, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, which is the supreme organ of State power in
Myanmar, has abolished the single-party political system and is implementing a series of measures to fulfil the people's aspirations. The first of these measures was the holding of multi-party democratic elections in May of this year - the first such elections held in my country in nearly three decades. This historic event constitutes the fulfillment of the solemn promise made by the State Law and Order Restoration Council on the very first day of its assumption of national responsibilities. The elections were marked by high voter-turnout and have been universally accepted as genuinely free and fair - a view shared by all political parties competing in the elections as well as by the large contingent of the international press who observed the elections first hand. I wish to emphasize here, Mr. Chairman, that the remarkable success of the electoral process was the product of purposeful measures systematically taken in preparing the necessary ground work to enable the elections to be held in an orderly and peaceful manner. The preparatory process, which began in earnest with the announcement by the independent election commission in February 1989 of a detailed timetable has enabled elections to be held successfully without any violence. As the next essential step, the Government is now concentrating on laying firm foundations for the drafting of a new constitution.


Mr. Chairman,


In post independence
Myanmar we have had two constitutions, one drafted before independence in 1947, which provided for a parliamentary democracy, and the other adopted in 1974, which ushered in the single party state. Both these constitutions are now inoperative.


A strong and viable constitution is a sine qua non for a multi-party democratic system Thus the drafting of a new constitution, which will be our third, is the next indispensable step. To have a strong and enduring constitution, the drafting process must take fully into account views acceptable to all the national races as well as the majority of the people to achieve broad national consensus. I need hardly stress that the elaboration of the new instrument must be carried out meticulously, comprehensively and systematically. The bitter experience of the past impresses upon us the need to overcome shortcomings of the 1947 constitution which ultimately resulted in the termination of our first experiment with multi-party Democracy. That is why, Mr. Chairman, the convening of a broad-based national convention has been envisaged with purposeful determination taking fully into account our own political, economic and social realities. The drafting of this new constitution will be the responsibility of the elected representatives. The State Law and Order Restoration Council will do its utmost to assist them in this historic national task.

Until such time as a firm, constitutionally established government comes into existence, the State Law and Order Restoration Council will continue to fulfil its national responsibilities, namely: to prevent the disintegration of the Union; to ensure the non-disintegration of national solidarity and to ensure the perpetuity of our country's sovereignty.


Mr. Chairman,


My delegation is not unaware of the skepticism and doubts expressed in some quarters that the democratic process is progressing at a slow pace and that transfer of power has been deliberately delayed. Nothing can be further from the truth. In this connection I cannot over emphasize the fact that the State Law and Order Restoration Council has given firm assurances, time and again, that it will hand over power in due course to a strong and stable government formed in accordance with the new constitution. The State Law and Order Restoration Council is cognizant of its historic mission which is to save the country from chaos, to restore law and order and to create conditions conducive to the establishment of a strong and vibrant multi-party democratic system.

Who can deny that this national undertaking can be realized only in conditions where the rule of law and civil order prevail?

 

Mr. Chairman,


If I may digress a little from the main theme of my statement, I should here like to touch upon the question of restraint placed on certain individuals in my country which has been raised in some quarters. As we have clarified on numerous occasions, legal action has been taken against these persons not for their political views and activities but for infringement of the existing laws of the land. Every government has the primary responsibility of maintaining law and order. I might also add that the actions taken against the persons in question are the most lenient prescribed by our laws. The Myanmar Government has been also co-operating closely with the Commission on Human Rights, its subsidiary bodies and the Centre for Human Rights in
Geneva, providing information to them on the human rights situation in our country. In this connection, I wish to inform the Committee that we readily agreed to, indeed welcomed the visit to our country of Professor Sadako Ogata, an independent expert appointed by the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, in pursuance of the Commission's decision, to establish direct contact with the government of Myanmar. In keeping with this mandate she visited Myanmar from 3 to 11 November in the course of which she met and held discussions with Ministers and senior government officials concerned. She will be reporting to the 47th session of the Commission on Human Rights to be held early next year.


It is worth recalling, Mr. Chairman, that at the time when we were taking elaborate and systematic measures in preparing for the elections, there were those who urged us to speed up the preparatory process. It was even alleged that the elections might not be held at all and that if held, they would neither be free nor fair. Notwithstanding these misgivings and the tremendous pressures exerted upon us, we stood firm by our convictions which have now been fully vindicated. To those who advocate speedy course of action, we would simply like to reiterate that the Government of Myanmar is taking resolute measures - step by step - towards the establishment of a stable and enduring democratic state. The task of transforming a state from a single party to a multi-party system is a formidable undertaking, which needs careful preparation and elaborate groundwork. Additionally, there exists specific conditions and circumstances in
Myanmar. The task of transformation is made more complex and challenging by the fact that the Union of Myanmar is composed of a large number of national races, each with its own unique cultural background. Moreover, the insurgency in Myanmar, though much on the wane, is still a factor to be reckoned with. In these circumstances the task of building a democratic state cannot be carried out hastily for the sake of expediency and at the sacrifice of the long term interests of the nation.


Mr. Chairman,


It is a task to be pursued in a peaceful, systematic and orderly manner in observance of the true values of democracy. This can only be accomplished by the people of
Myanmar themselves. At this very critical juncture, no outside power should attempt to prescribe for Myanmar what is best for her or what form her political future should assume. Attempts to channel future events in Myanmar in directions of one's own liking and according to one's own perceptions, instances of which we have increasingly witnessed in Myanmar recently, do not only violate the fundamental principles of the Charter but would prove ultimately self-defeating.

 

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December 1990

Dec. 1 1990: Speaking in Pakkoku on Nov. 30, State LORC Secretary (1) Maj-Gen. Khin Nyunt said [excerpt]:

"[This is] one of the two towns,
Mandalay and Pakokku, which contribute most towards the propagation of Sasana.... Attempts are being made to undermine unity among the people and to upset the economy of the State through the interferences of internal traitors and those of certain big foreign countries in our internal affairs.... Political parties are to draft a Constitution, which is acceptable to all national races, through coordination among themselves.... The SLORC will take action against anybody who violates law...not because he or she is a political leader or a politician but because of his or her violation of law.... The dangers of BCP insurgents is like cancer. If it occurs it cannot be eradicated.... Just as the leftists organizations are doing things against us, the rightists organizations are threatening [Myanmar] through foreign broadcasting stations saying that [Myanmar] would be blocked economically and politically and they are making efforts so that [Myanmar] would be under their influence. There are those people who think highly of other countries and they are creating conditions which will lead to the fall of Myanmar to colonialists...." (WPD 12/2)

 

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 Dec. 7 1990: At a special 107th State LORC Press Conference, State LORC Secretary (1) Maj-Gen. Khin Nyunt said [excerpts]:

 

 

"This is a press conference held in order to make known to the people through the journalists how the insurgent organizations and political parties made their moves to seize State power."

-- In Sept.-Oct. 1990, plans were made to form an NLD temporary government in Thailand beginning Oct. 15. "The NLD's holding a meeting at Gandhi Hall and demanding holding of the Pyithu Hluttaw on 15 October 1990 at the latest strangely coincided with the taking of measures to form a temporary government outside the country."

 

-- "I shall continue to present... how the NLD employed various devices in its attempts to come to power. The authorities took into custody U Kyi Maung and U Chit Khaing of the NLD on 7 September 1990 on the strength of mounting evidence. When the authorities searched the NLD office and examined the documents on 23 October 1990, they found that meeting Chairman U Kyi Maung had formed at the 4/90 meeting of the NLD central body meeting committees to explore ways and means of action to be taken if the demands made in the Gandhi Hall declaration, particularly that the Hluttaw session be held during September were not met ...."

 

            -- Three NLD groups were formed. Group (1) (the "Hardline" group) comprised U Myo Aung, U Hla Pe, U Tin Aye, U Khin Maung Tun and U Soe Nyunt. Group (2) (the "soft line" group) comprised U Tin Win, U Min Wai, U Ohn Maung (Shan), U C. Vang Ciul (Chin). Group (3) (the "principled line" group) comprised U Ohn Myaing (Mandalay), U Tin Shwe (Monywa), U Thein Dan (Mandalay), U Tin Tun Lay (Ayeyarwady), U Chit Than (Kayin), Win Hlaing, Myint Soe and Moe Zaw Oo from the Lu-nge Baho (Youth Central). There was no Group (4) because the Japanese [sic] believe it an unlucky number. Group (5) comprised U Ye Htut (Mon), Thakin Soe Myint (Yangon), and U Hla Pe (Mawlamyinegyun).

 

            -- Four papers were prepared, by Groups 1, 2, 3, and the Youth Central people. "It was found that the paper compiled by the Youth Central contains facts aimed at opposing and attacking the Government. The papers compiled by the other groups contain ambiguous expressions which can only be interpreted as opposing the Government. Therefore, those who compiled these papers have been called in and are being interrogated."

 

            -- The Youth Central paper "includes such ways and means as launching a general strike movement, getting service personnel take part in the strike, destroying machineries at mills and factories and other critical things, like cutting off transportation and communication links all over the country. Also included...are ways and means such as `opposing and facing up the blockades and hindrances placed by the military government,' rushing headlong if the military government opens fire, taking one's own life in protest, kidnapping the authorities and members of their families, assassinating them, hijacking aircraft and destroying buildings by mines or bombs.'"

 

            -- The Youth Central paper called for convening a Hluttaw session on Sept. 30 or Oct. 15, either in an embassy compound or a monastery in Mandalay. The Pyithu Hluttaw meeting "was to immediately form a government" and get it recognized by organizations abroad and at home. "It assumes the nature of going along the path of violence." It also relied on aid from "the BBC, the VOA and the AIR, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and some ambassadors." 

 

            -- General Staff Officer (1) Major Than Tun then read out an extended description of the Youth Central paper, describing its main purposes as: (1) a general strike; (2) violence and terrorism; and (3) the calling of a Hluttaw session to form a government and get it recognized by the "UN and...the EEC nations, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Thailand, Singapore."

 

            -- Maj-Gen. Khin Nyunt continued.

 

"The plan which was drawn by the NLD is of great danger to the nation ...." Narrative of subversive activities by Youth Central member Myint Soe, establishing contacts with insurgents. "What I have presented shows that the youth central of the NLD is planning to use terrorist means if the transfer of power is not in a way they desired and they were planning to form a parallel government together with the insurgents and even to raise an armed insurrection."

 

            -- Some members of the NLD objected to the NLD CEC [Central Executive Committee] Declaration 5/90 that the NLD would lead in drafting a constitution and enter into a dialogue with the SLORC, claiming that the majority of NLD Hluttaw representatives were not consulted, and that Declaration 5/90 in effect repealed the Gandhi Hall Declaration calling for a Hluttaw session in September.

 

            -- Some NLD Hluttaw representatives from Mandalay wrote the CEC on Aug. 15 threatening to call a Hluttaw session on their own in October. A secret faction met on Sept. 29, comprising U Naing Naing (Pazundaung) [parenthetical designations are of Pyithu Hluttaw constituencies represented], U Hla Than (Cocos Is.), U Tin Maung Win (Kayan), Daw San San (Port), U Aung Khin Sint (Mingala Taungnyunt), Daw San San Win (Alon), U Kyaw Thwin (Kayan), U Mya Win (Ingapu-2), U Hla Tun (Kyimyindine), and U Maung Ko (member of Central Workers Affairs Work Committee). They decided to convene a Second Gandhi Hall conference, and sent out two groups to go to Mandalay.

 

            -- A group comprising U Hla Tun, U Hla Than, Daw San San, and Daw San San Win went to Mandalay Sept. 27; that comprising U Kyaw Thwin, U Mya Win, Dr. San Aung, and U Tha Saing went on Sept. 29. Dr. Soe Lin (Mandalay SW) made arrangments for them to meet Sept. 29-30 at the home of U Ba Phwa (Amarapura). About 28 Hluttaw representatives agreed to oppose Declaration 5/90.

 

            -- "While those responsible CEC members of the National League for Democracy were clarifying matters on 5/90 approved by the party, the other faction formed a separate group...and this led to making efforts to form a parallel government and to carry out activities against the Government...." Thus even in a party, some act correctly and others go against the law.

 

            -- The faction members who met at the home of U Ba Phwa decided to try to hold a Hluttaw meeting if there were over 280 representatives, and to form an interim government in Mandalay. The Hluttaw representatives would be protected by 3-5,000 monks and students. The first and second attempt by the SLORC to arrest the new Cabinet would be resisted; "on the third time it would let the cabinet be arrested peacefully."

 

            -- After the Amarapura meeting, a second secret meeting of Hluttaw representatives was held "in a building of a rice mill belonging to a doctor on the Mandalay-Maymyo motor coach road," attended by: U Bo Hla Tint (Mogok-2), U Win Ko (Ye-U-2), U Hla Tun (Kyimyindine), U Mya Win (Ingapu-2), and U Chit Tin (Minhla).

 

            -- This meeting arranged to "form a government in a jungle on border area...." U Aye Ko, U Bo Hla Tint, U Mya Win, and U Chit Tin are to maintain "connections with armed forces in the jungle and internal communications." 15-20 Hluttaw representatives are to meet in jungle, and "get support from the armed forces in the jungle for the temporary government." "To form that Provisional government at the insurgent camp and to get recognition of the diplomatic community does not include taking up the three executive powers of the State at once. It was just a step to pressure the SLORC to transfer power to the remaining Hluttaw representatives in the country. And in so doing, they intended to get support from the students, workers, the public and foreign countries...."

 

            -- "When that new government came into power U Sein Mya's group would recognize and support it. Mon insurgents headed by Nai Shwe Kyin would be loyal to NLD...."

 

            -- "Another plan was to take refuge in a foreign embassy and form a provisional government. They planned to convene a meeting of over 250 Hluttaw representatives at a certain place." NLD Hluttaw representatives would be asked to reject Declaration 5/90. They would then join with the "allied parties which was United Nationalities League for Democracy Party."

 

            -- U Hla Tun, relying on U Tin Maung Win and U Khin Maung Swe, was to make foreign contacts. At a clandestine meeting on Oct. 8, 1990, he clarified the details with U Maung Ko, who was to go to the jungle to form the parallel government.

 

            -- However, before they could act "the Tatmadaw systematically dealt with the strike of the Mandalay Lay-byin-lay-yet Sangha Samaggi" and frustrated their plans. "U Maung Ko...became an informer and revealed his plans, the plan to form a parallel government and plan to go underground. Only after revealing these, he could not control himself and committed suicide.

 

            -- "These are the attempts of the National League for Democracy to establish a government in the name of a provisional government, a government in exile or a government in the jungles without fail.... Acts within the NLD, therefore, posed a grave danger to the nation. So, we knew their schemes in time and took action, called them in and interrogated them but foreign radio stations are often spreading falsehoods that the SLORC Government is indiscriminately taking action and arresting NLD personnel...."

 

            -- "Are we not bringing about a change from the old one-party system and socialist democratic practices to a multi-party system and democratic practices? At this juncture, the Tatmadaw is laying down protects [sic] and implementing them in order that a smooth transformation might be brought about...." (WPD 12/9)

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1991

November 1991

STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY U OHN GYAW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION OF THE  UNION OF MYANMAR IN THE GENERAL DEBATE AT THE FORTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, NEW YORK, 4 OCTOBER 1991

Mr.  President,

Questions have been raised in some quarters about the perceived delay in the transfer of power. Some have even gone so far as to assert that the Myanmar Government has shown no sign of respecting the wishes of the people. Without prejudice to the firmly held position of my Government that the political process now under way in the country is a matter falling essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of my country - a principle clearly enshrined in the Charter - I would like to apprise this august Assembly of the facts:

- Two months after the successful holding of multiparty elections in May 1990 which were recognized by all as the most free and fair elections in the history of Myanmar, the State Law and Order Restoration Council on 27 July 1990 issued Declaration 1/90 setting forth a post-election programme. All political parties have agreed to abide by the programme;

- The Election Commission, which is an independent body,  has issued two progress reports this year in which it indicated that it was continuing with its task of concluding a final report in accordance with the Election Law and the Election Rules and that scrutiny of the financial returns of the candidates could not proceed at a more rapid rate due to the failure of candidates to maintain accounts systematically;

- In accordance with the Election Law,  a number of candidates have contested the results and tribunals have been  set up  to investigate the objections.  This due process of  law must be allowed to complete its course;

- Once the  Election Commission has submitted its final report,  the State Law and Order Restoration Council will meet with the elected representatives to discuss the holding of a national convention. The Convention will be entrusted with the task of working out a broad national consensus which will form the basis for framing a new constitution. In addition to the elected representatives, leaders of political parties,  leaders and representatives of all national races and respected veteran politicians will participate in the convention;

- On the basis of the national consensus arrived at the convention,  the elected representatives will draw up a new constitution.   The State Law and Order Restoration Council in the best traditions of the Myanmar Defence Services will make suggestions and render all necessary assistance for the successful drafting and adoption of an enduring constitution;

- The State Law and Order Restoration Council is above party politics. It is neither a political organization nor does it have any intention of forming one. It will continue to shoulder its responsibility to lead the nation till the time a strong government can be formed on the basis of the new constitution.

Undoubtedly, a strong and enduring constitution is a prerequisite for a strong and stable government, the more so in Myanmar because of its historical experiences. The first constitution, drawn up in 1947 while Myanmar was still under British colonial rule, had flaws and shortcomings. In the early 1960s a few politicians with secessionist ambitions attempted to take advantage of them. As a result the country was brought to the brink of disintegration in 1962 and the Defence Services were compelled to step in to save the country.

The second constitution was promulgated in 1974 during the time of the one-party socialist system. The entire people took part in the thorough and systematic process which lasted over two years. The final text was adopted in a nation-wide referendum on 3 January 1974 by an overwhelming vote of 90.19 per cent. Notwithstanding this the constitution was short-lived and was rendered inoperative in 1988 when in response to the aspirations of the people, the State Law and Order Restoration Council abolished the single-party system and introduced a multiparty democratic system.

In the light of these experiences, it goes without saying that the new constitution now being contemplated should be a living instrument that would reflect the hopes and aspirations of this generation as well as generations to come.

At this critical stage in the life of my country the constitutional process is an undertaking to be pursued in a peaceful, systematic and orderly manner. It is a task that can be best accomplished by the people of Myanmar themselves at a pace and in a manner best suited to the conditions of the country.

In conclusion I should like to state categorically that once the political process I have outlined is completed The State Law and Order Restoration Council will transfer the reins of the State to a strong and stable government formed in accordance with the new constitution.

Thank you, Mr. President.

[This document comprises the last two pages (11 and 12) of the Foreign Minister's statement - OBL editor]

[Source: scan of hard copy distributed by the Myanmar Mission]

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1992

April 1992

Apr. 24 1992: SLORC Declaration No. 11/92 of Apr. 24, Convening of the National Convention, reads [text]:

1. It is hereby declared that the [SLORC], depending on the general situation of the country, will presently carry out the following measures:

(a) Of the persons arrested and detained politically, those for whom there are no reasons to endanger the security of the State, will be released promptly;

(b) It accordance with the [SLORC] Declaration No 1/90, dated the 27th July, 1990, the [SLORC] will, in respect of the convening of the National Convention, meet and co-ordinate, within two months, with the leaders of the Hluttaw Representatives of political parties existing lawfully and individual Hluttaw Representatives;

(c) The [SLORC] will convene the National Convention within six months in order to lay down the basic principles for the drafting of a firm and stable Constitution, after meeting and co-ordinating as mentioned in sub-clause (b) above;

2. The [SLORC] will declare further future programmes in accordance with the basic principles laid down at the National Convention.

By Order, (Sd) Khin Nyunt.... (WPD 4/25)

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October 1992

STATEMENT [extract] BY HIS EXCELLENCY U OHN GYAW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR IN THE GENERAL DEBATE AT THE FORTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY  NEW YORK, 5 OCTOBER 1992

****************

Mr.  President,

This year has witnessed many significant developments in our country's march towards a multi-party democratic state. These developments attest to the integrity of the State Law and Order Restoration Council to uphold its assurances to fulfil its declared commitment to meet the aspirations of the people of Myanmar. In accordance with the programme of action spelled out in its Declaration 1/90 of 27 July 1990, the Government issued a follow-up declaration on 24 April 1992 which maps out the programme to be implemented in a specific time-frame in respect of the National Convention that will set out the basic principles for a new constitution. Our past and sometimes bitter experiences have shown that only a firm constitution can guarantee a strong government which will assure peace, tranquility and prosperity of the nation.

In accordance with the programme of implementation, a fifteen-member Steering Committee was established on 28 May 1992. The Steering Committee met with leaders of the elected representatives of political parties and with elected independent representative in June and July to discuss and co-ordinate on the category and number of delegates to be invited to the National Convention. Following free and frank exchange of views among the participants there was general agreement that elected representatives, representatives of the political parties, the national races, peasants, workers, the intelligentsia and technocrats, service personnel and specially invited persons are to be included in the National Convention. Terrorist groups which renounce the path of armed struggle and return to the legal fold will also have an opportunity to participate. There is complete convergence of views that the constitution to be drafted should uphold and safeguard the three main National Causes, namely:

Non-disintegration of the Union;

Non-disintegration of national solidarity; and

Perpetuation of national sovereignty.

With the successful conclusion of the Co-ordination Meeting, the country has crossed a threshold and an important political process has been set in motion. The National Convention is expected to be convened at the end of the year or by the beginning of the next year at the latest. To this end, a Commission has already been constituted and is now actively making necessary preparations for the holding of National Convention. Delegates representing a broad spectrum of the entire Myanmar population will identify and lay down basic principles for the drafting of a firm and stable constitution. The actual task of the drafting of the constitution will be entrusted to the elected representatives…”

[Source: scan of hard copy distributed by the Myanmar Mission]


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1993

October 1993

STATEMENT  BY  HIS EXCELLENCY U OHN GYAW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR IN THE GENERAL DEBATE AT THE FORTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, NEW YORK, 12 OCTOBER 1993


“...Mr.  President,

In Myanmar we believe that political progress and economic development are interdependent and that both are vital to the well-being of the country. For this reason we have been endeavouring to ensure political stability while promoting economic reforms.

Last year from this rostrum, I stated that steps were being taken to convene a National Convention in order to formulate guidelines for a firm and enduring constitution. I am now happy to report that the National Convention commenced work on January 9 of this year. The Convention is an essential prerequisite for the building of a democratic society in Myanmar and its significance can hardly be over­emphasized. It has the participation of nearly 700 delegates comprising elected representatives, representatives of the national races, political parties, peasants, workers, intelligentsia and technocrats, State service personnel, and specially invited persons. There is universal agreement that the objectives of the Convention should be:

-           to uphold the principles of non- disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and perpetuation of national sovereignty;

to nurture the universal values of justice, liberty and equality; and

-           to enable the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Defence Services) to participate in a leading role in the national politics of the country.

Following intensive deliberations, agreement has been reached on the chapter on the fundamental principles of the State which is of paramount importance as it embodies the essence of the new constitution. Following extensive discussions, consensus has also been reached on these Fundamental Principles. In a period of nine months, much has been accomplished. Much of course remains to be done. The Convention is presently in recess in order to provide time for the delegates to make necessary preparations for the next phase which will commence on 18 January 1994.

The delegates to the Convention have had the opportunity to study constitutions of various countries so that they may cull the best from around the world. However, there can be no single model that can be copied and superimposed on Myanmar. The Constitution to be drafted must be in harmony with our own conditions and must reflect the wishes and aspirations of the entire nation. The history of the modern Myanmar nation is synonymous with the history of the Tatmadaw. Since the time of our struggle for national independence it has been in the forefront of national politics. On four occasions since independence when the country's national sovereignty and independence was threatened, the Tatmadaw was called upon to shoulder national responsibilities to protect and safeguard the nation. The Tatmadaw does not covet power. Nor does it have any desire to hold on to the reins of power. It is above party politics. However, as it represents the single disciplined organization in the nation it is incumbent upon it to play a leading role in national politics, safeguarding the nation, the national unity and national sovereignty.

On the economic front efforts are being made to ensure a smooth transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. Now that teething pains have been overcome the economy is on the mend. It is significant that the GDP grew by 10.9 per cent in 1992-1993. The private sector, which only a few years ago was almost non-existent, is expanding. Today there is a growing number of investors — both local and foreign — in the fisheries, mining, oil exploration, manufacturing and in various other sectors. Major offshore oil and gas finds in our waters have also heightened interest among friends and neighbours in establishing mutually beneficial economic cooperation.

The political and economic change occurring in the country is evidenced by the vast transformations taking place in much of the country. In both urban and rural areas as well as in the border regions there is unprecedented infrastructure building: schools, hospitals, dispensaries as well as railways, roads, bridges and multi-purpose dams are going up everywhere. That the living standards of the people are rising is plain for all disinterested observers to see.

In spite of the positive political and economic changes taking place in Myanmar some continue to point an accusing finger at us in regard to human rights.

It bears to be repeated that when we speak of human rights our diversity in historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must neither be minimized nor forgotten. There is no unique model of implementation of human rights that can be superimposed on a given country. Any attempt to do so would only spell chaos. If parts of the international community are now beginning to contemplate the use of the issue of human rights as a pretext to intervene in domestic affairs of States...”

[Source: scan of hard copy distributed by the Myanmar Mission]

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1994


October 1994

STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY D OHN GYAW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR IN THE GENERAL DEBATE AT THE FORTY-NINTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY,  NEW YORK, 11 OCTOBER 1994


“…Mr. President,

At the initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Myanmar decided to establish a dialogue with the United Nations to exchange views on various issues of common concern. With your kind indulgence, I would like to briefly apprise the Assembly of the developments leading to this decision. During his visit to Myanmar in March this year, Under-Secretary-General Mr. Rafeeudin Ahmed, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) delivered a letter and verbal message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Secretary I of the State Law and Order Restoration Council. The Secretary-General, in his letter, expressed constructive remarks in regard to the measures taken by the Myanmar Government, and showed keen interest in the developments in Myanmar, particularly the process of national reconciliation and steps taken in drafting a firm Constitution through the National Convention. The Secretary-General also expressed his desire to establish a dialogue with the Government of the Union of Myanmar to exchange views on the various issues with a view to considering how the United Nations can assist in facilitating continued progress towards the resolution of these issues. Secretary I, while acknowledging, informed the Secretary-General to the effect that a communication would be made on this subject in the near future.

…..

”Mr. President,

At this juncture, let me turn to another aspect of the Government's political objective - the drafting of a firm and enduring constitution. Towards this end, a National Convention has been meeting since the beginning of last year to draft a new constitution. Consensus has already been reached on the 15 Chapter Headings on the 104 fundamental principles of the State as well as the Chapters on State, State Structure and the Head of State.

At the resumed session of the National Convention which commenced on 2 September 1994, the Chairman of the National Convention Convening Work Committee elucidated the points relative to the matter of self-administered divisions or self-administered zones in the Union, and of constituting the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary for detailed discussions and deliberations among the delegates. As to those who allege that the process is moving too slowly, let me ask: "Is not the world today full of examples where too much haste had led to chaos and confusion, even to armed conflict and disintegration of nations?" At the same time, let me assure you that the State Law and Order Restoration Council has no intention to unnecessarily prolong the process or to cause delays. However, a balance must be struck between the need to reach consensus among the nearly 700 delegates on very urgent and vital issues like the national races and the desire for the completion of the process in appropriate time. Anyone following these deliberations closely will realize that they give lucid lie to the allegations that the deliberations in the National Convention were orchestrated by the Government. At the same time, I wish to indicate to some observers that in our society reaching consensus among us is more important than debating who is right or wrong, or who won the debate. We would like the constitution to reflect as much as possible the wishes of the national races while at the same time we would be most happy if consensus on the remaining chapters could be reached as soon as possible. What the Government has done and is doing at the moment is to ensure peace, stability, law and order while striving for economic development of the entire nation so that the transition to democracy will be smooth and tranquil.

Mr. President,

Today, the National Convention is in full session for further discussions on the fundamental principles to be enshrined in the new Constitution. The very fact that the new State Structure will be a Pyidaungsu (Union) system is a manifestation of the consensus that has been reached by the Convention. The new Pyidaungsu Thamada Myanmar Naing Ngan-Daw (Union of Myanmar) that is envisaged by the National Convention will be a genuine multiparty democratic state in order to bring the nation to a modern, united, stable, peaceful and harmonious state. The new Constitution will have safeguards to guarantee non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and perpetuation of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

As in the case with other modern Constitutions, the three organs of government — the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, will be properly constituted and separated as much as possible and will be able to exert reciproca1 control with checks and balances amongst themselves. Among the fundamental principles already laid down, independent administration of justice in accordance with the law; administration of justice in public except where restricted by law; and the right of defence and the right of appeal will be guaranteed. Furthermore, there will be Constitutional remedies and the Pyidaungsu Taya Hluttaw (the Supreme Court) will have the powers to issue writs. Citizens will be able to enjoy the rule of law which is the fundamental legal safeguard necessary for a democratic state. Because of the separation of power envisaged in the new Constitution, the Judiciary will be the ultimate guardian of fundamental rights. Freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of belief, freedom of worship, freedom to seek a livelihood and freedom of organization will be guaranteed. There will be equality of status, equality in opportunity and equality before the law.


 Mr. President,

The entire Myanmar nation is presently engaged in our national endeavour to establish a truly democratic and modern society in accordance with the aspirations of our people. We, the people of the Union of Myanmar, are doing our utmost to advance the on-going political and constitutional process and the current programme of national economic development in the interest of all our national brethren. We have a popular saying in Myanmar:-

"As we sow in our deeds, so shall we surely reap in our future destiny."

We are therefore fully confident that, with our continued dedication, determination and diligence in our national endeavour, we will surely be able to successfully establish a democratic society, based on universal values of justice, liberty and equality.

I thank you, Mr President.”


[Source: scan of hard copy distributed by the
Myanmar Mission]

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December 1994

STATEMENT  BY U WIN  MRA PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE ALTERNATE CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION OF THE
UNION OF MYANMAR TO THE FORTY-NINTH SESSION OF  THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN THE THIRD COMMITTEE  ON DRAFT RESOLUTION A/C.3/49/L.43 "SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN MYANMAR NEW YORK,   DECEMBER 1994

Mr. Chairman,

Concern has been expressed in the present draft resolution that the National Convention has made no progress. It is regrettable that the concrete progress which the National Convention has virtually made so far is not accorded due recognition. The fact that consensus has been reached among the participants in the National Convention on the fifteen Chapter Headings on the 104 fundamental principles of the State as well as the Chapters on State, State Structure and the Head of State can only be considered as substantive from Myanmar's perspective and should not be readily and superfluously subsumed under the sweeping claims of no progress.

Myanmar fully understands the anxiety of certain quarters for a timetable for the National Convention. My delegation wishes to reiterate that the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) will not unnecessarily prolong the National Convention and will accomplish the task at an appropriate time. Taking into account the prevailing conditions in Myanmar and our past experience, we are making every attempt to achieve consensus on all vital issues of the State in order to avoid the shortcomings or loopholes in the new Constitution. It is primarily due to this fervent desire to complete the political process through consensus that a specific timetable has not been fixed.

[Source: scan of hard copy distributed by the Myanmar Mission]

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1995

 

October 1995

 

STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY U OHN GYAW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR IN THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE FIFTIETH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, (New York, 3 October 1995)

“… Mr. President,

 

Allow me to focus briefly on some of the main issues on our national agenda:


First is the issue of ensuring the stability of the State. National reconsolidation is an indispensable component of my Government's policy to achieve peace and tranquillity. A national convention has been convened to draft a new constitution which would be a harmony with present-day realities and reflect the aspirations of the entire nation….” 

[Source: scan of hard copy distributed by the Myanmar Mission]



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November 1995

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR U PE THEIN TIN REPRESENTATIVE OP THE UNION OF MYANMAR ON AGENDA ITEM 112 (c) HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATIONS AND REPORTS OP SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS AND REPRESENTATIVES THIRD COMMITTEE 50TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 30 NOVEMBER 1995



Mr. Chairman,

The National Convention is currently in session in Yangon. Despite the attempts by one political party to disrupt this process, the National Convention is continuing, uninterrupted , and is carrying forward the momentum in its work on the draft state constitution. It plays a pivotal role in the political life of the Union of Myanmar,  as a new state constitution can and will emerge only after the successful conclusion of the Convention.

[Source: scan of hard copy distributed by the Myanmar Mission]


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December 1995

STATEMENT BY U WIN MRA PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE ALTERNATE CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEAGATION OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR IN THE THIRD COMMITTEE OF THE FIFTIETH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON DRAFT RESOLUTION A/C.3/50/L52 "Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar" New York, 11 December 1995

Mr. Chairman,

....There is a reference in the draft to the recent developments in the composition of the National Convention. In this regard, my delegation would like to inform the Committee that these developments are the result of a premeditated and unilateral action of one political party to mar the success achieved so far by the National Convention….

Mr. Chairman,

Reference to the need for a substantive dialogue in the draft resolution is irrelevant in the light of the on-going National Convention process. The widest representative character of this process is evidenced by the participation of 8 categories of delegates including the representatives of the national races. Furthermore, representatives of the 15 armed groups which have returned to the legal fold have been accorded the opportunity to participate in this political process, and there has never ever been such a widely-representative political process in the post-independence history of Myanmar and the National Convention is the only means best suited to the present-day realities and the aspirations of the entire nation. Myanmar is now in the process of national reconsolidation. With the momentum and achievement already gained by the National Convention at present, demands for a dialogue under these circumstances are unwarranted, and not in consonance with the reality. I want to stress here that the National Convention will continue according to its original arrangements and on the basis of the achievements obtained so far.

 

[Source: scan of hard copy distributed by the Myanmar Mission]

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1996

September 1996

STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY U OHN GYAW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR IN THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE FIFTY-FIRST SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, (New York, 27 September, 1995)

 

“…We in Myanmar are aware that the best hope for a brighter future lies in our national races joining together to ensure the stability of the state, community peace and tranquillity. To this end a national convention is being held to adopt guidelines for a new state constitution in accordance with which a peaceful, modern and developed nation will be built…”

 

 [Source: UN]

 

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November 1996

INTERVENTION BY AMBASSADOR U PE THEIN TIN THE REPRESENTATIVE OF MYANMAR ON THE OCCASION OF THE SUBMISSION OF ORAL PRESENTATION BY THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN MYANMAR  15 NOVEMBER 1996 NEW YORK

Madame Chair,

There are times in the life of countries when firm measures have to be taken to ensure the survival of the nation. September 1988 was such a time in
Myanmar. There was a state of emergency and the Tatmadaw (the Defence Services) was compelled to assume all legislative, executive and judicial powers. From the beginning it was never the intention of the Tatmadaw to hold on to the reins of state for all time. Indeed, since the assumption of state responsibilities, the State Law and Order Restoration Council has taken systematic steps to lay the foundations for a modem democratic state. As a Constitution is a sine qua non for the establishment of a multi-party democratic system, a national convention is in progress to achieve an instrument that reflects the aspirations of all the nationalities that make up our Union. What should be borne in mind is that Myanmar is home to 135 national races. A balance must be struck to reach consensus among the nearly 700 delegates in the Convention on such vital issues as self-administration and the desire for speedy completion. Here I wish to reiterate that Myanmar government's priority is national reconsolidation and the eradication of insurgencies. It is imperative for the Tatmadaw to continue to stay at the helm of the State until a new constitution is adopted. Do we need to be reminded of what befalls countries when ethnic strife and rivalries replace orderly change and transformations?

 [Source: scan of hard copy distributed by the
Myanmar Mission]

 

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1997

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1998

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1999

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2000

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2001

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2002


September 2002

STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY U WIN AUNG MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION AT THE 57TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS NEW YORK,  19 SEPTEMBER 2002

Mr. President,

Because of historical legacies, we still find ourselves having to address the issue of national unity. We are building a nation where all our 135 national races can regard one another as brothers - a nation where there is equality and justice - a nation that will bring prosperity to all. These are the ideals that motivate us. These are the goals that we are determined to achieve.

It is the goal of our government to bring to reality the aspirations of the people of
Myanmar for a multi-party democratic political system. To this end, we are laying firm foundations so that this democratic system will have the strength to withstand any challenges that emerge.

We are firmly convinced that only through these strong foundations can we ensure a bright future for our nation. This is a conviction born of our bitter experiences - experiences of (14) years under parliamentary democracy and (26) years of socialism.

In this nation building process we place special importance on poverty eradication, particularly in rural and far flung areas. In the border areas where most of our ethnic nationalities reside, we are implementing a programme of all round development. We have established (24) development zones towards this end. May I reiterate that relentless efforts for the nation building process are motivated by our desire to bring prosperity to all our national brethren. We are laying the groundwork so that successive governments, which will emerge under the new constitution, will not have difficulty in overcoming future challenges. It is a task that we are endeavouring with might and main. Understanding, cooperation and encouragement by the international community will hasten this process towards achieving our cherished goal. Ostracizing and exerting political pressures will surely not help but rather hinder the path to our cherished goal of democracy. However numerous the obstacles are, whether we are helped or hindered, we remain resolute in our determination. For the goal we seek is in fulfillment of the aspirations of our people. It is our noble destiny. (Source: scan of hard copy of the statement)


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2003

August 2003

30 August 2003

The 7-Point Roadmap

“… 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
       constitution.
(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…”

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September 2003


STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY U WIN AUNG, MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR AT THE FIFTY-EIGHT GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS NEW YORK, 29 SEPTEMBER 2003

“…Mr. President,

I would now like to turn to recent political developments in my country.

Some have accused us of deliberately creating a political impasse in order to delay the transfer of power.

If one takes a close and objective look at the situation in the country, one will see that what needs to be done to effect a smooth transition to democracy is first and foremost to have the political will.

Let me assure you that we have the political will. We are firmly committed to bringing about a systematic transformation to democracy.

In the past, successive governments in Myanmar failed in their attempts to build a multiparty democratic system because they were unable to overcome the fundamental issues facing the nation -- the issue of peace and stability, the issue of national unity among all national races which number more than one hundred, the issue of economic development and the issue of human resources development. Attempts were made without first solving these fundamental problems. The country drifted and the people suffered.

The present Government, aware that fundamental issues must first be addressed, adopted a different approach. It laid down four political objectives:
- Establish peace and stability in the whole nation and ensure prevalence of law and order;
- Consolidate unity among all national races;
- Strive for a durable constitution; and
- Build a modern and democratic nation in keeping with the new constitution.

At the outset, an olive branch was extended to the armed groups that had been fighting the government for decades. Following successful negotiations these groups returned to the legal fold. National unity was achieved. Peace now reigns in the entire country, providing an opportunity for long neglected border areas to develop quickly. The gap between urban and rural areas has been narrowed. At the same time we have taken developmental initiatives to promote a better life for our peoples. We have worked tirelessly to provide better health care, education and housing for all our peoples.

We have had to rebuild the country from scratch.

Those who come to Myanmar will be able to observe first hand the immense transformations taking place in the country. As the adage goes, "Seeing is believing."

Today our people can look forward to the future with confidence and renewed hope. Now that firm foundations have been laid, we have moved on to the next phase to commence work on the drafting of a new constitution and to build a modern democratic nation in keeping with it.

The new Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt, who was appointed on 25 August 2003 outlined a road map for the transition to democracy. The seven-step programme includes:

- Reconvening of the National Convention that has been adjourned since 1996;
- 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;
- Drafting of a new constitution in accordance with basic principles and detailed
basic principles laid down by the National Convention;
- Adoption of the constitution through national referendum;
- Holding of free and fair elections for Pyithu Hluttaws (Legislative bodies)
according to the new constitution;
- Convening of Hluttaws attended by Hluttaw members in accordance with the new constitution; and
- 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
.

All strata of the population in the country have adopted a unified approach and supported the road map.

Mr. President,

In recent weeks, Myanmar has taken substantial steps on the road to democracy. It is important that the international community recognize the positive changes. Credit must be given where credit is due.

Myanmar is working to ensure an environment in which we can achieve our objectives. The people of Myanmar are enthusiastic about consolidating the progress achieved so far.

At the same time we seek to maintain good and friendly relations with all countries in the region and the world so that we can thrive and prosper. We have never posed a security threat to any neighbour and have always sought to promote regional peace and stability and the common weal of all our nations.

It is disconcerting that some countries have chosen to turn a blind eye to the reality and have subjected Myanmar to a wide array of unfair economic sanctions for their political ends. These unilateral coercive measures not only go against the spirit and letter of the Charter of the United Nations but also violate international law and rules of the international trade. They are intrinsically unfair and only add to the hardships of the people already marginalized by globalization.

Countries that place a high premium on democracy and human rights have a responsibility to live up to the noble ideals in relation with others. Our common aspirations for peace and development can only be fulfilled if nations avoid double standards and adopt a more positive attitude.

Mr. President,

We live in challenging and dangerous times. Conflicts and tensions in various parts of the world threaten global peace and security. Transnational crimes and new forms of terrorism also add to our problems.

Yet it is in our power to make the world a better place.

Here, it is pertinent to recall what I stated last year in these hallowed chambers. If we want to ensure a better future for mankind we must heed the teachings of the great religions of the world. Every religion calls for tolerance, understanding and compassion for fellow human beings. Only when we can overcome anger and hatred and do away with false pride and prejudice will we succeed in establishing a world in which peace and justice prevail.

All conflicts, rivalries and hostilities have their roots in hatred and enmity. We must try to overcome them. We should all try to build a global order, where the strong will not impose their will on the weak, where democracy prevails not only within nations but also in the international arena. Let us work together, as a family of nations, to overcome the serious common challenges we face.

Thank you.”  (Source: UN)

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2004