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Deputy minister said to have been d

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
August 17, 2000

Deputy minister said to have been dismissed for criticizing policy

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 14 Aug 00

Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 14th August

DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned that Brig-Gen Zaw Tun,
deputy minister of national planning and economic development, was
dismissed from his post on 9th August. An officer from the
military intelligence delivered a retirement letter to Brig-Gen Zaw Tun
and told him: General, please take your retirement.

At the 7th July discussion meeting with businessmen, Brig-Gen Zaw Tun
criticized the existing economic policies and admitted the shortcomings.
Details of his discussions were leaked to the outside and DVB also received
a report on the discussions. Subsequently, Brig- Gen Zaw Tun was dismissed
from his post.

Brig-Gen Zaw Tun cheerfully told the military intelligence officer who 
the retirement letter: I am prepared to resign and had expected this. I 
spoke the
truth and spoke constructively. According to his close associates, he gathered
his personal effects and bade farewell to the departmental personnel with a
parting shot: I am the poorest among the generals.

In his 7th July discussion with the businessmen, he openly spoke about the
exaggerated growth indicators of the country and the collusion between some
entrepreneurs and Defence Ministry personnel to monopolize the market.
It was learned that Brig-Gen Zaw Tun was summoned and interrogated by
the military intelligence after the discussion meeting.

According to information received by DVB, Brig-Gen Zaw Tun has the reputation
of being frank in his meetings with Sr Gen Than Shwe and Gen Maung Aye.
In his 7th July speech he recounted his description of the television news to
Sr Gen Than Shwe. He said Sr Gen Than Shwe told him that although the
television daily shows the work being done by the country's leaders the 
public really do not know about it. He jovially recalled how he told the 
general: Frankly, the people switch off their television when the news comes
and switch back only when the Chinese movies come. Senior general, you
must be the only one watching the news.

Dr Sein Win, prime minister of the National Coalition Government of the Union
of Burma [government-in-exile] commented to the DVB on the frank
assessment of the country's economic situation by Brig-Gen Zaw Tun:

[Sein Win] We welcome his realistic assessment of the problem as
a member of the military and as a public servant. Everyone should welcome
such comments. He expressed his frustrations as others had expressed
their frustrations. However, it will be very sad if the rulers - the leaders
- turn a blind and do not change and continue with their ways.

In my view the country needs such persons who dare to speak the
truth with courage without considering their own interests. [End of recording]

Brig-Gen Zaw Tun, who openly criticized the economic policies of the current
government and admitted the shortcomings during his 7th July discussion
meeting with the businessmen, was dismissed on 9th August. Foreign
journalists contacted Lt-Col Hla Min, SPDC [State Peace and Development
Council] spokesman, to comment on the matters, but they did not get any