Daily News-September 16 - 2001- Sunday

  • Home minister blames departments for security problems
  • ADB urged to push for long-delayed border plans
  • Anti-drug coordination meeting held with India
  • A japanese ore ship sinks off Brazil,many Myanmars still missing
  • 7 suspected Burmese illegal workers shot dead after entering Thailand
  • Status quo in tension areas
  • NLD vows to push for democratic parliament

  • Home minister blames departments for security problems

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 15, 2001

    Burma's home minister has said instances of internal instability show that departments under his ministry have failed to perform adequately. During a ministry coordination meeting the minister said he was particularly unhappy with the General Administration Department. He instructed the department to modernize its procedures in order to be able "to sustain the prevailing internal stability". The following is the text of a report by Burmese opposition radio on 13 September

    At the first four-monthly coordination meeting of the Home Ministry held recently SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] Home Minister Col Tin Hlaing told the state and division General Administration Department[GAD] officials that of all the departments under the Home Ministry he is not pleased with the GAD. He said: of all the departments under the HomeMinistry - Myanmar [Burma] Police Force [MPF], Prisons Department,Bureau of Special Investigation [BSI], and GAD, I feel the growth of the GAD is slow and I am not satisfied with the GAD. All the directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, and staff officers should have goodwill and work effectively. If you carry on with century old procedures you will not improve and your outlook needs to be changed. If a department cannot implement the use of computers then nothing could be done and it will be unable to compete with other departments.

    Col Tin Hlaing also warned about steps to bolster internal stability. He said: it is important for the state and division GAD officials to sustain the prevailing internal stability. Everyone should be aware about the internal security and stability situation of the country. In February and March,religious and social unrest occurred in Akyab, Rangoon, Mandalay, Kale, and Toungoo. Fighting broke out among the monks in Kale and Mandalay.

    The Race and Religion Protection [Ah Myo Bar Thar Saung Shauk Ye] monk group emerged in Mandalay after news of the Taleban destroying the Buddha statues in Afghanistan appeared in the newspapers. In Toungoo, Section-144 on unlawful gathering had to be declared. This proves that authorities were unable to prevent them in time. Although there are various levels of monk associations, the Religious Department seemed to be ineffective while security personnel could not efficiently implement riot control measures. They could not even put up a barbedwire fence. The nation's leaders themselves had to go and solve the problem. We should always take preventive measures as problems do arise. Riot control groups should be systematically formed. These problems are usually created by big and powerful nations and the GAD and the MPF should give priority and take preventive measures.

    The SPDC home minister said: financial instability and gambling could also bring down governments. Entrepreneurs and businessmen would mortgage land, house, and valuable articles at private banks; they would sell their gold and dollars at a high price, and use the Burmese currency to gamble thus causing the financial markets to plunge into turmoil. The caretaker government took over in 1958 because the Phyu Saw Hti, the lackeys of a political party, were engaged in gambling for personal gains under the guise of employee welfare. If gambling is used for personal gains not only will the government topple but the country will also be destroyed. Nowadays, it has been learned that some people from Taiwan and Hong Kong, after donating cash about 4-5m kyat for religious, economic, and social causes, have been operating illicit gambling dens. That is why responsible GAD officials should not allow gambling operation sponsored by local authorities and if they could not prevent such activities they should report this to the ministry.

    Home Minister Col Tin Hlaing also mentioned about preventing and educating those who illegally go to work in neighbouring countries. He said: effective measurers should be taken against those who sell the young girls from our country to the other side and those who illegally go there to work.Over seven million jobs were created in the country during the past decade but due to enticement by brokers many still go to work illegally. GAD officials, aware of the matter, should educate those at the border regions and boost their spirit psychologically by pointing out that it is better to stay home with family and earn 10,000 kyat rather than go to the other country, serve other masters, and earn 100,000 kyat.

    Rice and oil prices should be stable and if these basic commodity prices are not stable then there could be no political stability. He said: in the coming monsoon season paddy cultivating acreage could be lessen and reliance on natural fertilizers will increase due to shortage and import difficulty of chemical fertilizers. Furthermore, the fertilizer price discrepancy between the government and private enterprises could initiate corruption. In addition, the lessen cultivation acreage and fertilizer difficulty could affect paddy output. The ramification will be higher paddy prices leading to political instability. GAD officials should be aware that paddy cultivation could not become a political tool. That is why officials concern, viewing paddy as a political crop, should closely supervise paddy cultivation. When milling peanut oil became expensive palm oil prices increased and action has to be taken against many by the BSI for hoarding and black-marketing. Rising palm oil prices has also caused peanut oil price to rise. As the government is importing less palm oil, substitute crops like sesame, sunflower, and mustard will have to be increased to meet the demand.While trying to reduce cooking oil price on one hand the people should be informed about the unhealthiness of oil and urged to reduce usage on the other as Burma is one of the high oil consumption nations.

    Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 13 Sep 01
    ADB urged to push for long-delayed border plans

    By Supamart Kasem
    source : The Bangkokpost

    Local administrative bodies called on the Asia Development Bank to push for long-delayed border development projects which might solve the problem of illegal Burmese labourers.The call was made during a visit early last week in Mae Sot of an ADB delegation and people from the National Economic and Social Development Board.

    ADB's Graham Jackson and Koichi Tamaki met people from the local administrative organisations, trade, tourism and industry sectors to discuss support for economic development in the area.

    Therdkiat Chinsoranant, Mae Sot mayor, said projects along the Burmese border were part of a strategic development plan for the North and a plan to link Thailand with Vietnam, Laos and Burma.

    Included was development of the Mae Sot-Myawaddy-Kawkareik-Pa-an-Rangoon route, which is about 420 kilometres long. It takes at least 15 hours to travel the single-lane, 3m-wide route. Also proposed is development of Mae Sot as a twin town of Burma's Myawaddy.

    ``However, there is not much progress. ``The plan is stuck with the Industry Ministry. So the ADB should push the project,'' he said. Mr Therdkiat said people on both sides of the border would benefit from the schemes, should they get the green light.

    Currently, about 50,000 Burmese nationals live secretly in municipal areas and exploit resources at the expense of local authorities. ``If the projects were under way, a large number of jobs would be created.``It would encourage Burmese people to stay in their own country,'' he said.

    Suchart Triratwattana, vice-president of Tak's Chamber of Commerce, said the private sector would transfer investments to Burma if the schemes materialised.The investments would create tens of thousands of jobs for the Burmese, which would help solve illegal labour problems, he said.

    Mr Jackson backed the schemes, but said it was up to the Thai government to make a move. He said there were certain problems in Burma which limited the ADB's support, such as human rights violations and narcotics problems.
    Anti-drug coordination meeting held with India

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 15, 2001
    Text of report by Burmese radio on 14 September

    A Myanmar [Burma]-India joint coordination meeting on transnational crime involving narcotic drugs was held at the Kalemyo Township Peace and Development Council Office at 0800 on 11 September.

    The Myanmar side was led by Police Col Tin Maung Htwe, director of Drug Eradication Department and Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control, and included 16 members. The Indian side was led by Nagaland police commissioner [name indistinct] and eight members.

    At the meeting, they held discussions on measures to control narcotic drugs along the Burma-India border, the establishment of liaison offices, and on holding monthly information exchange meetings.

    Source: Radio Myanmar, Rangoon, in Burmese 1330 gmt 14 Sep 01
    A japanese ore ship sinks off Brazil,many Myanmars still missing

    The Japan Times

    RIO DE JANEIRO (Kyodo) A Panamanian-flagged ore carrier en route to Tokyo and owned by Japanese shipping firm Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. sank Thursday in the Atlantic, 2,000 km off Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian port authorities said Friday.

    Two ships that were nearby have rescued 13 crew members from the Kamikawa Maru, but 10 men are still missing. The nationality of the 10 men is not known. The crew was made up of four South Koreans and 19 Myanmar nationals.

    The 141,170-ton vessel sank early Thursday after seawater flooded the hold after one of its hatches broke open in a storm, authorities said.

    The Kamikawa Maru, which was carrying 140,000 tons of iron ore, left the island of Guaiba, 100 km west of Rio de Janeiro, on Sept. 7.

    A Brazilian Air Force rescue aircraft arrived at the site four hours after the ship had gone down, but the survivors had already been rescued.
    7 suspected Burmese illegal workers shot dead after entering Thailand

    MAE SOT, Sept. 15, Kyodo - Seven Burmese citizens were killed Friday near Thailand's border with Burma after apparently entering Thailand to work illegally, a Thai military source said Saturday.

    The victims were shot by an unidentified armed group in a jungle area of Tak Province, some 600 kilometers north of Bangkok, the source said.

    Hundreds of Burmese citizens are believed to illegally enter Thailand every day across two countries' long and porous border.The influx of the foreign workers became more intense after the Thai government last month decided to allow employers to register their alien workers and extended the working period for them another year.There are more than one million alien workers in Thailand.
    Status quo in tension areas

    Bangkok Post, Saturday 15 September 2001
    Wassana Nanuam

    Thailand and Burma have agreed to keep their troops in disputed areas on Doi Lang in Chiang Mai and Kuteng Nayong in Chiang Rai at the current level.

    A military source said it was agreed at the recent 19th Regional Border Committee meeting in Pattaya that there would be neither reinforcement nor moving of Thai and Burmese soldiers at Doi Lang in Mae Ai district and Kuteng Nayong in Mae Sai district.The Township Border Committee will, from now on, meet monthly.The 20th RBC meeting will be held in Moulmein in March.

    According to the Joint Operation Command, the BP1 temporary border checkpoint at Kiew Pha Wok in Mae Ai has been closed on the order of Burmese authorities wanting to clear problems with Shan State Army rebels.

    Thailand and Burma will also exchange information on drug production bases and smuggling routes in their countries as part of their fight against methamphetamines.

    Meanwhile, Internal Security Operations Command spokesman Col Burapa Tahwichai said 89.6 million methamphetamine pills, 461.6 kilogrammes of heroin and 52,000 ecstasy pills were seized by the Third Army and the Isoc Region 3 during October 2000-August 2001.

    A total of 179,251 migrant workers from neighbouring countries were arrested for illegal entry during the same period. Of these, 17,592 were arrested last month.
    NLD vows to push for democratic parliament

    YANGON, Sept 16 (AFP) - Leaders of Myanmar's democratic opposition, which was denied power a decade ago after winning a landslide election victory, Sunday vowed to continue pushing for a new parliament to be convened.

    The declaration was made at a discreet ceremony held at the headquarters of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), marking the third anniversary of the founding of a body to press the junta over the issue.

    The Committee Representing the Peoples Parliament (CRPP) was created when calls for parliament to be established fell on deaf ears within the ruling military regime.

    NLD vice chairman Tin Oo said the CRPP had been given a mandate from the majority of elected NLD MPs as well as ethnic-based pro-democracy parties to represent them in the absence of a parliament.

    "We shall continue to work until parliament is convened according to the wishes of the people," he said in a message read on behalf of CRPP chairman Aung Shwe who was unable to attend the gathering due to ill health.

    Aung Shwe's message also said that over the past three years, better understanding and goodwill had been forged between the NLD and the other pro-democracy parties.

    "Now that the political climate has improved, we will be able to work in a better environment to achieve our goal," he told some 200 people, including representatives of five ethnic parties, who attended the one-hour ceremony at NLD headquarters in downtown Yangon.

    Aung Shwe and Tin Oo were both released from house arrest late last month, as some of nearly 200 opposition figures freed since Aung San Suu Kyi began landmark talks with the ruling generals last October.

    The junta has been upbeat about the progress of the secret talks, but observers say it has failed to proceed past the initial "confidence-building" stage designed to build up trust between the sworn enemies.And they caution that any transition to democracy in Myanmar, which has been under military rule for four decades, will be a year-long process involving fresh elections and the drafting of a new constitution.Western governments maintain a position of "cautious optimism", saying they want to see concrete results before they considering lifting the heavy sanctions load against Myanmar.

    However, the NLD and other opposition parties have welcomed signs of a political thaw in Myanmar, particularly after the junta began releasing dissidents and allowed NLD branch offices around the country to reopen.