Daily News- September 14- 2002- Saturday

  • Burma makes minor cabinet changes
  • Suu Kyi Meets Prisoners’ Families
  • Myanmar strives for Industrial advancement
  • 80 Soldiers in Burma coup attempt get 15 years

  • Burma makes minor cabinet changes

    Source : MSNBC / Reuters

    Rangoon, Sept. 14 Burma's military government announced on Saturday minor cabinet changes involving five senior officials in charge of economic and cultural portfolios.

    The cabinet changes, announced through state-run media and signed by Khin Nyunt, Secretary One of the ruling State Peace and Development Council, said Major General Saw Lwin, minister of hotels and tourism, and Major General Tin Ngwe, minister of the Prime Minister's Office, were retired from government service.

    The announcement said Saw Lwin was replaced by Brigadier General Thein Zaw, who is concurrently minister of communications, post and telegraphs.

    It said Major General Kyi Aung, information minister, switched to a new job as minister of culture and declaration, and his vacated position was filled by Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan, deputy commerce minister.

    No reasons were given for the reshuffle.

    Political observers in Rangoon said there may be further cabinet changes involving major ministries later this month.

    To The Top

    Suu Kyi Meets Prisoners’ Families

    Source : Irrawaddy Magazine

    September 13, 2002Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with family members of political prisoners yesterday afternoon at her National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Rangoon, according to the relative of two political prisoners.

    "She gave encouraging words to us and said that she has never forgotten Burma’s political prisoners. She also said that if we ever have any problems or need any help we can talk to her anytime," she told The Irrawaddy. Her husband is currently serving a seven-year sentence for expressing his anti-government stance.

    Over fifty relatives of political prisoners met with Suu Kyi yesterday, including the family members of some prisoners from her political party, the NLD. The discussions reportedly centered on basic economic survival, a major difficulty for families whose primary income earners are behind bars. "Some of the families said that they are in desperate financial need," she said.

    Ko Tate, the Secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) (AAPPB) said: "We are really happy with the support she has shown to political prisoners. We also hope that she can do more and request that she meets with more of their families."

    In 1995, the NLD established the Social Supporting Committee (SSC) which assists prisoners in many parts of the country by providing them with materials such as soap, eating utensils, prison uniforms, and towels.

    In 1996, the SSC was temporarily suspended by the military regime but resumed its activities last year. NLD Vice Chairman U Tin Oo chairs the SSC and NLD party member U Ohn Myint is SSC vice-chairperson.

    Last month, Suu Kyi expressed her concern for political prisoners in a videotaped message smuggled from Burma: "The release of political prisoners is important because it means a return to political normalcy. Unless political organizations are free to go about their work unhindered and unintimidated by the authorities, we can never say that we have started the process towards changed democracy."

    To The Top

    Myanmar strives for Industrial advancement

    Source : Xinhua News Agency

    Rangoon, Sept. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar has been working hard for the systematic advancement of its industrial sector by harmoniously developing the state, cooperative and private sectorsin this regard.

    The government, in addition to its own state sector, has rendered assistance for the progress of the cooperative and the private sectors in the development of heavy, medium and small industries.

    Since 1995, Myanmar has established 18 industrial zones in ninestates and divisions, including six in Yangon, for the developmentof the private sector where a total of 4,496 factories and plants including heavy industry, medium-sized and small ones have gone into production there.

    These industrial zones are producing agricultural machinery, import-substitutes, consumers goods and foodstuff.

    To promote industrial development and to gradually transform anagricultural country into an agro-based industrial one, Myanmar formed the Industrial Development Central Committee in May 1999 and laid down a 30-year long-term industrial development plan from2001-02 to 2030-31.

    According to official statistics, there was a total of more than 57,000 industrial businesses in Myanmar as of 2000-01, an increase of over 15,000 from 1988-89.

    The increase of the number of factories has offered more job opportunities in the country with the number of employees in the three sectors of state, cooperative and private rising to over 25 million from 18 million in 1988.

    The figures also show that the net value of goods produced in the industrial sector increased up to 10,204 million kyats (about 14.5 million US dollars) in 2000-01, up 149.24 percent from 1988-89.

    To The Top

    80 Soldiers in Burma coup attempt get 15 years

    Source : AFP

    More than 80 soldiers have been given jail sentences of 15 years by a secret military tribunal for their involvement in an alleged coup attempt against Burma's military regime, sources close to their families said.

    The commander of the soldiers' unit, which oversaw security for the family of former dictator Ne Win, received a heavier but unspecified sentence, they said.

    Major Thet Myo Aung was a key prosecution witness in the case against Ne Win's son-in-law Aye Zaw Win and three grandsons Aye Ne Win, Kyaw Ne Win and Zwe Ne Win, whom the junta have accused of attempting to wrest power in a military coup.

    The four were supposedly going to enlist the help of friendly elements within military security to overthrow the junta, but they were betrayed by an unidentified former military commander.

    The verdict in their criminal case is due on September 26.

    Thet Myo Aung was given immunity in the criminal court but did not escape trial by the military tribunal.

    A source close to the soldiers' families said they were ordered personally by Rangoon's military commander late last week to leave their barracks by Sunday.

    "They were told that their spouses had been found guilty and sentenced to 15 years each," the source told AFP.

    "They have been provided with 10,000 kyat (nine dollars at open market rates) and a ration of edible oil per family and ordered to vacate the premises," he said, adding that the soldiers had been transferred from a jail outside Rangoon to the notorious Insein prison.

    The soldiers in the unit were arrested when news of the coup attempt first broke in March, shocking the country.

    Along with the arrests of the four alleged masterminds, Ne Win himself -- who ruled Burma with an iron fist for 26 years before stepping down in 1988 -- and his daughter Sandar Win were placed under house arrest.

    The four defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, which include plotting against the state, enticing members of the military to stage a coup on their behalf, and various economic crimes.

    If found guilty the men could face the death penalty, but analysts believe capital punishment is unlikely to be meted out. Long jail sentences are likely, however.

    Four top figures -- the nation's chief of police, the air force chief of staff and two of the country's 12 military commanders -- were sacked in the wake of the scandal, though no charges have been brought against them.

    To The Top