"The first point is stability": U Nyi Pu, NLD chair in Rakhine State
By Nyan Lynn Aung
February 9, 2016
The Myanmar Times’ Nyan Lynn Aung interviews U Nyi Pu, National League for Democracy’s chair for Rakhine State and a Pyithu Hluttaw representative from Gwa township constituency 2, also rumoured to be in line for the state chief minister’s post.
The National League for Democracy did not win a large number of votes in Rakhine State and most seats went to the third-largest party in the country, the Arakan National Party (ANP). How do you think the two parties will be able to negotiate?
|NLD MP U Nyi Pu speaks to The Myanmar Times on February 7. Photo: Aung Myin Yee Zaw / The Myanmar Times|
Since the beginning, before and after the election, we have said that we would cooperate and negotiate with ethnic parties. But some people wrongly interpreted what we said and accused the NLD of not offering negotiations and deceiving people. In fact, the NLD always opens the door [to negotiations]. They [other parties] have to show their willingness to engage [and tell us] which type of negotiation they want or what kind of topic they want to discuss.
Do you think the appointment of the state chief minister will be a problem in Rakhine State?
In my opinion, there is no significant problem. There are laws and by-laws for this. When the NLD heads the central government, the state government structure and minister appointment process will go as usual.
Former chief minister U Maung Maung Ohn had the backing of the military while dealing with problems, and was even able to travel by helicopter in the state. Who do you think will be more effective dealing with problems – a military-backed minister or a civilian-backed minister?
I believe that the people prefer the civilian government they elected over a government backed by the military.
What are the main challenges in Rakhine State for human rights and nationalism? How should these issues be balanced?
From my point of view, the first point is stability. The second point is the leadership of the government and the development of the region. For stability, there are many questions. Instability occurred in the state previously for various reasons. Who did it and why did they do it? Did they do it for political reasons, or for their own interest? Is it real nationalism? It is too early to answer these questions at the moment.
But if an inclusive government, elected by our people, leads the government, the situation will change. There will be no repetition. People don’t want to see loss and suffering. I think they are now working for development. So, creating stability is a possibility now, more than before.
Another important issue in Rakhine State is security, because the west coastal line is long and security is still weak. What is your plan for this when you are in the parliament?
There are a host of important issues in the region. Rakhine State is pretty unusual compared to other areas. Besides, the state’s economic development is extremely low. There are many things we have to work on to improve the situation.
We have to set the first priority and then a second in order to settle these problems. Some cases we will have to settle carefully, others more evidently. We will have to do it so that we can see change as quickly as possible. Other things, we will have to think twice to change them.
Security, regional development and the economic sector will be the main sectors to work on.
Do you have any further comments?
As everybody knows, significant changes can be seen in our country. There will be opportunities for us due to the changes we have seen. We all need to appreciate the situation and see the positive consequences of these changes. If not, anything we strived for will be ruined and the precious changes will not have any value.
Translation by Zar Zar Soe and Thiri Min Htun