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BurmaNet News: June 11, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: June 11, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 01:20:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
June 11, 2001 Issue # 1821
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
NOTED IN PASSING: ?The Siamese are very much fond of poisoning food.
Dr. Ma Tin Win, author of several anti-Thai articles in Burma?s state
press. See e.g. The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): If you are a liar you
can't put the facts down
INSIDE BURMA _______
*Reuters: Dozens feared killed in Myanmar flash floods
*AFP: Myanmar says Thai media reports "blame it all on us"
*BMA: Dialogue going well, patience needed, inside sources said
Mizzima: Former Communication minister under investigation
*Burma Courier: Promise: Mobile Phone Net Will Work Inside of a Month
*Xinhua: Myanmar, India Sign Contracts to Purchase Machinery
*Burma Courier: Hydro Electric Plans Blasted by Funding Drought
*Burma Courier: Import Restrictions Force Suzuki to Reduce Production
*AFP: Myanmar announces veteran battleplan as row with Thailand simmers
*Burma: Officials seize Thai-bound stimulant tablets - opposition radio
*AP: Mending ties with Myanmar not at cost of sovereignty
*BurmaNet: Conference notable mostly for what was unsaid
*AFP: Thai PM vows to close Myanmar dissident and refugee centers
*ABC: Refugees Granted Asylum in Guam Despite HIV Status
*Letter: In Defense of My Father U Nu
* The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): If you are a liar you can't put the
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
Reuters: Dozens feared killed in Myanmar flash floods
YANGON, June 8
Dozens of people were feared killed in central Myanmar after a dam
overflowed in torrential rain and swamped nearby villages, residents and
officials said on Friday.
The water level at Montine Dam, 350 miles (560 km) north of Yangon,
rose seven feet (2.14 metres) in two hours on June 2, an agriculture
ministry official told Reuters.
``People were caught by surprise,'' one district resident told Reuters
by telephone. ``They did not have time to prepare anything when their
villages were inundated by the flash floods.''
A senior official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation told
Reuters lives were lost and property damaged but he declined to give
The official said the dam's overflow had run into the neighbouring
Panlaung River and the situation had returned to normal.
``The water level at the Montine Dam suddenly rose because of the
torrential rain and it overflowed the service spillway around midnight
on June 2,'' said the official, who declined to be identified. He did
Witnesses in the area said dozens of people had been killed and many
were still missing.
Last week at least 12 people were killed in northern Myanmar when a
train was derailed by heavy rains and raging mountain torrents.
The early rainy season has seen unusually heavy downpours in Myanmar
and neighbouring Bangladesh.
AFP: Myanmar says Thai media reports "blame it all on us"
BANGKOK, June 10
Myanmar said Sunday that a string of Thai media reports had blamed its
people and military for "all things that have and are going wrong in
In a statement released Sunday, Myanmar's military government said
Myanmar had been accused of being responsible for "uncontrollable
criminal activities" in Thailand.
"We have again come to read articles, reports and stories accusing and
blaming not only the Myanmar people but Myanmar military intelligence
for all things that have and are going wrong in Thailand, including the
uncontrollable criminal activities there," it said.
The latest article accused the Myanmar Military Intelligence Service of
"piracy, drug trade, auto and arms smuggling," the statement said.
Myanmar said some earlier reports had also made "irresponsible
allegations," including the portrayal of Myanmar troops as culprits in
the killing of Thai villagers along the border last December.
Myanmar and its leaders had also been reported as profiting from the
drugs trade and holding responsibility for Thailand's internal drug
networks, it said.
"Of course, this kind of 'blame it all on Myanmar' is not something new
but should be avoided while...the governments of (the) two countries are
trying to enhance better understanding, friendship and sincere
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra confirmed Saturday that he would
travel to Myanmar on June 19 and 20 as part of a regional tour.
Thaksin said he would try to "clear the air" during his meetings in
Yangon, including with the military-run nation's leader Senior General
Than Shwe, and put relations back on a normal footing.
"I have an advance team working on this visit. When I go there
everything will be sorted out," he said.
The statement is the latest volley in a simmering row between the
uneasy neighbors over who is responsible for the thriving border drugs
Tensions between Thailand and Myanmar have also risen recently due to
reports that a new Myanmar history textbook depicts Thais as lazy and
2001-06-10 Sun 06:37
BMA: Dialogue going well, patience needed, inside sources said
By Tin Maung Htoo
Burma Media Association (BMA)
June 9, 2001
In the mid of growing intolerance on prolong outcome and disillusion
over the lack of ethnic engagement in the ongoing dialogue, a leader of
Burma Democracy Movement reminded to generate more patience while the
process is in its right trail and going well, sources in Burma said.
According to sources, U Lwin, the joint secretary of NLD's central
executive committee, met with representatives of NLD Rangoon Division on
June 7 and urged the aforementioned request after some confusion and
criticism came out from relevant elements active both inside and outside
Sources said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself did not want to publicize the
facts and preliminary drafts while a mutual respect, trust and
understanding are being built and further setback to be wiped out before
a concrete progress and result have been worked out.
It is also reported that she has been occasionally meeting with the
party's chairman U Aung Shwe and vice-president U Tin Oo for further
proceeding and consultation although she still only takes part in the
Sources in Burma said they were expecting a release of some political
prisoners especially elderly and sick ones within 90 days from now on,
as a good gesture and conciliatory tone of military regime in the talk.
According to other sources, the military itself is also planning some
forms of a withdrawal for inevitable transitional period in Burma, and
at the same time, preparing its strength and readiness for future
dominance in Burma politics, mobilizing and organizing its patronized
organizations throughout the country.
Mizzima: Former Communication minister under investigation
By Moe Myat (Yangon)
June 10, 2001, Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)
Former Minister for Telecommunications, Post and Telegraphs Brigadier
General Win Tin is currently under investigation at an undisclosed
location in Yangon for the corruption charges, said sources close to the
authorities in Yangon. The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
abruptly sacked Brig. General Win Tin last month and former in charge of
military and civil administration of Magwe Division Brig. General Thein
Zaw had replaced him.
Although the Burma Media Association, a Burmese media organization in
exile, initially released the news last week of the detention, the
Burmese authorities have neither confirmed nor denied the report.
Sources close to the authorities confirmed this correspondent that
former minister is under investigation with corruption charges.
Moreover, his house in Yangon was raided while some people who have
links with him are also under investigation.
Brig. General Win Tin was reportedly sacked for his alleged corruption
during his office. Another immediate reason for his sacking was that he
entered into conflict with leaders of "Wa" group which has full backup
from the country's powerful military intelligence chief General Khin
The sacked minister introduced the GSM (Global System of Mobile
Communication) network in the country. Although the Skylink company
(owned by Sanda Win, daughter of Burmese dictator U Ne Win) originally
had the license to install the phone network inside the country, it was
later sold to a company owned by Wa cease-fire group.
Win Tin and leaders of Wa group entered into verbal conflict over the
return of money, which the former minister was accused of misusing
during his ministerial reign. U Aik Hauk, leader of Wa group complained
to General Khin Nyunt about this and Win Tin was sacked.
The government has till now sanctioned about 400 GSM phones in the
country. Out of 400, the Wa and its associates have bought over 100
phones while another hundred phones have gone into the hands of
officials in the Communication and Post ministry. A GSM phone currently
costs about six lakh and fifty thousand kyat (about US $ 1000) in Burma.
DVB: More anti-Thai articles in new textbooks
As Thailand and Burma have been strongly arguing over the inclusion of
12 pages of anti-Thai articles in the Burmese fourth grade history
textbook, the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] has introduced
more anti-Thai articles in the text for the new social studies subject
for other grades - fifth to eight which is the entire middle school.
With the aim of promoting patriotism among all the middle school
students, the textbook of the SPDC's newly-introduced social studies
subject mainly covers articles about Thailand and the Thai people.
The social studies subject for the fifth grade include the behaviour of
the Thai people while the subject matter for the sixth and seventh
grades include the battles fought and won by the Burmese kings. The
prevailing situation at the Thai-Burma border is included in the social
studies text for the eight grade.
The text gives details of smuggling of Burmese timber by the Thais,
especially Thailand providing refuge to armed national race insurgents
with photograph of Gen Saw Bo Mya, vice- chairman of the KNU, Karen
National Union. The eight grade text also explained that the siege of
the Burmese embassy in Bangkok by the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors
could not have occurred without the assistance of the Thai Government.
Furthermore, the story of Luther and Johnny Htoo, the two 13-year-old
leaders of God's Army, is also included in the text. But the main
message the text convey is Thailand's attempt to sow discord and destroy
the unity of Burma's national races.
The eight grade social studies textbook also includes a photograph of
former drug kingpin Khun Sa. It explains how the Thais befriended Khun
Sa, how he has changed, and how he became a reformed person after
joining hands with the Burmese military government. These are all
explained together with photographs in the SPDC's new social studies
subject which will be introduced this school academic year.
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 9 Jun 01
Burma Courier: Promise: Mobile Phone Net Will Work Inside of a Month
Based on an article by Thet Khaing in the Myanmar Times: June 4, 2001
RANGOON - A twelve-month delay in the start-up of the mobile phone
network, using GSM (Global System Mobile) technology has been resolved
and the new net will be functioning within the next month, according to
an official of the Telecom Ministry who is responsible for the GSM
U Kyaw Win told the Myanmar Time that phone handsets needed for GSM net
will be available within the month in Rangoon and Mandalay. He said it
was still not possible to confirm the price of the German-made Siemens
2000-model handsets. According to Kyaw Win, the delays in the start-up
of the mobile phone nets have been caused by problems in obtaining the
equipment and the need to conduct exhaustive trials.
Also among the Telecom ministry's top priorities is the installation of
55,000 digital telephone lines, including 38,000 connections in Rangoon
and 17,000 in Mandalay, Pye and Toungoo over the next two years. The
ministry has a US$16.9 million deal with China's Shanghai Bell telephone
company to install the new telephone connections.
In an exclusive interview, Deputy General Manager U Tin Tun told the
Myanmar Times that incoming Minister Brig-Gen Thein Zaw would pursue the
Ministry's existing program priorities -- at least for the time being.
The minister, formerly in charge of military and civil administration in
Magwe division, assumed his new position suddenly last month after the
abrupt sacking of his predecessor, Brig-Gen Win Tin.
Tin Tun said the department would continue its planned move towards the
installation of fibre optic telephone cable, which transmits via a fast
light wave compared with the
slower electronic wave of the traditional copper cable. U Tin Tun said
no timetable had been confirmed for the project.
Xinhua: Myanmar, India Sign Contracts to Purchase Machinery
YANGON, June 9
Myanmar Ministry of Industry-2 and Angelique International Ltd of India
have signed contracts for purchasing machinery worth 4.8 million U.S.
dollars, according to the Myanmar Industry-2 Ministry Saturday. Managing
Directors of departments and enterprises under the Myanmar Ministry of
Industry-2 and Vice Chairman of Angelique Ltd of India signed the
contracts here on Friday. The event was witnessed by Myanmar Minister of
Industry-2 Major- General Saw Tun and First Secretary of the Indian
Embassy AC Pandey. The machinery will be used at iron casting, ball
bearing, cable and electric meter workshops of the ministry. India has
extended to Myanmar credit lines for twice, of which the first one in
1998 was worth 10 million dollars while the second one in 2000 was
valued at 15 million dollars. The prior credit line was utilized by the
Myanmar side for setting up industrial plants and for supply of railway
rolling stocks from India, while the latter one was used for sourcing
industrial and electrical equipment from India.
Burma Courier: Hydro Electric Plans Blasted by Funding Drought
Based on an article by Win Kyaw Oo in the Myanmar Times: June 4, 2001
RANGOON - Burma's national power company will hold off on raising
electricity rates because of inflationary fears, its deputy chief
engineer told the Myanmar Times in an interview published in the June 4
edition of the English-language weekly.
"If we increase the present tariff rate, there will be other
side-effects like that the prices of consumer goods will rise because of
a conditional increment in their production costs," said U Win Kyaw of
the Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise.
MEPE charges differing rates for household, commercial and government
use, but the average 5.5 kyat per kilowatt hour (less than $US 1 cent
per kwh) is far below what the company needs to maintain and expand its
power supply. MEPE estimates that construction and maintenance costs for
the development of new plants work out to an average US$ 0.5 million to
$0.8 million per megawatt of installed capacity.
Currently, the national power grid has an installed generating capacity
of about 1,050 MW of all types but figures highlighted in a World Bank
study a couple of years ago showed staggering losses of up to a third of
the 4.5 billion kilowatt hours generated annually owing to technical
faults in transmission and related problems. In Thailand and Malaysia
such losses are limited to 12-15 per cent of annual production, while in
Japan the figure is 6-7%.
A list of over a dozen hydro-power projects that MEPE has currently
scheduled is provided in a box accompanying the article. However, work
on nearly all of them is still at the site clearing phase in conjunction
with the Irrigation Department of the Ministry of Agriculture The list
includes seven dams sites in the Sittaung watershed where clearing began
earlier this year.
Also mentioned are the much larger Yeywa (700 MW) and Shweli (300 MW)
projects in Patheingyi and Namkhan townships that are said to have the
potential to produce over 5 billion kilowatts of power annually. The
military junta has been angling to get India involved in the
construction of the Yeywa project. While the site for the Yeywa dam has
been finalized, potential locations for the Shweli project are still
The hydro project nearest to completion is the Paunglaung station near
Pyinmana which will add about 900 million kilowatt hours to the national
grid when it comes on-line in 2003-4.
With rate increases ruled out as a major factor, other potential sources
of capital in the development of power are also being explored. "The
formation of a power-development consortium of local investors and MEPE
is now under discussion," U Win Kyaw told the Myanmar Times. He said
that the infrastructure needed to develop the Yeywa project was being
studied in consultation with an unidentified European firm.
A paper prepared by a Japanese expert, obtained by the Times reporter,
identified the limited availability of capital funds, doubts concerning
the financial viability of foreign investments, poor access and security
constraints and differences over agreements involving potential users of
water resources as major factors retarding the development of new hydro
The article did not deal with natural gas-fired generation of
electricity which currently provides more than half of national
production. With inland gas production dropping and off shore
production headed almost exclusively to Thailand to bring in desperately
needed foreign exchange, the potential for expansion of gas-fired
generation would appear to be severely curtailed.
Burma Courier: Import Restrictions Force Suzuki to Reduce Production
Based on an article by Myo Lwin in the Myanmar Times: June 4, 2001
RANGOON - Tough import restrictions have forced Myanma Suzuki to cut
back severely on its assigned production of motor bikes, passenger cars
and small trucks, an article in the June 4 edition of the Myanmar Times
In its third year of operation the factory had an assigned capacity of
5,000 vehicles, but manager U Ne Lin Oo of SPA, one of the company
partners, told the Times that this had been reduced to 1,680 vehicles
due to a cut back in import allowances for the fiscal year 2000-1. "As
a matter of fact, parts for manufacturing even that number have not
arrived yet, though the production date is three months over due."
No breakdown of the number of each type of vehicle was provided, but
figures provided for the previous year showed assigned quotas of 920
bikes, 488 cars and 436 trucks.
The vehicles are assembled and painted in the company's South Dagon
plant mostly using parts imported from Japan, although some come from
the U.S., Indonesia and India.
The prices of the wagons and carry trucks are fixed at US$10,976 and
US$6,624 per unit, but buyers face waiting times of more than one year
to take possession of their vehicles. Government policy restricts the
purchase of the cars and trucks produced by the company to private users
who bring in export dollars to the country.
Myanmar Suzuki is a joint venture between the Suzuki Motor Corp of Japan
(60%), the government's Ministry of Industry-2 (30%) and local companies
SPA and Tomen Corp (5% each). The assembly plant was opened in 1998.
Burma: Officials seize Thai-bound stimulant tablets - opposition radio
June 10, 2001 8:37am
Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 8 June
DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned that a huge amount of
stimulant tablets from Mandalay bound for Thailand was seized near
Pa-An. Although a large amount of stimulant tablets were seized the SPDC
[State Peace and Development Council] has so far reported nothing about
the seizure. According to drug traffickers, border authorities are
involved in the drug trafficking trade. DVB correspondent Maung Tu filed
[Maung Tu] Seven million stimulant tablets transported from Mandalay by
a van was seized at Kyanigon bus station in Pa-an, Karen State on 2
June. If the van was not seized in Pa-an the drugs would have been
trafficked all the way to Mae Sot [in Thailand] via Myawadi. Although
there were frequent seizures of narcotic drugs in Pa-An, Myawadi and
Kawkareik Townships, the SPDC never reported anything and the 2 June
arrest is also not mentioned after almost a week. Furthermore, some of
the seized drugs were resold to the Thai side by MI [Military
Intelligence] Unit 25. Thai authorities claimed many small factories
producing stimulant tablets have emerged at the Myawadi border area and
they have been selling the drugs to the Mae Sot side. Moreover, Thai
authorities claimed they have proof that the drugs are being trafficked
via Mae Sot to Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Malaysia and Singapore.
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 8 Jun 01
AFP: Myanmar announces veteran battleplan as row with Thailand simmers
YANGON, June 8
Myanmar's military this week announced a contingency plan to call up
some 99,000 battle-hardened war veterans in the event of an attack on
its territory by "hostile" neighbours.
The resolution, passed at a war veterans' conference which ended
Thursday, was linked with a simmering row with Thailand which erupted
after a half-day border skirmish between the two national armies in
Home Minister Colonel Tin Hlaing said Myanmar occupied a strategic
position in the region, surrounded by big nations with "nuclear
capability", as well as those with hostile foreign polices "under the
influence of a major power".
In a clear dig at Thailand, he said certain neighbouring countries were
"building up their military power, carrying out military manoeuvres and
promoting their military capabilities."
Tin Hlaing also accused them of making "preposterous accusations" and
"attempting to create battles at the border areas."
In response, he said in comments reported in the official media,
Myanmar had formulated a national defence and security plan designed to
counter the actions of neighbours who were "stoking a fire" in order to
Under the new "militia strategy" the war vererans would be deployed to
use their fighting and logistics experience to give support to the
regular army and the police force, which would also take up front-line
duties if called upon.
"NGOs (non-government organisations) formed with women are required to
crush the enemies from the rear line," he said.
The conference also emphasized the importance of "national
reconsolidation", especially in the light of tensions along the
Veterans' Association vice-chairman and Labor Minister Major General
Asaw Tun said it was vital to open "political, economic, social,
organisational and military fronts" in order to gain the upper hand
against the enemy.
The comments are the latest entry in the increasingly bitter
tit-for-tat exchange between the two neighbours which has prompted a
flurry of official protests from both sides.
In the latest outburst, Thailand took umbrage at reports that a new
Myanmar history textbook portrayed Thais as lazy and servile.
Despite the ill-will, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has
repeatedly said he is optimistic that the wrangle will be resolved when
he makes his first visit to Myanmar.
"There is no better way (to solve problems) than to have the leaders
talk to each other ... I am ready to go," he said recently.
AP: Mending ties with Myanmar not at cost of sovereignty
CHIANG MAI, Thailand - 2001-06-10 Sun 02:42
Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said Sunday that Thailand was
eager to mend ties with Myanmar, but warned that it would not tolerate
insults on its sovereignty and its royal family.
In a speech at a one-day conference on Thai-Myanmar ties held in this
northern town, Surakiart said the government would ``fight with all
efforts'' if their dispute boiled down to these two issues.
``What the Thai government cannot tolerate is our sovereignty (being
violated) ... and the insult to our royal dynasty, which we strongly
protest,'' he said.
Surakiart's comments came two days after Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra announced that he would travel to Myanmar on June 19-20 to
hold talks with that country's military junta to end bickering between
the two countries.
The visit would significantly lessen the tension as ``there are things
that needed to be discussed in private between the two leaders to settle
the problem,'' Surakiart said without elaborating.
Thai-Myanmar relations have reached nadir over a range of disputes
including Thai allegations that Myanmar supports drug trafficking. The
armies of the two countries have fought sporadic battles at the border
and some a Myanmar artillery narrowly missed a royal building near the
Nationalist newspapers in both countries have also waged a war of
words, trading insults with some Myanmar newspapers writing articles
critical of the Thai royalty.
Surakiart said he believed the ties could be easily mended once the
distrust and misunderstanding between the two nations was eliminated.
The conference was organized by Chulalongkorn University and Asia
Forum, a local think tank. It was attended by about 500 participants
including army and police officers, officials from the interior and
defense ministries, academics, nongovernment organization workers and
Meanwhile, the Myanmar government issued a statement Sunday, urging
Thailand and Thai newspapers to stop ``demonizing and scapegoating''
It said the Thai media have made several ``irresponsible allegations''
recently, and cited an article Sunday in the Bangkok Post titled
``Burmese spies are everywhere.'' The article accuses the Myanmar
Military Intelligence Services of piracy, drug trade, auto and arms
``Of course, this kind of `blame it all on Myanmar' is not something
new but should be avoided while and when the governments of the two
counties are trying to enhance better understanding, friendship and
sincere cooperation,'' the statement said.
Myanmar hopes that ``both nations can join hands to resolve the
challenges and common problems they are encountering,'' it said.
BurmaNet: Conference notable mostly for what was unsaid
June 10, 2001
A Thai conference on how to deal with its Burma problem was notable for
the reticence of its participants to talk about drugs. The conference
was organized by academics close to Foreign Minister Surakiart
Sathirathai and held at a Chiang Mai hotel. Surakiart gave the key note
address and was followed by several panels made up primarily of
academics, Foreign Ministry officials, business representatives and the
Deputy Chief of Staff for Thailand?s Third Army.
The tone of speakers from the podium was notably softer from academics
and others who spoke from the floor. The difference may be partly
attributable to a directive issued by Defense Minister Chavalit
Yongchaiyudh on Saturday to Thai officials--especially in uniform--not
to say anything provocative about Burma before Prime Minister Thaksin
decides for certain whether to make a trip to Thailand on June 20.
Surakiart?s most notable comment about Thailand?s two non-negotiable
demands with respect to Burma--no violations of national sovereignty and
no insults to the monarchy--was significant in that cutting off the drug
production was not mentioned and so is presumptively negotiable.
Surakiart managed to deliver an hour long address without mentioning the
name of a single Burmese official and only to mention the country by
Col. Chanchai, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Third Army heeded the
Defence Minister?s order not to say anything directly provocative but he
used a Thai phrase to describe who the Thai army is fighting that is
politically loaded. In recent weeks, Col. Chanchai?s boss, the Third
Army commander has started to describe the forces his troops are up
against as something that translates literally into ?ethnic Wa Burmese
forces.? Chanchai, as well as several other speakers, used the Third
Army Commander?s phrase as a matter of course. Previously, Thai
officials described their opponents as the ?Red Wa? or just the Wa.
The change of phrasing continues to be rendered as ?United Wa State
Army? by The Bangkok Post and The Nation but is far more provocative
because it is inching up to the line of saying that Thai troops are
fighting an extension of Burma?s army. This is exactly what is
happening but an open admission that the two armies are fighting each
other would make cohabitation inside ASEAN even more difficult.
AFP: Thai PM vows to close Myanmar dissident and refugee centers
BANGKOK, June 9
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra Saturday renewed a government
pledge to shut down camps for Myanmar political dissidents and refugees
after confirming plans for an official visit to Yangon.
Thaksin confirmed the Maneeloy Holding Center, which houses dissidents
from Myanmar's 1988 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, would be
closed by early next year while refugee camps would also be shut
He said people living at the Maneeloy camp in Thailand's central
province of Ratchaburi would be resettled in third countries.
"The Maneeloy Center would be closed soon, no later than early next
year," Thaksin said. "We will send (the dissidents) to third countries
but it could take some time due to problems that have accumulated."
Thaksin also said the numerous refugee camps along the Myanmar border
would be gradually closed, and that he would tackle the problem of
illegal immigrants from Myanmar, which number about one million, he
Thailand is home to more than 120,000 refugees from Myanmar, many of
whom are from the Karen ethnic group and live in camps on the Thai side
of the border.
Thaksin will visit Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar this month. His regional
tour takes him to Laos between June 13-14, Cambodia from June 18-19 and
finally to Myanmar on June 19 and 20.
The Thai premier said he was confident the visit would ease tensions
with Myanmar after months of increasingly bitter mud-slinging over who
is responsible for the rampant drug trade along their border.
Thaksin said he would try to "clear the air" during his meetings in
Yangon, including with the military-run nation's leader Senior General
Than Shwe, and put relations back on a normal footing.
"I can guarantee that all problems will be resolved," he said.
Thaksin added that his visit could represent a milestone for relations
between the uneasy neighbors and lay the groundwork for a long-term
ABC: Refugees Granted Asylum in Guam Despite Hiv Status
WASHINGTON, Jun 7 (ABC) -- A group of 46 Burmese nationals on the island
of Guam have been granted asylum and will be allowed to apply for
resident status in the U.S.
Ron Munia of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the U.S Department
of Health said that although some asylum seekers have been detected with
HIV, this will not affect their individual asylum applications. He said
a total of 978 asylum seekers on the island have been tested.
The discovery of the presence of HIV follows routine testing as a
prelude to the Burmese nationals leaving for the continental U.S. While
health department officials would not confirm how many of the asylum
seekers tested positive, the number was said to not be high considering
the region they originated from.
An estimated one thousand Burmese nationals arrived in Guam seeking
political asylum before the Guam Visa Waiver Program was suspended for
Burma in January.
Letter: In Defense of My Father U
[Originally sent to The Bangkok Post]
I am horrified to learn that several Muslims died and many injured
during last week?s racial riot between the Burmese Burmese and the
Burmese Muslims in the Pegu Division, Burma.
I am equally horrified to learn from the news report under the caption
of ?Muslims attacked over 40-year policy ? Burma declared Buddhist by U
Nu? in your esteemed newspaper Bangkok Post, yesterday May 26 on page 3.
The report was based on Maung Maung, a 62 year-old exiled Burmese Muslim
stating: ?U Nu government outlined a policy declaring Buddhism as a
state religion and forbidding Burmese of other religious faiths, viz.
Muslims and Christians, from holding important posts?.
For nearly 4 decades the public, both domestic as well as
international, have been fed with distorted and fabricated information
by various sources, and, the abovementioned report, regrettably was not
free from such fabrication.
It is true that under U Nu?s Union Party Government, 1960-62, a bill
at the Parliament was introduced of making Buddhism the state religion
but there was no such thing as religious discrimination whatsoever at
all. Because of respect for the rights of minorities U Nu appointed an
Enquiry Commission to sound out public opinion first. With an exception
at the Kachin State, the commission was given rough reception, but
elsewhere, the receptions were peaceful and cordial. In Rangoon, U Nu
met with religious leaders, including Muslims and Christians as well as
Hindus. They objected, of course, but there was no one among them who
claimed that the bill in any way infringed their constitutional rights.
In the Constitution written under the Directive Resolution given by
our national leader Bogyoke Aung San: About 85 percent of the population
in Burma is Buddhist. Among the major national minorities, such as the
Karen, the Shan, the Arakanese, and the Mon, a majority profess
Buddhism. The article 21.  clearly stated: ?The State shall not
impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of
religious faith or belief?.
Besides, in the Union Government that introduced the bill making
Buddhism the Sate religion there was a Cabinet Minister by the name of U
Raschid, a Muslim. A universal cabinet ruling stipulates that if a
minister is in disagreement with the Prime Minister, the minister
resigns first from the cabinet to ventilate his disagreement. U Raschid
was allowed to object the bill in the parliament without having to
resign from the cabinet and he did ventilate his objection. U Raschid
remained as a minister in the cabinet and was detained for five years
along with U Nu in March 2, 1962 coup staged by General Ne Win, the
Chief of the Armed Forces.
In the AFPFL governments, prior to the Union Party?s government, from
1948 to 1958, there were Muslims as well as Christians. U Raschid, and
Mr. Abdul Latif also known as U Khin Maung Latt, two Muslims. U Than
Aung also known as Mr. Rivers, and Mrs Ba Maung Chain, both Christians,
to name a few. I supposed cabinet post is high enough.
The Governor?s Executive Council headed by Bogyoke Aung San inducted a
Burmese Muslim leader Mr. Razak from Mandalay to serve in the Council.
He was assassinated along with Bogyoke on July 19, 1947 before Burma
All democratically elected governments of Burma were bound by the
Constitution adopted on September 24, 1947, which explicitly expressed:
?We the people of Burma including the Frontier Areas and the Kareni
State, determined to establish in strength and unity a Sovereign
Independent State, to maintain social order on the basis of the eternal
principles of Justice, Liberty, and Equality and to guarantee and secure
to all citizens Justice social economic and political; Liberty of
thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and
action; Equality of status, of opportunity and before the law, Do hereby
Adopt, Enact and Give to Ourselves this Constitution?.
It was nice that Maung Maung could exercise his Freedom of Ignorance
at Umphang refugee camp, which is beyond the boundaries of Burma but I
would like to remind that it would be politically sinful to create
unnecessary racial tension.
The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): If you are a liar you can't put the
Tuesday, 5 June, 2001
As I cannot stop the work which I have already started, I have to write
till the end of the period which I have to fix. I am writing as I want
our citizens, especially the youth to know their own history in
comparison with that of others'. It is not that I am writing with every
intention of bringing disgrace on others. I don't want my writings to
become insignificant after the show is over. If our citizens themselves
think that the facts are true when they are young but these facts are
distorted ones when they grow up, not only I but also the nation readers
will lose esteem. Therefore, I write only after I have read a lot
Very recently, in the Daily News newspaper, an article written on the
basis of wrong information about Myanmar monarchs appeared. What the
Siamese (Thai) article writer meant is that Myanmar monarchs spoke
friendly words on the one hand and invaded the territory of another
nation on the other hand and that they were not trust worthy. The
article said that in the time of Rama I, who established Ratanakosin
dynasty, King Badon offered to form a tie of friendship. It also said
that the king offered to establish a friendly tie, but the king of Siam
did not accept the offer. (There was no such a thing as this kind of
offer for the establishment of friendly ties; if there had been such an
offer, it would not have been approved of. It was because Siamese were
attacking Lower Myanmar. Therefore, Myanmar did not want to make friends
Not included not only in the treatises of Myanmar but also in the
historical books of Siam was such an offer. If the king mentioned in the
article were one of other kings apart from King Badon, we might happen
to believe it. King Badon would not offer to form an alliance with Siam
that was clandestinely making incursions after inciting Mon nationals in
Myanmar. King Badon was too proud. Although the British sent envoys very
frequently, he did not take any interest in that matter.
One thing for sure is that King Badon was not a militant king. However,
he himself leading nine units in five columns attacked Siam in 1785. No
matter whether we like it or not, we have to accept it. Myanmars lost
that war. It is because they had to march from a place very far away,
the support troops could not catch up with them and they were starving.
At a battle, the troops of King Badon seized a camp of Siam. As the
troops of King Badon were starving, they happened to eat food they could
find. Many troops died as the Siamese poisoned the food. The Siamese are
very much fond of poisoning food.
The points mentioned by the article writer of the Daily News Newspaper
did not tally with one another. The article said that Myanmars offered
to form a tie of friendship from the side of Phaya Thonzu in 1793, and
that as they knew the intention of Myanmars, they declined the offer. It
is difficult to believe. If Myanmars had wanted to form an alliance,
they would not have to come through Phaya Thonzu Pass. Just an envoy
would be sent there. If they had declined the offer, Myanmar would have
attacked them. The article also said that in 1797, Myanmars attacked
them, that in 1799, Myanmars offered to establish an alliance from
Kanchanburi road, that Siam refused to accept it, that in 1808, the
Myanmar king sent an envoy to form an alliance, and that as the king of
Siam was very old, he had to accept the offer for forming of an
alliance. Even though the facts included in your article are not based
on firm evidence, you, Siamese article writer, said that as the king of
Siam was ver! y old, he had to accept the offer for forming of an
alliance. It is you yourself that wrote about it. You should have taken
care to write about that matter. Other people may run away with the idea
that when the kings of Siam grew old, they felt small. The article said
that in 1809, King Badon invaded Siam, and in 1823, King Badon died.
What a pity! The article writer is writing about history without having
any knowledge about history. I used to think highly of the Siamese as
they taught history with seriousness. Now they are saying what they like
just for the sake of discrediting Myanmar whether the information is
true or not.
Myanmars attacked Siam in 1785, 1786, 1787 and 1791. As a province of
Malay invited King Badon because it did not want to kowtow to Siam,
Myanmars marched to launch the last attack. Due to the last march,
Taninthayi could be safeguarded. It is explicitly said in the history
books compiled in previous periods and in this period that the
operations of King Badon failed.
It is sure that the person who wrote an article about Myanmar appearing
in the Daily News Newspaper dated 21 May 2001 has not read history books
carefully. King Badon passed away in 1819. That person said in his
article that the king died in 1823. I think that that person hasn't read
the fact that the king died in 1819 which was included in the Myanmar
history books and other history books in various languages.
Sagaing Prince was not son of King Badon but grandson. After his
grandfather passed away in 1819, he acceded to the throne. He did not
think big like his grandfather. He had no time to invade Siam as he
wished to live with his beloved queen peacefully and was arranging to
build Inwa City. Another things were due to the bad condition of
relations with the British and the western border affairs of Myanmar.
What kind of evidence did the Daily News Newspaper article writer have
in order to say that King Sagaing was many times more ruthless than his
father? The writer also said that the scheme had been hatched up since
1802 when his father came to the throne. It was in 1782 that his
grandfather acceded to the throne. There are two mistakes. They
protested my article noisily. Although they wrote mistakes, they have no
sense of shame. In the international community, there are many people
who have known Myanma history. The newspaper which states wrong
information does not have prestige. Those who know history will realize
that there are wrongs.
I have to present how many mistakes they made about Bayintnaung in the
Daily News Newspaper. I feel reluctant to write about Siamese monarchs.
I am very reluctant to state a historical event within the specific time
frame and the act of a person who is outstanding in history. Now I think
that the Siamese article writer wrote that article without considering
whether information was authentic or not. But I dare not follow in his
footsteps. Myanmars have a sense of shame for having to say
irresponsibly. I have to explain one thing clearly. The fact that the
Myanmar king sent an envoy to Siam in 1808 to form an alliance is
totally wrong. At that time and at that year, the crown prince (father
of King Sagaing) of King Badon was terminally ill and passed away, and
Badon was shrouded with sorrow.
There is another thing I would like to present. The powerful British
came to Myanmar to form an alliance beginning 1795 and in 1796, 1798,
1802, 1803, 1809 and 1812. But King Badon did not care. How impossible
it is to say that he attempted to form an alliance with Siam.
In fact, if King Badon tried to form an alliance with Siam, they would
have written about it in their reports. Now, there was no such a thing
as that matter. I am now going to present the statements of historians.
In the book " Lords of Life" by His Royal Highness Prince Chula
Chakrabongse, King Badon marched to Siam five times.
I am going to present the original statement of the Prince. The years
were 1785,1786, 1787, 1796 and 1802. They were stated on page 97.
On the pages from 108 to 111 of the book about the history of Siam by
Rong Syamananda, which I have often quoted, the years were 1785,1786,
1787, 1797 and 1802.
The Daily News Newspaper article writer gave the years which do not
tally with those stated by these two historians. It is stated that in
1784, an offer was made to form an alliance; in 1785, an attack was
launched; in 1793, an offer was made to form an alliance; in 1797, an
attack was launched; in 1799, an offer was made to form an alliance; in
1808, an offer was made to form an alliance; in 1809, an attack was
launched. I don't know which records he referred.
In the records of Myanmar, it is stated that in 1785, 1786, 1787 and
1791, King Badon attacked Siam. In the records of His Royal Highness
Prince Chula Chakrabongse and Rong Syamananda, it is stated that an
incursion was made in 1802. However, in that year, Symes, the envoy,
arrived at Amarapura for the second time. The envoy met with King Badon
as well as the crown prince. They discussed nothing about war. If
Myanmar had been launching aggressive wars, persons like Symes would
have sold arms and recorded these matters without fail. But there was
nothing documented about war.
Come to think of it. According to Professor Rong, Rama I attacked Dawei
in 1787. They had to withdraw as they were faced with the food problem.
In 1793, the King of Siam attacked Dawei, Myeik and Taninthayi towns.
But they had to withdraw as local people did not help them and it was
difficult to carry arms over mountains. The king of Siam tested response
while launching many attacks. However, he had to beat a retreat.
Author : Dr Ma Tin Win ( Institute of Education)
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