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BurmaNet News: July 11, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: July 11, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 12:50:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
July 11, 2001 Issue # 1841
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*Burma Courier: Dengue Fever Epidemic Hits Mawlamyaing Area
*Mizzima: Voices from Burma's technological universities --Universities
*Asia Pulse: Indonesia's Pertamina Plans US$10 MLN Foreign Expansion
*Burma Courier: PTT Pays Up, Mon State Gas Pipeline Moves Ahead
*Newsweek: Transplanted Trouble (Burmese drug lords are getting back
*AP: Three Thais get heavy jail sentences in Myanmar drugs cases
*Bangkok Post: Wa shift drug bases from Burma to Laos
*The Nation: Prescott pressed on drugs
*The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Please don't oppose the aid granted to
*PD Burma: Calendar of Events
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
Burma Courier: Dengue Fever Epidemic Hits Mawlamyaing Area
Based on news from the Irrawaddy On-line and The Nation : Updated to
July 7, 2001
MAWLAMYAING -- A dengue fever epidemic has been spiraling out of control
in the area of Mawlamyaing, sources in the Mon state capital report.
Dengue is an acute tropical disease transmitted by mosquitoes and marked
by high fever, rash, headache and severe muscle and joint pain.
During the months of April and May the epidemic reportedly killed over
one hundred people including forty-one adults and eighty-eight children.
The total death toll is thought to be much higher, as many cases have
gone unreported, the source said.. Over a thousand patients, including
620 children, suffering from the killer disease have been admitted to
Mawlamyaing Hospital during the period and there there is currently no
end in sight.
The outbreak of dengue fever is not limited to southern Burma. In
Thailand dengue has already killed 87 people and infected 48,000 others
this year, according to a story Saturday's edition of the Nation. The
Public Health Ministry has organized a vast campaign involving 700,000
volunteers to clean up sites across the nation that are breeding grounds
for the dengue virus-carrying mosquito.
Plans are afoot to adopt a measure used in Singapore aimed at
eliminating mosquito breeding grounds by imposing fines on those who
fail to keep their places clear of dengue fever carriers, the Thai
public health ministry said.
Mizzima: Voices from Burma's technological universities --Universities
By Sein Win, Yangon: July 11, 2001
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)
After it came into power, the ruling military government transformed the
Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT), a seat of anti-government
demonstrations during the 1988 people's uprising, into Yangon
Technological University (YIT) and established three new technological
universities in the country.
The Hlaingtharyar Technological University (HTU) was established for the
students residing in and around Yangon, Pyay Technological University
(PTU) was established for the students in Lower Burma and Mandalay
Technological University (MTU) was established for the students in Upper
The main reason for the regime to develop these new universities was to
break the gathering of the students at one place, particularly for the
engineering students who took part actively in the anti-government
demonstrations. After the students' demonstrations in December 1996, the
government emphasized its task of sending the students away to different
locations by opening new universities away from the Capital. In reality,
the students are the ones who face the difficulties due to the
shortsighted policies and planning of the authorities concerned.
A student from the HTU complained that it takes at least one and
half-hour for him to reach the campus from his house in downtown Yangon.
"That is by school bus. If I take line bus, I have to change three times
to reach the University", added the student. The canteen is far from the
university campus and the university buildings are built at a field
where there are no trees.
As the price of basic commodities goes up, the cost of studying arises
dramatically. A student has to at least spend about thirty thousand kyat
per month, which is a big amount for an ordinary family in Yangon. And
it is a dream for students to get "job" after graduation. But, there is
no alternative for the students rather than to continue their studies.
The government however claims that they have invested a huge amount of
money in education by having new universities and colleges in the
country. SPDC's Secretary (1) Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, who is also the
chairman of Myanmar Education Committee, in his address at a closing
ceremony of teachers' refresher course recently, said the country has
now total 125 universities comparing with 32 in 1988. For the students,
it makes not much difference having 125 universities or 32 universities.
Not only the students, but also it is hard for the teachers. A tutor who
has served fifteen years in teaching told this correspondent that the
teachers have to alternatively teach at these three technological
universities and what she gets is about ten thousand kyat per month as
salary. (A television set costs around one lakh kyat in Yangon) Some
university teachers give outside tuition classes to get additional
income despite the fact that giving tuition is illegal. Many teachers
continue their work in teaching at these universities so that they can
go abroad for further studies.
"We actually want to go abroad to learn more. We want to be qualified
teachers with proper status?one cannot live with this salary. If we go
aboard, we can save money from our scholarship money", said the tutor.
But with the introduction of doctoral degrees in the country, their aim
to go "abroad" is nullified again.
Students from the Pyay Technological University have problems as well.
The university is located eight miles far from Pyay Township and four
miles far from Paungtalei Township. The weather there is dry-hot.
"When I joined this university in 1998-99, there was no hostel and there
was no private hostel nearby. Some students stayed at neighboring small
villages but most students stayed at Pyay and Paungtalei townships. And
the students had to come to university by highway buses sitting on the
roof-top", said a student.
Pyay Technological University was built on a paddy field. There is no
drinking water system. Although the authorities nowadays provide school
buses for the students living in Pyay Township and provide drinking
water bottles, these bottles are usually empty.
There are also problems for those students who are staying at nearby
hostels. One finds poisonous snakes everywhere. A student from Pinnyar
Paremi hostel, which is located near the university, said: "Our hostel
is built on the place which was a cemetery without proper cleaning.
There are many dangerous snakes. Even cobras."
Hostels have rooms 8' X 10' rectangular for two persons and they look
like huts. The walls are made of bamboo and a snake can come into the
room easily. The students said that they have to always look around
inside the room. They said they often hear the "dying" sound of frogs,
which are being eaten by snakes. The fees of hostel range from one
thousand kyat to one thousand eight hundred kyat per month per person.
Students depend on small restaurants and vendors for their meals.
There is a joke among the students that being in Pyay Technological
University, they are "Pyipyay" which means "exile" in English. They are
sent to Pyay as a punishment because they participated in the
A student cannot stay inside the room when it is literally "hot" in
Pyay. They go either for big trees or ground floors of the university
buildings for shelter.
A final year girl student told this correspondent that it costs around
one hundred and fifty thousand kyat for her studies in the last academic
year. This year, she thinks it will be much more, about two hundred and
fifty thousand kyat. "I can order money via bank because one of the
private banks 'Asia Wealth Bank' has services every Fridays for the PTU
But, to ask money from parents and to make telephone call to outside
world is not easy either. There is only one direct-dialing telephone for
the students in the whole university. There is always a long Queue with
the students waiting to ask money from their parents in far places.
Till 1988, the Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT) had a weekly
cartoon exhibition on every Wednesdays where the students expressed
their difficulties and sufferings. But, this kind of expression is not
allowed any more.
In 1999, students from PTU commemorated the anniversary of the death of
RIT student Ko Phone Maw who was killed by the security forces in March
1988 (he was the first student to be killed in the 1988 uprising) in the
university campus. Immediately after the program, twenty-two students
were arrested by the military intelligence (MI) and sentenced to
long-term imprisonments. No more commemoration for their Elder Brother!
Different experiences for the engineering students at Mandalay
Technological University (MTU). A fifth year student from MTU, which is
located outside Mandalay, said that he joined the university in 1994 and
although he gets hostel facility, there is no pure drinking water. The
hostel's "drinking water" is not good even for taking bath.
"The students get diseases because water contains high ratio of calcium.
Some students at last gave bribe money to concerned authorities to be
transferred to YTU in Yangon. Until now, there is no change in my
university. No one cares about us."
The Burmese military government has been claiming that it is working for
a modern and developed Burma. It claims that it provides computers to
universities. When asked about computer facilities in the university, an
engineering girl student studying civil subject complained: "We have
only one-time practical lesson with computer. As most students do not
have computer experience, it seems like we learned how to open and close
the computer during this one-hour practice. After the practice, we even
cannot touch the computer."
With the universities and colleges having had closed for many years,
lack of practical experiences and study facilities, tough environment
and above all, the lack of government's support, most students do not
have confidence in themselves that they will be the qualified engineers
and technicians after they completed their studies in these
universities. And they feel that their future is dim. But they don't
have a choice under the military regime.
Asia Pulse: Indonesia's Pertamina Plans US$10 MLN Foreign Expansion
July 10 2001
JAKARTA, Asia Pulse - The state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina
said it has set aside US$10 million to start expansion of operations to
other countries in Asia and Africa.
Pertamina President Baihaki Hakim said Monday Pertamina will take part
in oil and gas explorations in Vietnam, Myanmar, Iraq and Libya.
Hakim said Pertamina will start with a relatively small investment in
feasibility studies and explorations.
He said in Iraq, Pertamina will invest US$2 million for oil and gas
Burma Courier: PTT Pays Up, Mon State Gas Pipeline Moves Ahead
Based on news from Dow Jones and Mon Independent News Agency: Updated to
SINGAPORE - Thailand's Petroleum Authority last week paid over US$300
million in overdue payments owed to producers of natural gas from
offshore fields in the Andaman, Sea, a senior PTT official said Monday.
PTT had withheld the money, pending negotiations with producers of gas
from the Yadana and Yetagun fields. PTT sought "flexibility" in gas
pricing, after the slipping value of the Thai baht (US$1=THB4.33) and
higher global crude and products prices raised the
effective price of the gas. "In principle, we have reached an agreement,
but we need to work on the details," Panu Suttsirat, PTT Gas vice
president for supply, said Monday.
The missed payment stems from gas PTT was obligated to buy but couldn't
take because Thailand's Electric Generating Authority was slow in
completing a new generating plant in Ratchaburi that is using much of
the gas contracted for. Gas from Yadana began flowing in the second
half of 1999 while the Yetagun field was hooked up in early 2000, but
neither reached full volume until early this year after a connection to
Thailand's eastern gas grid was completed.
Earlier payments by PTT covered gas purchases actually received, the
company said. It will continue to take gas from the Yetagun and Yadana
fields at 115% of the contracted amount, for up to 12 years, to make up
for missed volumes. The gas contract allows 15% flexibility.
The Burmese gas is pegged to Singapore fuel oil prices, which rose
together with crude to peak in the second half of 2000. At the same
time, the Thai baht has lost value, falling about 7% since the beginning
of the year, complicating negotiations to arrive at a settlement of the
Panu declined to comment on any resolution to PTT's request to
restructure the gas pricing, saying only that the parties "have agreed
in principle to be flexible temporarily on price." But previous reports
have hinted that PTT was negotiating to get the undelivered gas at the
lower prices current when the shipments were originally scheduled to be
delivered. The baht differential will have to be factored into this
The Yadana field is operated by TotalfinaElf (31.24%) together with
partners Unocal (28.26%), PTT Exploration & Production (25.5%) and
Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (15%). The Yetagun field is operated by
Premier Oil (26.67%) together with Malaysia's Petronas (30%), MOGE (15%)
and PTTEP and Nippon-Mitsubishi Oil (each with 14.17%).
Burma's military government benefits in three ways from the two
projects. It receives royalty payments for the gas and it also profits
through MOGE's participation in both Yadana and Yetagun. In addition, it
is entitled to use up to a fifth of the gas produced from the two fields
There had been speculation that the military government would proceed
with a plan to lay a pipeline from the Yadana field to an area south of
Rangoon where a urea fertilizer plant could utilize the approximately
125 million cu cf/d that it is entitled to receive from this field. A
consortium consisting of Mitsui, Total and Unocal had been tipped to
build this US$200 million dollar line.
Instead a pipeline is currently being built from Kanbauk in Yebyu
township, where the existing Yadana line comes onshore, north through
Mon state. It is believed that this 20-inch diameter line will
eventually terminate in Myaing-galay, opposite Hpa-an in Karen state,
where the gas will be used to fire kilns in a huge cement plant under
construction there. The plant is scheduled to come into production
later this year.
Newsweek: Transplanted Trouble (Burmese drug lords are getting back into
By Ron Moreau
July 16 issue - Hill 1200 is a long way from Afghanistan. But the view
from the Thai military outpost, which sits along the Burmese border, is
awfully familiar. Until the Taliban banned its cultivation last year,
the fields of arid Afghanistan were filled with opium poppy-75 percent
of the world's supply. The elimination of this year's crop has naturally
driven up prices for opium paste and its derivative, heroin, across the
world. Down here along the Thai-Burma border, where ethnic Wa militias
have been churning out ya ba ("crazy drug"), or methamphetamine, pills
for the Thai market, the locals are rushing to fill the gap.
FROM HILL 1200, Thai soldiers keep an eye on a ramshackle collection of
green-roofed buildings that goes by the name of Muang Yawn Mai; they say
the hills around the hamlet are carpeted in new poppy plants. "These
people used to grow opium before," Lt. Gen. Wattanachai Chaimuanwong,
the straight-talking commander of Thailand's Third Army, says of the Wa,
who have moved to Muang Yawn Mai and surrounding villages from their
homelands farther north. "Now they've come down here to grow opium
Thai military-intelligence officials believe the Wa have planted more
than 3,000 hectares of opium poppy along the border in the past few
months. To keep the new crop hidden from view, farmers plant poppies
between rows of other plants such as corn. From his observatory atop
Hill 1200, local Thai commander Col. Sampun Srirajbunpan points at the
base of a mountain just north of Muang Yawn Mai, where, he says, a new
heroin laboratory has been set up near a waterfall. Recently, one of his
night patrols ambushed a column of five armed couriers inside Thailand.
His men killed two Wa soldiers, arrested two, captured five AK-47 rifles
and seized 16 kilograms of heroin and 50,000 ya ba tablets from the
Such mixed seizures are becoming more and more common. In January the
Thai Navy intercepted two drug-laden Thai fishing trawlers in the
Andaman Sea, one filled with 7.8 million ya ba tablets, the other with
126 kilograms of heroin, which would now be worth $1.26 million;
officials say both ships received their cargoes from the same Burmese
freighter. In April a fire fight broke out between Thai soldiers and a
column of drug couriers guarded by some 30 armed escorts along the
border; the smugglers fled, leaving behind five kilos of heroin and 6
million ya ba pills.
Heroin, which has traditionally been the backbone of Southeast Asia's
narcotics trade, had been largely forgotten over the past three years as
a result of the unprecedented boom in methamphetamine production in
Burma and ya ba consumption in Thailand. According to estimates from the
United Nations Drug Control Program and the U.S. government, the harvest
of raw opium in Burma, the source of 90 percent of Southeast Asia's
opium, declined by some 40 percent from some 1,700 tons to 1,000 tons
annually over the past four years. (Ten tons of opium are needed to
refine one ton of heroin.)
That sharp reduction has much to do with heavy rains and cold winters in
the Wa heartland around Pang Sang and in the Kokang region near the
border with China's Yunnan province. But at the same time, Chinese
authorities have been cracking down on the trade, demanding in 1998 that
the Wa move their poppy fields and heroin labs away from the border and
seizing 19,000 kilos of heroin, mostly in Yunnan, in the past three
years. Rangoon, which depends on China as its only ally and source of $2
billion worth of military hardware, complied by moving the Wa south; the
Wa quickly discovered the benefits of ya ba, which is both easier to
produce and more profitable than heroin. And much more popular: three
times as many Thais are now addicted to ya ba, which was originally seen
as a less harmful drug, compared with heroin. Until the Taliban's ban on
poppy cultivation, in fact, much of the heroin in Bangkok was being
imported by West African gangs all the way from Afghanistan.
Now the price of heroin along the Thai-Burma border is up 15 percent to
$10,000 a kilo, and the Wa-former headhunters who have become ruthless
businessmen-have rediscovered the potential of growing opium. Compared
with their traditional lands farther north, which are poor and isolated
and have been devastated by deforestation and soil erosion, the hills
around Muang Yawn Mai are lush. General Wattanachai says that the milder
climate and agricultural investments such as sprinkler systems to
irrigate the poppy fields will make for more and better harvests,
perhaps two rather than the usual one crop a year. According to him,
many of the methamphetamine labs along the border are being converted
into heroin-production facilities, to cater to the new demand.
At the same time, the Burmese drug syndicates have developed new
smuggling corridors that give them greater access to countries beyond
Thailand as well. Some shipments are now being moved farther west and
south within Burma itself before crossing into Thailand. Others are
taken to Rangoon by road and then shipped out by sea to Malaysia,
Australia and the United States. Once the stockpiles of heroin in
Afghanistan and Pakistan dry up, say drug officials, shipments could be
redirected to Europe too.
The junta makes noises about cracking down on the drug trade and helping
farmers shift to more benign crops. But according to reliable estimates,
laundered narco-dollars account for as much as 50 percent of Burma's
GDP. Thai military brass suspect that their Burmese counterparts rely on
a cut of the booming trade to support their 400,000 troops. The regime
is also believed to have given the Wa free rein along the Thai border,
in return for their help in combating ethnic rebel groups like the Shan
State Army. "I don 't see an end to Burma's opium production and heroin
trafficking as long as the military junta is in power in Rangoon," says
a foreign narcotics expert in Chiang Mai.
Former drug lords like Khun Sa and Lo Hsing-han, who claim to have
"retired" in Rangoon, have extensive business interests throughout the
country. Lo's son, Steven Law, is managing director of the country's
largest private company, Asia World, which operates both of Rangoon's
ports; he has been denied an American visa because of suspected
connections to narcotics trafficking. (Law says he's being unfairly
persecuted by the United States and is not involved in the drug
business.) Asia World and another construction company, run by Khun Sa's
son, are responsible for most of the road- and bridge-building inside
Burma's main drug-producing areas. The infrastructure projects do help
these dirt-poor regions develop economically. But critics point out they
also increase the ease and speed with which drug shipments can reach
Rangoon or other Burmese seaports, as well as Thailand.
In February a Burmese Army column crossed into Thailand and captured a
Thai Army base in a battle that raged for six hours. Rangoon said the
operation was aimed at dislodging the Shan State Army from a Burmese
outpost it had captured. General Wattanachai says that, in fact, the
Burmese troops were trying to protect a nearby Wa drug lab and
cross-border smuggling routes. "Burma survives on drug trafficking, so
it's not going to stop the smuggling," says a senior Thai intelligence
officer. That means the Wa's new stocks of heroin should have no trouble
satiating a hungry world market.
AP: Three Thais get heavy jail sentences in Myanmar drugs cases
BANGKOK, July 10 (AFP) - A Myanmar district court has handed down heavy
jail sentences against three Thai citizens found guilty of amphetamine
trafficking, state-run media reported Tuesday.
Two men and a woman from Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, received
24-year sentences for drugs charges and for illegal entry to the
country, TV Myanmar said in a dispatch monitored here.
The Thais were arrested in March along with two Myanmar nationals in
Mong Tun township in country's eastern Shan state, near the Thai border,
after a special anti-narcotic police unit found 16,200 amphetamine
tablets in their possession, the report added.
Shan state is the Myanmar sector of the opium growing Golden Triangle
area, where the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet.
Crimes involving drug trafficking can also be punished by the death
penalty in Myanmar.
Bangkok Post: Wa shift drug bases from Burma to Laos
One million pills made every month
July 11 2001
The United Wa State Army is moving its methamphetamine production bases
from Burma to areas in Laos opposite Chiang Rai, Phayao and Nan.
The Third Army and the Narcotics Control Board have common intelligence
that drug factories were being moved from Burmese areas opposite Chiang
Mai to Bo Kaew and Chai Buri provinces of Laos.
The new spots are adjacent to Chiang Saen, Chiang Khong and Wiang Kaen
districts in Chiang Rai, and several areas opposite Phayao and Nan.
A military source said the Wa moved 11 factories to an area opposite
Chiang Saen in addition to five other factories already run by Shan
people who were former members of the Mong Tai Army. Their combined
production capacity should reach a million pills a month.
The move reportedly received co-operation from Hmong people, including
former Hmong rebels, who helped arrange new locations and armed troops
to guard the factories.
"The authority of the Lao government does not reach to such areas. This
allows the outlaws to share the benefits from drugs," the source said.
The source said the move might have resulted from pressure applied by
Asean members and China on the Burmese government to stop drugs
production on its soil.
Military intelligence expected more smuggling to originate from Laos,
crossing the Mekong river to Chiang Saen, Chiang Khong and Wiang Kaen,
as well as on land routes across the border to Phayao and Nan.
"Smugglers should rely mainly on the Mekong river. They can use
long-tailed boats to reach Chiang Rai, their major destination. Drug
smuggling is not new in the area but it was done on a small scale in the
past. Active smuggling will now take place," the source said.
Col Nakhon Sripetphan, commander of the Pha Muang task force, said his
force was moving its anti-narcotics focus to the Thai-Lao border in the
North, especially along the Mekong river border.
The military would not, however, neglect old smuggling routes along the
Thai-Burmese border, Col Nakhon said.
The Nation: Prescott pressed on drugs
July 11, 2001.
Thailand yesterday requested Britain to separate the issue of narcotics
from that of Burma so as to effectively tackle the problem, which is
regional in scope.
The message was conveyed by Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai to
the visiting British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott during their
luncheon discussion yesterday at the Foreign Ministry.
Surakiart said that he understood the firm British policy on the
imposition of sanctions on Burma because of its record on human rights
and democracy. However, he said such a policy should not hinder the
efforts to comprehensively tackle the drug scourge plaguing the region.
Surakiart urged Prescott to treat drugs and Burma as separate issues and
said that London should assist in the joint effort to address the
problem. If not, he said that Britain could end up being an end user [of
the Burmese-produced drugs] itself, he said.
Surakiart said Prescott personally concurred with the proposal and
agreed to discuss the matter with Britain's Foreign Minister Jack Straw.
Prescott was also very interested in the upcoming four-country drug
summit in Kunming involving Thailand, Burma, Laos and China.
At present, Britain along with its European Union allies is sticking to
stringent punitive measures against the military regime in Rangoon.
Hence, every kind of assistance, except on humanitarian grounds, is
The European private sector has alsobeen discouraged in investing in
Thailand and Britain also agreed to push the Kyoto Protocol forward at
the Convention on Climate Change amid concerns about the US' refusal to
support the agreement, which could unravel the whole process.
Surakiart said Thailand, which had already signed the protocol, would
enter into ratification if its vote would help in bringing the agreement
into effect. He pledged to submit the protocol for cabinet approval as
soon as there was a sign that there was significant support for it in
the international community.
So far, 84 countries have signed the protocol, of which 34 have ratified
it. The protocol requires at least 54 countries to ratify for it to be
effective, with half of them being major carbon-monoxide-emission
Prescott stressed the need for cooperation and he said the Thai
government had made it clear that it wanted to see a movement towards
the realisation of the agreement.
He had visited India and China before coming to Thailand to open an
international conference on biotechnology food, co-sponsored by the
British government and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development. He is scheduled to leave for Japan today with the Kyoto
protocol high on the agenda.
Prescott welcomed the conference since it offered an avenue for exchange
of views between all parties concerned. He said the debate was "open and
honest" and the protests had not turned violent.
Meanwhile, Prescott asked Surakiart about the possibility of the British
Broadcasting Corporation's English-language news being broadcast on FM
radio in Thailand.
Both parties also agreed to enhance the exchange of information between
the two countries' private and public sectors regarding
The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Please don't oppose the aid granted to
Wednesday, 11 July, 2001
I returned to Myanmar for the first time on 18 August 1998 after staying
abroad for 18 years. I hadn't return to Myanmar for 18 years because
Japan I was opposing the present Tatmadaw government during the period.
After I got the doctorate degree from Chiba University in 1989, I led
activities opposing the present government. As I was a leader of a
anti-government activities, the Japanese government granted me the
status in 1992. After withdrawing my refugee status in 1998, I came back
Myanmar for the first time in 18 years. When I came back to Myanmar in
I visited a lot of places in the nation. As a person opposing the
government, I always saw and assessed Myanmar from a single point of
This was " what is the most desirous wish of the ordinary people of
" I began to learn that what they wanted most was the adequate supply of
clean water and electricity and the condition in which they were able to
solve all the daily food, clothing and shelter needs with peace of mind.
was shaken when I realized that my views during my life as an
activist in Japan were much contrary to the real situations in Myanmar.
I asked myself what I was doing during the period of over ten years.
was a leader in opposing the Myanmar government from Japan, I launched
oppositions and objections against the Japanese government's Official
Development Assistance (ODA) to Myanmar. My oppositions and objections
centred on the Mingaladon Airport Renovation Project and the Lawpita
Station Renovation Project.
When I saw that the airport didn't get enough power supply during my
to the country, I realized the ill effects of my past misdeeds. I
to all the people of Myanmar including my parents for my past misdeeds.
visited Myanmar for the fifth time on 13 June this year after I was away
her for three years. I paid a short visit to Myanmar to call on my
whom I hadnÕt met for long, to pay reverence to mother's tomb and to
important thing, which was the public response to the Japanese aid to
Lawpita Power Station Renovation Project.
The following is my assessment of the public opinion concerning the
which I had collected.
(1) Adequate power supply is much required for the daily needs and
of the ordinary citizens. Thus, they are so desirous of the aid which
presented by the Japanese government;
(2) I had heard from a foreign radio station that the so-called
group abroad was against the Japanese aid to renovate Lawpita Power
I cannot accept the attitude of the so-called opposition group which
the Japanese aid towards the project which in reality is not for the
government, but for the people. They should oppose it only after seeing
true conditions in Myanmar;
(3) Another foreign radio station said in its news report that the
opposition members abroad were objecting to the Japanese aid. If
the foreign radio stations should also announce the true attitude of the
I feel sad every time I hear the real voice of the people concerning
sufferings. No country ever has a cent-per-cent clean or good
Thus, the Tatmadaw government may have many good things as well as
where remedial measures are required. It is all right if they do not
want to support the present government, but they should not give trouble
The Japanese aid based on tax-money paid by the Japanese people is meant
the Myanmar public, and not for the Tatmadaw government. I visited
DC, the capital of the United States, in February 1999 to attend an
meeting on Myanmar affairs.
I was able to the attend the meeting with the help of my Japanese
In our discussions at the meeting, we said that the humanitarian
to Myanmar should not be opposed; that the oppositions against the
humanitarian assistance should not be launched as a political attack;
such oppositions cause the Myanmar people to suffer much; that the
people also would like to have enough power supply as the American
thus, the Japanese power assistance to Myanmar should not be objected.
I remember the words of an American senior official to the meeting. He
that he accepted that the electricity aid was required for Myanmar
and that the American government would have to make objections against
aid in accord with the policy. What kind of benefits do America and her
citizens gain by launching the objections against the aid to Myanmar. It
still a puzzle for me.
I remember what a friend of mine told me during my latest visit to
He said that not only the industries, but also the ordinary citizens
facing difficulties due to the limited supply of power resulting from
inadequate power generation. While the ordinary people of Myanmar are
the difficulties, the so-called opposition members abroad, who are
luxurious life under the adequate power supply, are continuously
against the Tatmadaw government. I would like to request the so-called
opposition members who are residing in Japan and America, who are
the hardships faced by the people and launching objections against all
to Myanmar just for their pleasure; " Don't give any more trouble to the
Myanmar people, please." " Please see the difference between opposing
government and giving trouble to the people."
Author : Win Naing
Calendar of events
PD Burma: Calendar of Events
July 11 2001
 July : Belgium takes over EU Presidency
 July : 8th RFA Ministerial Meeting, Hanoi
 July : 34th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Post-Ministerial
 July : ASEAN Summit
 Aug. 31st- Sep.7th : World Conference against Racism and Racial
Discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance, South Africa
 December 1st : Worlds Aids Day
 December 10th : 10th Year Anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize
for Aung San Suu Kyi.
 February 2002 : The fourth Bangladesh, India, Burma, Sri Lanka
and Thailand-Economic Cooperation (BIMST- EC) meeting, Colombo
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