A Suu Kyi Presidency Would Bring ‘Chaos,’ Says Firebrand Monk

A Suu Kyi Presidency Would Bring ‘Chaos,’ Says Firebrand Monk

Myanmar, Burma, The Irrawaddy,

Aung San Suu Kyi at a World Economic Forum BBC debate in Naypyidaw in June 2013. (Photo: Simon Roughneen / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — U Wirathu, the Mandalay-based monk who heads the “969” anti-Muslim movement, believes that democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi would not be a good president for Burma.

“I wish [President] Thein Sein to be re-elected. If he refuses to go for the post, my vote will go to Shwe Mann,” said the controversial monk—whose speeches and sermons are said to have fueled anti-Muslim violence across Burma since June 2012.

Both Suu Kyi, the former dissident and now opposition parliamentarian, and Shwe Mann, a former No. 3 in the old military junta, have stated their interest in becoming president after the 2015 parliamentary elections. Incumbent Thein Sein, Shwe Mann’s Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) colleague, has not said whether or not he will put his name forward after the 2015 elections.

While describing Suu Kyi as “a good revolutionary” and praising her for having “sacrificed her life for the people,” U Wirathu described the long-time political prisoner as “weak at governance.”

The monk went on to dismiss the National League for Democracy (NLD) leader’s presidential credentials.

“She doesn’t know about Burma and its nature. All she knows is to stage revolution and attack the government. So, if she became the president, the governance would be in chaos. Racial and religious conflict would deteriorate. There would be public unrest because people are not pleased with what she does,” he said.

However, the controversial monk claimed that if Suu Kyi were to speak out in favor of a controversial proposed inter-marriage law—which would force non-Buddhist men to convert to Buddhism in order to marry Buddhist women—the opposition leader would win the electorate’s support.

“If Daw Suu could realize the law, she could easily become the president and we could even dare to worship her,” said U Wirathu, using a Burmese honorific for the opposition leader.

Suu Kyi has been criticized in recent months for her apparent reluctance to speak up on behalf of Burma’s ethnic minorities, such as the Kachin, a mostly Christian group whose homeland of Kachin State is the site of an ongoing war between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burmese Army.

Suu Kyi has also taken lumps internationally for not supporting the rights of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group who mostly live in western Arakan State but who are regarded by the government and many Burmese as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Speaking in Australia, where she is currently visiting, Suu Kyi reiterated her self-image as that of a politician rather than a human rights icon or activist. “Let me assure you, I’m no saint,” she said on Wednesday. “I look upon myself as a politician and not as an icon.”

Suu Kyi again rejected the term “ethnic cleansing” to describe the anti-Rohingya violence in western Burma. “When you use terms like ethnic cleansing—which I think is a little extreme—it just plays into the hands of extremists. There are extremists on both sides … we only have a few extremists but they can exercise great power,” she said, speaking at the Sydney Opera House.

Burma watchers speculate that Suu Kyi’s reticence on human rights issues is prompted by a political calculus: a fear of losing the majority Burman and Buddhist vote in the 2015 elections. Her efforts in recent months to drum up support for a Suu Kyi presidency come as ethnic and religious tensions are being stirred up nationwide by U Wirathu, who told The Irrawaddy that “if you favor too much human rights, your race and religion will be vanished as there are people who want to invade our country, destroy our race and religion on human rights basis.”

The logic is that if Suu Kyi speaks out against violence against the Rohingya, she will lose votes to the incumbent USDP.

Suu Kyi’s long-time spokesman Nyan Win told The Irrawaddy that “there are no Rohingya in Burma’s history. There are Bengalis who try to come across to Burma and claim citizenship.”

However, the former parliamentarian and political prisoner added that the 1982 Citizenship Law, which scholars say denies the Rohingya status as an ethnic group in Burma, should be amended, saying that once the measure is revised, “they can then apply to be citizens.”

Asked to put a number on how many of the estimated 800,000 Rohingya in Burma would be entitled to citizenship under such a reform, Nyan Win said he did not know.

And lamenting the recent violence between Buddhists and Muslims across Burma, which has mostly displaced Muslims, Nyan Win told The Irrawaddy that “all the people in the conflict are human beings and need to be treated like human beings.”

With additional reporting by Kyaw Phyo Tha.

37 Responses to A Suu Kyi Presidency Would Bring ‘Chaos,’ Says Firebrand Monk

  1. Funny remark from U Wirathu such a lack of maturity and childish!!!!

  2. I am wondering why this monk is very good in politic? Is he also good in Pidikak Thonpon? Should I recommend him to be the next president over Daw Su and Shwe Man?

  3. Confusing a regime stooge, an axe handle in their parlance, with the genuine article. ‘Firebrand monk’ licensed to incite bigotry, hatred and violence. A far cry from U Wisara or U Ottama, even U Seinda, let alone the former monk Saya San.

    It should come as no surprise that Wirathu is openly peddling the junta line electioneering for the military elite.

    What is surprising is that many people still listen to this demagogue stooge when he has actually nailed his colours on the mast from the outset. He was the very first cheerleader for Thein Sein.

    ASSK is no revolutionary, and Thein Sein just a military placeman like Shwe Mann whom he pipped to the post, Min Aung Hlaing waiting in the wings for orders. The NDSC rules, okay?

  4. We don’t need Google. Wirathu knows everything.

  5. I do not know what he think himself.But I believe that he is indirectly responsible for the hundreds of innocent victim of ongoing violent.He is senior member of military gang. One day,this guy will face the trial for crime against the humanity.

  6. Burma watchers speculate that Suu Kyi’s reticence on human rights issues is prompted by a political calculus: a fear of losing the majority Burman and Buddhist vote in the 2015 elections.

    Those peoples do not understand about Daw Aung San Su Kyi. Daw Aung San Su Kyi is very patriotic person and she won’t be moving her believe because of outside criticism nd pressure. Frankly, she is kind and honest but she won’t be selling her country at any price.
    Daw Su does not care about votes and power but she only care about Burmese peoples she loves. Daw Su want to be President of Burma because she wanted to build better and prosperous democratic nation for all Burmese ethnics and naturalized Burmese citizens. Only Daw Su can unite all Burmese ethnics as one.
    Outsiders will never understand about Burmese peoples even they learn about Burma for1000 years. British had ruled Burma over 100 years but in reality the British did not understand about Burmese peoples’ mentality, moral, custom and though. If British Government had understood about Burma and its peoples and then the history will be very different from beginning of British – Burmese relationship.
    Daw Su and her NLD party will get votes 75% – 85% if Election was help today or tomorrow or the day after tomorrow and anytime. Nothing will change in mind of Burmese peoples.
    Burmese peoples trust Daw Su. Burmese peoples love and admire Daw Su. Beginning most of admire, trusts and love for her come from Burmese peoples was because of she was Bogyoke Aung San’s daughter. Now the trust, admire and love for Daw Su is purely reward for her honest, scarify, intelligent, courage and hard working selflessly for all Burmese ethnics from Burmese peoples. Daw Su is only person Burmese peoples can trust and rely on her.

    For U Wirathu, he needs to shut his mouth. If he wanted to involve in politic and then he must leave Monkshood. He has damaged our Buddhism religion image and he sent wrong message to the world. Even though I do not entirely blamed on U Wirathu for recent communal riot between Buddhist and Muslim but he has some responsible for his anti-Muslim activity. U Wirathu thinks he is only person who love the nation and our Buddhism religion. Actually, he does not understand about politic and what country needs at all.

    For so called Rohingya issue, there no Rohingya ethnic in Burma at all. The former illegal Bengali migrant groups now base in overseas want to invent new Rohingya history and then up to them. In fact so called Rohingya Muslim is Bengali from Bangladesh and they are illegally settled in Rakhine state.
    Burmese history won’t change by outside pressure. I do not against some of descendents of illegal Bengali migrants given naturalized citizenship if they have qualified for naturalized citizenship. We do not need Muslim extremism in Burma.
    They can practice their religion peacefully. We won’t call crock for Phute (big Burmese Lizard). Bengali Muslim is Bengali Muslim and never be Rohingya Muslim.
    International Journalists must learn true Burmese history and respect Burmese peoples. If they want to learn fabricated fake Burmese history and then it’s up to them. Bengali does not know about Burmese history at all. If they want to learn true Burmese history and then go to Burma and ask Burmese historian for related books.

  7. Whenever this issue of how the illegal entries were treated in Burma, not granting them citizenship and so on, nobody ever mentioned about how the illegal entries from neighbouring countries into the United States were treated. Do they get citizenship that easily? I guess not. Was it because the US is a super-power that nobody, neither the human rights organisation nor religious organisations nor the self proclaimed ‘do-gooders’ have raised their voices. Bangladesh got away scot free every time even though they are part of the problem. Have a look at the policies and their citizenship laws, were the non-Bengali speaking people have the same rights as those Bengalis? Isn’t it part of the reason that these people who called themselves Rohingyas have to seek for greener pastures beyond their borders. If there were ethnic group such as Rohingya our former imperial power and coloniser Britain (who was so good at compiling records) would have them in their ‘ethnographic records’, would it not? Politicians in Burma should read more just to get the idea of what they are talking about.

  8. It is not likely that DASSK, as President, would bring chaos. This is because the majority of Burmese strongly support her.

    The real question is whether she would be effective. Let’s look at two comparisons for insight.

    The US’s President Obama was thrust into power by the Chicago “Machine”. People who are polite or uninformed call it the Chicago Democratic Machine. But characterizing this as pure politics is to ignore reality. Chicago runs almost exactly like Burma did, up until a few years ago. “The Machine”, as locals call it, has only two purposes. One is to spread the wealth amongst themselves, and the other is to perpetuate itself. At this second matter they are exceedingly talented. Everyone from leftists to gangsters to crooked businessmen always make the effort to get the chosen few elected. So when Obama gets elected, who benefits? The leftists, the gangsters, and the crooked businessmen. Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was an exception, chosen because of political calculus. John Kerry, in the same role, is a nice guy. His resume, on paper, looks stellar. But Russia’s Putin dances circles around Kerry and Obama, without even trying. Why? Because he can.

    Now look at India. Sonia Gandhi gained her popularity through her marriage to her slain husband. She is the power behind the ruling Congress Party. Does she create a cleptocracy, splitting the spoils of her country amongst her friends? No. She picks Manmohan Singh, an Oxford trained economist, to run the country.

    The difference?

    In the US, they’re trying to launch Obamacare. Another level of bureaucracy thrust on top of a medical system drowning in bureaucracy. A half billion dollars spent on the creation of a website on which you have to formally create an elaborate online account, just to browse the site for health care data. It seems that the NSA designed the site, rather than normal programmers. Some day they’ll formally declare the website to be fully functional, and at some point afterwards it really will be. And then there’s Obamacare itself. Millions thrown off of their existing healthcare plans, and only a tiny fraction of that number with new Obamacare insurance. But it will all be better some day. This reminds me of Nancy Pelosi, several years ago, exuding joy because her favorite budget deal would balance the federal budget in the second ten years. (Your daughter just got engaged, and will actually be married in the second ten years.)

    In contrast, Indian leadership is opposing the vested interests in its society, to free up competition to grow the economy. The economy is growing, yet there are innovative safety nets developed to keep the poor from starving.

    Competency does matter.

    Whoever is elected as President will not be all knowing, with all of the best ideas. The hope is that this person will choose to be surrounded by wise and competent people, rather than just all of the friends.

    Wise or not, DASSK, because of her popular support, can most easily sell her ideas to the people of the country, enhancing the possibility of smooth implementations. Let’s hope that the next President will choose competency over friendship.

  9. U Wirathu is right.
    We cannot vote Daw Aung San Su Kyi as our President but she must be our Vice President.

    We cannot underestimate to Bengali problems.Their population is exploding.We need very strong Military.We need very strong Navy and Air Force with latest Technology.

    Nyan Tun must be President.
    Daw Aung San Su Kyi and Min Aung Hlaing must be Vice Presidents.

    U Wirathu is telling the truth.

    • Tha Yin Oo,
      Which planet you’re coming from?
      The President in democratic country was elected by majority of peoples. You can not choose someone for President positions who does not enter election.

      So you mean Daw Su should not be President because of illegal Bengali migrant problem in Burma. How idiot and stupid you were?

      All illegal immigrants issue must be sorting by accordance with Burmese Immigration law. Peoples are misunderstanding about between Burmese Citizenship Act 1947 and 1982. Both laws are similar and nothing has changed for definition of Indigenous Ethnic of Burma.

      The Illegal Bengali Migrants are demanding they must be accepted as indigenous ethnic of Burma. It’s out of question and the answer is “No”. They do not entitled to be one of Burmese indigenous ethnics.
      The Bengali ethnic can not be one of Burmese indigenous ethnic even if Burma has owned Sittagong Hill Tracts because Bengali is not indigenous of Sittagong Hill Tracts.

      Bengali is Bengali and Burmese is Burmese. Some of them can be entitled for naturalized citizen under Burmese Citizenship Act 1947 and 1982. They can not be automatically becoming Burmese citizenship by claiming they are one of indigenous ethnics because they are not Burmese indigenous ethnic peoples at all.

      Ashin U Wirathu does not understand what he talking and preaching to his follower. If he wanted to involve in politic and then he must leave Monkshood. Religion should not be messing around with politic. I have no doubt some of USDP’s members are using Ashin U Wirathu. Ashin U Wirathu followers are small group of narrow minded peoples. Burmese peoples won’t be changed their decision by Ashin U Wirathu speech.

      Only true democratic reform can be produce true Rule of Law in Burma. Everything from illegal immigrant problem to corruption can be sorting out by Rule of Law. That’s why we need to build our Democratic Nation. Daw Su has been talking about we need Rule of Law for long times. Get real and accept reality mate.

    • Every political developement is decide by people and every one that include military must follow whether like or dislike. I hope you are not speaking for the 50 million of Burmese people.

    • Tha Yin Oo, why must Daw Aung San Su Kyi be the Vice President? Is it because without Daw Su, Burma would not get the support from Western countries and the rest of the world? Literally, you want Daw Su as a pawn.

  10. U Wirathu, the Mandalay-based monk who heads the “969” anti-Muslim movement, is qualified enough to run for the Burmese Presidency in 2015. Why not?????? Good Luck Burmese!!!!!

  11. 1982 law is dictatorship law equal to Nazi’s law.
    Not base on justice and international norms. It was a political game only to disqualify Muslims alone not Buddhists population of Arakan.
    Even Buddhist from Bangladesh come to AWrakan, Arakan authority and immigration issue them scrutiny cards. Is it law or justice? The authority is just making mess.

    In the case of U Wirathu, is not to bring as an issue, because he is a monk, not entitle to talk political matters and worldly issues. Must stays in Monastic duties only. Why he is allowed to involve politics? Authority must stop him doing all nonsense. According to the order issued by National Sanga Council, U Wirathu should not exist as monk.

    Undesirable politicians and former military regime cronies are using him as a tool.

  12. Democracy would work when all the people have equal knowledge and understanding. U Withura is correct to be worried for future when Daw Su is elected. There must be some people to be elected before Daw Su to make people in Burma to be fully equipped with knowledge. Su Kyi seems not know much about the country . On the other hand there are many people ( non-Buddhists trying to take advantage by making her or pushing her to be president. What I notice is when ever she open her mouth to stand for non-Buddhists , the deadly violence occurred. We did not come across such illegal migrants have courage to rape and kill back the local or people of host country. Therefore, U Thein Sein and U Shwe Mann need to think twice to handover the power. The people who have to bear the brunt would ne people who live in Arakan State. When the power on the west rise, Arakanese lost their emperor to Burmese. Now, this is your turn because the power on the west side is always stronger.

  13. I hate that sucker monk. Being a monk talking about politics, If Awng san Suki won the election if somebody will loose any things means that hopeless monk will loose and his privileges. Burma will be good if Awngsan sukyi win.

  14. There is some difference in presentation of news between Myanmar and English version. As per Myanmar version presented, I strongly agree with Ashin Wirathu. What he talked is reflected that it is the realistic situation in Myanmar. It is my personal point of view only.

    What i say what i believe.

  15. Media must have justice. And then Irrawaddy used the words ,”969″, anti-Muslim movement …. These words are incorrect because “969” doesn’t mean anti-Muslim movement organization. “969” means all of Buddhists.. because 9 means The Nine Special Qualities of the Buddha , 6 means The Six Qualities of the Dhamma and the last 9 means 9 Qualities of Sangha… So .. why do your media, Irrawaddy, accuse our religion.

    • 969 may be defined as you have described it. But, the actions of the 969 promoters are definitely anti-muslim and will very likely become anti-anything but ethnic Burman. Don’t forget many dictatorship have used anti-minority policies (us verses them) to drive fear into the heart of majority and advanced their political careers. Cases in point, Nazi Germany, Suharto in Indonesia, Japanese Internship camps in the US in WW2 et. al.

      As loud as the current Burmese government is claiming to be democratic, the fact that they let Wirathu run amok with his loose mouth like a fish hawker or a hooker, means that Thein Sein is nothing but a shorter , darker and bald version of Hitler.

  16. Chaos would/Will be relaxed if U Wirathu started to shut up !

  17. Lets get really smart about this. Give Bengali’s Myanmar citizenship if they give up Islam and become Buddhist. What do you think Virathu?

  18. It is Wirathu who is bringing havoc to Myanmar people. He is the real culprit in recent violent clashes between Muslims and local Buddhists.
    He leads ignorant and foolish people. Absolutely not fit to be a monk.
    He likes the current President because he let Wirathu be. A gross mistake.

    We, the majority Myanmar people, do not support Wirathu and his thugs.
    We are fully behind DASSK, in whom Wirathu will find a hard nut to crack.

  19. What is your role as a Buddhist monk – that is the issue you should address first.

  20. U Wirathu is not a Buddhist monk. He is a terrorist who destroys the virtue of Buddhism. The real Buddhist monk never says like that.

  21. Why no body dare to talk about undemocratic and unjust law of 1982 citizenship law? You all are coward. You all like Naziism of Ne Win and the children of military junta.

    If you really love Buddhism why you want to insult other religion like
    angry monks of Arakan. All monks should stay away from politics. Buddhism does not allow monks to be involved in worldly affairs, they should stay within the monastic duties alone. Wirathu is no more monk, he never and ever listen the peoples advices. He thought that he is every things, but in fact he knows nothing about politics.

    ASSK is great, she understand the peoles of Burma what they need. Therefore she wants to become President of Burma. She shouild be that.

  22. That is rootless information. Shame on you, the reporter.

  23. Mr or Monk ???? Wirathu…
    You oust your self with your own words,as “… “I wish [President] Thein Sein to be re-elected. If he refuses to go for the post, my vote will go to Shwe Mann,” …….according to the Myanmar Constitution you are not allowed to vote a President at all,- that is based on the clerics own rules many decades ago and fixed in the constitution of 2008..
    Sure Myanmar ” people ” , would be at present still not be well of with a President Mrs Aung San Sue Kyi,- as most Myanmar people love her ,- so at same time have no ability to live up ASSK standards and ethics for law, rules and common sense of peaceful living together,- mainly through your youtoub presentations, – She so might not be a good President, one thing is clear – you would be worse in such position and very much destructive of Myanmar within Asia and the whole world. Khin Nyunt just said it,- “They are looking out for their own interests by saying they were imprisoned without reason. … Of course they broke the law, and they are guilty,” he said, and you Wirathu were one of them – even same Khin Nyunt war shipped you weeks ago, what a fals and wrong world in Myanmar,–

  24. I’m completely in favor of the separation of Religion and State.
    … These two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is a certain disaster.

  25. Now it is obvious Monk Wirathu is an accomplice, nay, an instigator, of sectarian violence in Myanmar, showing himself as an antagonist of DASSK who had first kept silence and then spoke out against sectarianism and for social harmony. Monk Wirathu absolutely stands for racist-religiosity mindset that calls for action against Muslims. He is guilty of spreading his anti-Muslim teachings by way of leaflets, brochures and CDs.
    If the government tolerates such activities, then it amounts to supporting Monk Wirathu and his thugs.
    I am a devout Buddhist, a vipassana practioner. I have read his book on slandering the Tan Kyi Taung Sayadaw, by going into vipassana sessions just for that purpose. He has no vipassa pannya nor a mind full of metta for all living things. He sounds and looks anti-Buddhist.

  26. U Wirathu, the free food and lodging you are getting from the Burmese public is for you to practice and teach Dhamma to the people and not hate, politics is not for you it is for the politicians, if you want to be a politician please leave the monkhood and work for your living, if you still want free food and lodging. Teach people Metta and Karuna or keep your mouth shut.

  27. I am buddhist and I want anyone to believe what they want and freedom of religions, rights and equality among ethnics (I noted that Rohinya is not an ethnic of Myanmar).
    We should put this Wirathu, Ben Laden – luckily he died, Ayatollah, Assad and all other extremists in same prison cell. Let them kill among themselves for their own belief.
    This “guy” Wirathu (I said “guy” because I don’t believe he is a monk as he is not the follower of rules of Sangha. I see him as an extremist guy in monk’s robe) should be kicked out of monkhood. He has a choice to do politics as normal human.
    I don’t pay respect to anyone who just wear a yellow robe and say that he is a monk. If a monk doesn’t follow rules what Buddha teaches, then he is one of us. I will kick his ass.

  28. Here we are talking about DASSK is suitable to become President or not . As per some, we should listen to U Wirathu. Because he has a very powerful mouth, backing of some notorious Junta Thugs and has his dress as Monk. Though he was kick out from school for his poor performance. To make DASSK not patrotic, this Wirathu the mouth piece of current Junta Govt lectured against Muslims and made other support him with the name of Burmes Buddhist nationalism. First of all we should not give him much interest and treat him as criminal as his hate speeches indirectly killed lot of innocent people. About Rohingya, whether they are suitable for citizen of Burma. We should read what Government of Burma wrote about them. You can find the speeches of various Govt. heads about them. You do not need to read books from outside country. While Burmese Democracy was shining, they were accepted as Rohingya Burmese citizen. Even Ne Win Deputy gave speech in their favor. But to make them state less we should accept Ne Win doctrine of 1982 Law. Why?

  29. Su Kyi is the ones who is trying to make a stone soup for Burma.Anyone who would like to drink that soup should bring and add your herb.

  30. Let the Sangha Mahanayaka risrobe Monk Wirathu. He is defaming Buddhist ideals and practice. Let the majority sangha do this first.
    Then, we will settle the Rohanja issue.
    Whether these do called

  31. This monk Wirathu IS NOT a Buddhist monk. He is Ari of Bagan time before King Anawrathar, a thug, a war-monger and more. Disrobe him first.
    And then, we will deal with the Rohanja issue, peaceably. I plead with the Arakanese brethren to be kind and patient: you understand that metta goes both ways just as much as hate and anger. One thing for sure is that we cannot get rid of them altogether. I think the Arakanese (and hesitantly and hopefully, the Rohanjas) are good enough to solve this problem in a quieter way, without further blood letting.

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