Myanmar President Urges People in Rakhine State to ‘Look Forward’

Thein Sein Urges People in Arakan State to ‘Look Forward’

Burmese President Thein Sein during a televised address in March 2013. (Photo: President’s Office website)

Burmese President Thein Sein during a televised address in March 2013. (Photo: President’s Office website)

RANGOON — President Thein Sein has urged people in western Burma’s troubled Arakan State to accept and cooperate with a central government plan for peace and development in the region.

In his monthly radio address to the nation—first broadcast on Friday—Thein Sein said that his administration had consulted with civil society groups and the local government in Arakan State to come up with the plan. Violence between local Arakanese Buddhists and Muslims has hit the state sporadically since mid-2012, and about 140,000 people, mostly from the Rohingya Muslim minority, are still living in makeshift camps.

“We plan to implement the project systematically and if we can do that, we believe that the Arakan people’s lives will improve,” Thein Sein said, without giving details of the plan.

While the government was doing its best to improve the situation in the state, he said, the state’s people, civil society and international aid organizations must “look forward to development and cooperate open-mindedly.”

Arakanese Buddhist leaders have said they do not agree with the government’s decision, announced last week, to allow Médecins Sans Frontières to return to Arakan State after it was expelled in February for alleged bias in favor of the Rohingya. Other international NGOs have also had access to the state restricted since Arakanese Buddhists rioted in the state capital of Sittwe in March, ransacking their offices and residences.

During his speech, the president also warned that anyone threatening the peace and stability of the country would be severely punished. He gave the example of inter-communal clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Mandalay early last month, which were triggered by an allegation of rape against two Muslims that was spread on social media but later turned out to have been entirely fabricated.

“We are finding out and penalizing the people responsible for instigating the religious conflicts in Mandalay using concocted accusations,” Thein Sein said.

Giving the example of martyrs in the past who sacrificed for the country’s welfare, the president encouraged Burmese to strive for peace and democracy in cooperation, instead of being divided on lines of race and religion.

He also acknowledged that the political reforms that he initiated when his nominally civilian government took power in 2011 were facing numerous challenges. However, he said, “the taking root of democracy through the continued survival of the political process would be the common standpoint among the political entities of differing views.”


6 Responses to Thein Sein Urges People in Arakan State to ‘Look Forward’

  1. Government needs to listen and try to find out whether their allegation of double standard or impartial treatment of NGOs in Rakhine state first before they are forced to accept the government plan. NGO functions should be assessed daily whether they are in connection with Al-Qaeda networks. Dr. Aye Maung had already submitted their plan to the parliament since 2012. We are not sure whether it was accepted and implemented. It is necessary to make Rule of Law first and rule by Rule of Law. Government must be transparent when deal with Rakhine people. Government must respect the people by listening and solving their unhappiness rather than force them to accept what government wants to do.

  2. CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT!

    Defrocked Soldiers Illegal Government…….

    Resign!

    Where are The Criminals

    That Lynched and Killed Muslim Travelers by Bus in Arakan,

    Started The Carnage

    Stitch In Time Saves Nine

    You are Responsible For Buddhist / Muslim Dis – Unity

    Shame! Shame!

    Stop Deceiving The World……

  3. We all know the real victim of all these developments and very sad sagas are the local Arakanese people themselves, brought about over the years by untold level of corruption and brutality of Ne Win & Burmese army, lawlessness and complete lack of short-term, medium-term, long-term planning as well as the very lack of knowledge of what is exactly happening there during the eras of Ne Win & successive military dictators.

    But we also must understand in this day and time, we cannot deny the a group of people their existence. As much as we need help, they also need help, even more desperately. Besides, many of them are born and bred here. Demographic experts must take charge and the way is to approach them from all over the world how to go about. Definitely, solutions are there, since many other countries have similar problems. We must find the solutions and must find now. We cannot leave it for next generation. Otherwise, the problem will become even bigger.

  4. Sure, the PRESIDENT says “look forward”, Rohingyas!!!
    Rohiiiinnnngyas!!!!! Look forward to:
    - getting into rickety, squeaky,leaky and overcrowded makeshift boats
    - pushed into sea off the coast of your beloved Arakan State
    - sprayed with bullets from high velocity guns of Burma Navy’s helicopters AND…..
    - a wonderful life in the undersea world!!!!

    Thanks Mr. PRESIDENT for your bright idea, futuristic vision and sympathy for Arkanese Rohingyas.

  5. Dear President now you are in right track. You recognize now Muslims given lives in the struggle of Burmese independent and include in Martyrs. We Muslims of Burma never and ever discriminate among the society. Muslims surrendered arms in the past, that is a historical record in Burma. To day many peoples creating enemy and hatred within society and discriminate due to faith, it is going stone age in Burma. Let those peoples learn more how Muslims has contributed for the country.

    On way back of 1947-48, Rangoon was nearly fallen to a group of Karen rebel, by that time Muslim Minister U Rachid went to India and brought arms and ammunition with two ships full loaded to Burma and safe the country from the hand of rebel.

    That is why enough is enough, let us stay in a good manner and good boys of Burma ( Myanmar ) under peaceful co-existence with harmony without any discrimination of faith and religion.

  6. How can people believe you?. Once you asked UN to make way for Rohingya for third country. But UN refused. After that Arkan state changed to hell for Rohingyas to live in . It is deliberately made hell for Rohingya by some powerful hands. Western countries doubt Burmese Government involvement there. I think your sugar coated words “ Mee Pa Pyay Thu Mya “ will not work anymore. Your involvement in killing 8888 protesters is coming out slowly.

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