Monday, August 14, 2017

Comprehensive forum proves progress of democratic transition

August 13, 2017
Six papers presented at the Forum on Myanmar Democratic Transition were reviewed at the Myanmar International Convention Centre-2 yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw.

As regards the paper “Global Overview Setting the Framework” Professor Daw Chaw Chaw Sein of International Relations Department of Yangon University said she would like to highlight six points and discuss the topics on “Wave of Democratization and Types of Democracy: and “Third Wave”. There were discussions on the difference between Arab Spring and Myanmar Spring, the hardships of democratization and the greater degree of difficulties in countries facing wars or battles, she said. The discussions included China’s impact on the regional countries, democracy and progress which could draw the attention of youths, the transition of Myanmar, a multi-national state, is different from other countries, matters on commitment, coordination and cooperation, the need of patience in the transition which is an endless process, democracy and peace that should always stand together, and diversity which should be an opportunity, she said, adding, many agreed the absence of a fixed model in transition.

Recounting the discussion, Daw Chaw Chaw Sein said transition process needs stability, and Myanmar’s transition is stable and wins international recognition, the transition from military rule to civilian rule, from centralized econmic system to open market economy and from war to peace, the need for stability whether it is a top down process or bottom up process, the emergence of poverty from social instability, the public understanding of the transition and no-U-turn transition were interesting topics.

She noted the important role of the rule of law, the firmness of the rule of law, internal security and institutions and the absence of corruption in democracy, the holding of such forums also in the provinces, the youth involvement, the invitation of the Tatmadaw for transition, reinforcement of the transition through promotion of military-civilian relations by encouraging more public participation in the Tatmadaw’s role, the essential role of the people in political, economic and social sectors, self-determination and all-inclusiveness in the nation building task as important issues.

Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Lwin Ko Latt reviewed the paper on political transition from military to civilian government, saying that international transition processes, especially the one in Indonesia were studied; that the summary of the Panelist discussions pointed out the requirement of multi reforms involving reforms in military-civilian relations in the democratic transition in addition to free and fair elections. He said countries under transition have the military-controlled Security Council. Depending on situation the military influence is still large, and assumed that the strengthening of civilian organizations will gradually decrease military influence. He said some discussed the fact that powerful military involvement in politics will pose hardships in strengthening the government, parliament, and judicial bodies. He said it is found that economic growth and security have direct relations, which is a worrisome situation for the people of the countries under transition that military might seize power with lack of security and stability as the reason. Political and racial extremism and political confrontation are also worrisome for people. He said he also notices the various types of transition theories, and the possibility of the transition based on firm goals, views and unity among the civilian organizations. He said there were suggestions in connection with the ending of internal armed conflicts through peaceful means, the support for military reforms, the new role and duties of the Tatmadaw in civilian and military reforms and sharing of benefits of the transition among all stakeholders including the Tatmadaw.

The discussions dealt with the work of building trust in the fact that the Tatmadaw also is a part of the government, reinforcing the peace process and transition process with the greater involvement of civilian organizations. In his review he said more forums should be held for the greater transparency of the political and peace process through distribution of authentic information, which would ensure public participation in making important decisions for the country. He said political and economic security and stability can be harmed during the transition, that greater military-civilian cooperation will support the transition through security and stability enforcement.

Deputy Minister for Commerce U Aung Htoo reviewed the paper on Central control economic system to market economy system, saying  there were discussions on the practice of socialism in Myanmar in the past, the centralized economic system and the market economy system under the Tatmadaw government, 23 years the transition from centralized economic system to the market economy system took, opportunities and challenges, drug problem, the issue of internal peace, 2008 Constitution, trade deficit, the need to harmoniously implement the peace process and the market economy, the possible deterioration of the national situation through poor economy, harmonious efforts to ensure peace and economic development as there is the correlation between the two, the weakness in cooperation in connection with the challenges, the reinforcement of coordination and cooperation under the leadership of the State Counsellor, poverty alleviation, benefits of economic growth, the important of the private sector in national economy, farming sector which contributes 30 per cent of the GDP, as the most important business of the private sector, transparency in budget transfers, clear goals for economic progress, practical means for economic progress.

Mr. Christophoros Politis of UNDP (Myanmar) reviewed the topic on “From war to peace”. Saying he has noticed the issues on dos and don’ts, cooperation as the success for transition, greater education reforms, drumming up of the public awareness on peace, prioritization of peace economy over war economy, power sharing though democratic means, social welfare undertaking of the civilian government, all-inclusive and constructive power sharing, realization of a system suitable to the country politically, socially and culturally.

U Kyaw Lin Oo of Peace Commission also discussed the issue, saying the discussions were centred on the three groups of the transition process, coordination between anti-transition group and pro-transition group, the dependence of the reforms on the success of the coordination, international experts’ views on war-less peace and full peace, implementing of a peace process acceptable to all, the three important points for the success of the national reconciliation which are forgiveness, substitution, and reconstruction for justice, national reconciliation through greater cooperation instead of revenge, legal reforms, law-making mainly based on State building, wider understanding among stakeholders, the distribution of public peace awareness through MPs, the implementation of infrastructures and machinery  for peace to save victims from miseries.

Ms. Isabella Kurkowski of DW Akademie made the review of the role of media in Myanmar democratic transition, saying, media itself is in the reform process. She then dealt with the significant development of social media in Myanmar, the popularity of the forum among the public, the arrival of 38 foreign correspondents to the forum, developments and challenges of the media, international norm of the media, the media law, issuance of reliable information by the government bodies, media strategy policy and plans for its development, trust-building among government, parliament and media, media as part of democracy development, development of ethnic media, media policy and strategy.

As regards the topic, Director Daw Thin Thin Aung of Mizzima Media Group also said a certain length of time is required in reducing the Tatmadaw’s involvement in which all-inclusiveness is an important part. She also said there were suggestions on the progress, corrupt-free administrative machinery, and the assessment of possible benefits in adopting a policy.

Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint thanked all for the success of the forum, saying, the forum has successfully concluded although the exact date for the success of the Myanmar democratic transition cannot be fixed. He expressed thanks to State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for her opening address and all other participants and supporters.  He said transparency has been ensured to the most possible degree for the appearance of a wide array of recommendations, assessments and comments. So there was freedom of speech, and open discussions in connection with the government’s accomplishments are welcomed and recognized. Candid criticisms have made the forum more comprehensive and active, and this shows the progress of the democratic transition.  The panel discussion entitled, “Where is Myanmar in its Transition?” is the most interesting topic of the forum. After hearing the discussions of the forum, we fell that the potentiality of democratic transition has exceeded 50 per cent and the forum a success.
Myanmar News Agency
Ref; The Global New Light of Myanmar

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