Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Counter people with people: Home Minister

by May Kyaw

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Home Minister of the Burmese military junta had at a point of time exhorted the staff members of the General Administration Department at a meeting to ‘counter people with people and counter politics with politics’.

In the Home Ministry’s directive, a copy of which has been leaked and is with Mizzima, the Home Minister Maj. Gen. Maung Oo had given such a blatant instruction to officials of the General Administration (GA) Department at a meeting in Naypyitaw Home Ministry’s Meeting Hall on 20 January 2007.

“Counter people with people, counter politics with politics. There is no need to get involved personally. Do it carefully and do it daringly,” he had directed.

In the six-page directive, he had instructed organizing of NGOs so as to be pro-government, to mobilze people, not to confront the army, to go in for fund raising for the welfare of the Home Ministry staff members and to monitor the activities of the ‘National League for Democracy’ (NLD).

Moreover Maj. Gen. Maung Oo had also said that the staff of the Home Ministry should use their power for their livelihood instead of begging.

“Regarding smuggling, arrest them. Report to the authorities, anything you seize from them, either a car or a motorcycle. Surrender them to the customs department. You will get 50 per cent reward money from these goods. So you don’t need to beg, but arrest them for your living,” the directive says.

He had also talked of the junta’s plan of holding mass rallies against the opposition forces in late 2007 to senior officials in the GA Department across the country.

Following the saffron revolution in September 2007, protest rallies were organized by the junta backed civilian organisation - ‘Union Solidarity and Development Association’ - in some States and Divisions across the country.

The meeting presided by the Maung Oo was also attended by the Burmese Deputy Home Minister and Director General of the General Administration.

During the meeting, Deputy Minister Brig. Gen. Phone Swe advised GA officials to build trust and win the respect of ethnic people in their respective regions and to prepare for joining a political party.

Director General Myat Ko also informed the ‘District Peace and Development Council’ (DPDC) Chairmen and ‘Township Peace and Development Council’ Chairmen to thoroughly scrutinize before giving recommendations to establishment of social organizations and to make office expenses frugally.

The DPDC and TPDC are under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry’s GA Department. While most Chairmen of DPDC has military backgrounds, a few are selected from the civilians and there are a total of 62 districts in the Burmese administration.

Divisional and State level PDC are controlled and are under the charge of the commander of the military regional command in their respective regions.

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