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Burma President must fight against corruption, in favor of reforms

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Burma President Thein Sein flew to Tiddim of Falam District in Chin State from Kalay of Sagaing Region Saturday morning since he carried on his inspection tour, The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said Sunday. He was accompanied by Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Vice- Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commanderin- Chief (Air) Maj-Gen Khin Aung Myint, Union ministers, chief ministers of Sagaing Region and Chin State, according to the state-run media.

President Thein Sein called on different executives of governmental organizations to amend their way of thinking and the way they behave corresponding to the democratization procedure as he met district and township level departmental staff at Aung-Zeya-Yeiktha in Kalay.

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The President said that he has heard information presented by Union ministers on progress of reforms concerning groundwork designed for nationwide census-taking in 2014, maintenance of forest resources and bio-diversity, government's support for livestock farming, development of education promotion plans and upgrading of public health-care and rural health-care service assistance, proceedings for rule of law and financial matters.

The objective of the government is peace and stability of the State protected by the rule of law. The country needs peace and stability to stand tall on the international stage by means of improving the socio-economic condition of the citizens, noted the President. Lower authorities of the governmental organs are to accomplish their duties with a sense of responsibility, loyalty and honesty to guarantee efficiency of the governance, the President said.

He also said that there are many more to do concerning the ongoing political and economic reforms as challenges and difficulties remain ahead, the President pointed out. He urged the government employees starting from departmental heads to office workforce to become accustomed themselves to meet the demands of changing time and the social order.

He articulated the duty for proficiency and integrity of respective department to guarantee cooperation of administrative organization. He called on them to change their way of thinking and manners. He called for forceful collaborative hard work to smooth the progress of the country to stand tall among worldwide nations.

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In fact, Chin State is the poorest area of the country with 73.3% per cent of the natives below the poverty line according to data surveyed by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2009-2010. The region was ignored by consecutive regimes without giving support to the infrastructural growth and social welfare of this region. Even now, President Thein Sein has just continued saying that he has heard information from Union ministers on progress of the current reforms.

On the contrary, reforms seem no progress in grassroots since farmers and workers are in despair because their lands and properties have been unlawfully confiscated by the military, local authorities and cronies. As a result, unemployment problem has been seriously come forward and more than five millions of unemployed citizens have to leave the homeland in the hunt for jobs in neighboring countries. Most of the Chin migrants are in neighboring India and Malaysia due to unemployment and food shortage problems in Chin State.

Burma remains one of the world's least developed countries, and was ranked 149 out of 187 countries in the 2011 UN's Human Development Index. The HDI represents a push for a broader definition of well-being and provides a composite measure of three basic dimensions of human development: health, education and income.

Burma was typically ranked 172 out of 176 along with the most corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index -- in 2012. Burma was ranked fifth from the bottom after Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.

"It takes time for people's behaviour to change and even more for perceptions to then change as well, especially in a place like Myanmar where these reforms are still very new," Samantha Grant, TI's Programme Coordinator for Southeast Asia, told AlertNet (Thomson Reuters Foundation) via an e-mail interview.

Words alone are not enough, said Grant. High-quality legislation that closes opportunities for impunity needs to introduced and implemented effectively. "Despite signing the UNCAC (United Nations Convention against Corruption), it is the only country in ASEAN which has not yet ratified it," she said.

"To improve its score in 2013, Myanmar will need to continue with genuine reforms and we will need to see consistent political will from the top," she added. "These processes do take time and Myanmar will need all the support it can get." TI hopes to work with people in Myanmar to support these efforts.

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So, President Thein Sein should be aware of Samantha Grant's advice -- "Words alone are not enough." The first thing he has to do is to fight against corruption that entrenched through every level of the governmental body. No reform can do well without eliminating corruption, and with corruption,  no government can make clean itself.

 

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)
 

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