Group Changes Rules to Allow Political Participation

By Irrawaddy

The influential Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) changed its governing regulations at a meeting in Nayphidaw on March 31 to allow members to take part in politics.

The change is interpreted by observers as allowing influential businessmen to join political parties and to run as candidates in the 2010 national election.

According to participants at the meeting, UMFCCI bylaws had required members to resign if they joined a political party.

“No one from the organization is now prohibited by the regulations, so anyone can take part in the election,” said a businessman in Rangoon.

UMFCCI is made up of 18,300 members representing business people, factory owners and local traders.

Rangoon-based businessmen said the move was interpreted as allowing junta-friendly businessmen to run as supporters of the military government. However, well-informed sources said most local business people do not wish to take part in the election, even at the urging of the government.

“The military government founded the UMFCCI and the key players of the organization are supporters of the government, so nobody can say it is an anti-government organization,” said the owner of a construction company in Rangoon.

Currently, the UMFCCI chairman is Win Myint of Taze Township in Sagaing Division. Unconfirmed reports said Win Myint plans to run as a candidate for parliament from Taze Township in the forthcoming election.

The UMFCCI was founded in 1927 as the Burmese Chamber of Commerce. In 1989, one year after the Burmese junta seized power, it was reorganized as UMFCCI by traders and manufacturers across the country.

Another Armed KNU Group Defects to the Junta

Seventy-one Karen rebels led by Nay Soe Mya, the son of the late KNU leader, Gen Saw Bo Mya, defected along with 88 family members to the Burmese military government on March 30, according to the state-backed The New Light of Myanmar.

“Concerned officials, and the local people, extended a warm welcome to Saw Nay Soe Mya and his party who returned to the legal fold,” the newspaper said on Saturday.The splinter group joins another KNU splinter group, the KNU/ KNLA Peace Council, led by Bo Mya’s relative, Htay Maung [also know as Htain Maung], in Htokawko Village in Karen State. Htay Maung split from the KNU and “returned to the legal fold” in early 2007. Continue reading “Another Armed KNU Group Defects to the Junta”

3 April (2008), death of Kyemon U Thaung (1926-2008), renowned senior journalist, writer, political

7 April (1950), World Health Day. It is celebrated to create “awareness of a specific health theme to
highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization.”

7 April (2008), death of Ludu Daw Ahmar (a) Amah (1915-2008), renowned senior journalist, Mother of

9 April (1967), Founding Day of Arakan Liberation Party (ALP)

10 April (2000), Kayan National Day

11 April (1919), Founding Day of the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Burmese Freedom Calendar

Myanmar’s Karen face further plights

Monday, April 6, 2009

THE announcement on Saturday of the March 30 mass surrender of 159 Karen soldiers and families led by Nay Soe Mya, a son of late Karen rebel leader general Bo Mya, has stirred a mixed reaction from stakeholders and international observers of the Karen rebels’ 60-year fight for independence.

The ethnic Karen’s ongoing fight for autonomy is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain as Myanmar’s military chips away at its remaining hold on the mountainous border region with Thailand, analysts say.

Nay Soe Mya, one of three surviving sons of Bo Mya – who died a legendary warrior in 2006 aged 81 – has joined Htain Maung, a former brigade leader, who was sacked from the Karen army in January 2007 after making an independent peace deal with the government, a Karen guerrilla on the Thai-Myanmar border said.

Htain Maung is believed to have been allocated land for settlement and permitted to carry on a logging trade.

“We consider them traitors who have become defeatist, and corrupt, too. They want money and they have been given (trade) concessions,” the rebel fighter said. Nay Soe Mya is related by marriage to Htain Maung, he added.

The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as the ruling junta calls itself, is keen to suppress all potential problems ahead of elections designed to produce a “civilian government” controlled by the military early next year. Continue reading “Myanmar’s Karen face further plights”

Medicare for detained Shan leader ‘in name only’

MONDAY, 06 APRIL 2009 15:49 S.H.A.N.
Medical checkup and treatment given to elected Shan party leader, who has been languishing in the northernmost prison of junta-ruled Burma since 2005, has been perfunctory, according to sources close to his family.

The 66 year old politician has been suffering from diabetes, “sweet blood” and high blood pressure. “At least we should thank the prison authorities for allowing us to buy him necessary medication,” said one.
He is also allowed to take a 1 hour walk outside his cell each day, added another.

He is being held in a solitary cell with no radio to listen to but only reading materials approved by the authorities.

His family, “mostly it is his wife” who lives in Rangoon, is allowed to visit him once a month.

Despite the ordeal, his spirits reportedly remain high. “He always urges us not to abandon our ideals on account of him,” said one. “His self-possession is such he even earns respect from other inmates, which include Gen Khin Myunt’s former officers.”

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions stated on 24 March that the ruling military junta, being an illegitimate government, had no right to charge him and his colleagues for treason. One of them, ‘Math’ Myint Than, died in Sandoway on 2 May 2006. All of them were sentenced from 75 years to 106 years. Hkun Htun Oo got 95 years.

Human traffickers arrested the child, while he was collecting plastics and tins in Jail Gao town, on March 27. When he went to Jail Gao, he carried the younger child on his back. The child, was killed and the other younger child has been lost since that time and has not yet been found.

Chinese officials demand money to return body of a Burmese child
SATURDAY, 04 APRIL 2009 20:51

A Chinese hospital has demanded Kyat 200,000 to release the body of a Burmese child, which was discovered near a Sino-Burmese border town. The Chinese hospital has claimed that it would only return the body to the child’s family, provided the family paid Kyat 200,000.

The child aged eight, with his 8-month old brother, was lost in Jail Gao town, opposite to Burma’s Muse Township. The body of the child was discovered on March 30, at the base of old Shweli-Jail Gao Bridge, but his parents could not bring the body back and therefore could not cremate it.

The body has been kept in Shweli Hospital. The parents of the child could not pay 1782 Yuen (over 2,70,000 Kyat) demanded by the Chinese hospital. Therefore, his parents could not claim the body from the hospital, a relative of the child’s parents said.

“They cannot afford to pay over 1,000 Yuen for bringing back the body. They are very poor and collect plastics and tins for daily survival. Therefore, they have a problem, because the hospital has demanded money. Currently, they are asking for help from other people living in this area,” he said.

U Win Oo, the child’s father, is a former municipal man in Muse. Even though the Muse municipal department has said that the department will help towards cremation, but the department cannot pay any money for bringing the body back from the Chinese hospital. Therefore, the parents have a problem because the Muse police department only wrote a recommendation letter and did not provide any help, a local from Muse said. Continue reading “Human traffickers arrested the child, while he was collecting plastics and tins in Jail Gao town, on March 27. When he went to Jail Gao, he carried the younger child on his back. The child, was killed and the other younger child has been lost since that time and has not yet been found.”

A shootout on the Mekong River between Myanmar’s army and a rebel militia killed one and injured three Chinese sailors and motivated a manhunt that involved the security forces of four nations.

Manhunt is on for Mekong Robin Hood
By Brian McCartan

CHIANG MAI – A shootout on the Mekong River between Myanmar’s army and a rebel militia killed one and injured three Chinese sailors and motivated a manhunt that involved the security forces of four nations. The mid-February incident underlined the still-lawless nature of the notorious drug-producing Golden Triangle, where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet and where China is making strong trade and investment inroads.

The ethnic Shan rebel Naw Kham, 48, the target of the manhunt, is a former member of drug lord Khun Sa’s Mong Tai Army and current leader of the Hawngleuk militia, known to be active around the Myanmar border town of Tachilek.

Naw Kham is wanted dead or alive by certain regionalgovernments and stands accused by Western counter-narcotics officials for drug trafficking. Yet he remains immensely popular among many of the Golden Triangle’s poor rural residents, who see him as a sort of modern-day Robin Hood for his daring attacks on rich Chinese commercial interests.

As a government-sanctioned militia leader, he was known to have close contacts with certain factions of Myanmar’s army, particularly the divisions responsible for the remote Shan State. Those contacts included ties to Major General Ko Ko, previously commander of the Tachilek area in the late 1990s and currently chief of the army’s Bureau of Special Operations Number 3, which is responsible for the Pegu and Irrawaddy Divisions. Continue reading “A shootout on the Mekong River between Myanmar’s army and a rebel militia killed one and injured three Chinese sailors and motivated a manhunt that involved the security forces of four nations.”

KIA’s deputy chief of staff dies

by Salai Pi Pi
Monday, 06 April 2009 18:03

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Brigadier Hpung Gan Zau Nan, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) died of cancer on the Sino-Burma border today.

An official of the KIA, the armed wing of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the ethnic armed group which has a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese military junta, said on condition of anonymity that Brigadier Hpung Gan Zau Nan (over 62) died in KIA’s Army hospital in Laiza in Kachin state at 10:10 a.m. on Monday.

“He died of cancer this morning but I don’t know exactly yet what sort of cancer he was suffering from,” an official of the KIA told Mizzima on Monday.

Asked how much his death will affect the organization, he said, “It is too early to say anything. We need to have a meeting.”

Zau Nan was the former commander of Brigade 4 and 6 before being promoted to the rank of Deputy Commander-in-chief of the Kachin Armed group, according to a KIA official. Continue reading “KIA’s deputy chief of staff dies”