Authority Increases Electricity to Taungup to Avoid Protests

Protest in Taungup Against Referendum

Taungup: The military government has adopted the new tactic this year of providing more electricity to Taungup in an effort to placate residents and avoid further protests like those that have taken place over the last few years.

Taungup is a town located in western Burma’s Arakan State where dozens of protests against the military government have broken out over the last few years, in spite of efforts by the authorities to crack down on such demonstrations.

Every Burmese person knows of the town’s role in the democracy movement in Burma due to the many protests that have been staged there. As a result of the protests, many democracy activists in the town have been arrested by the authorities and sentenced to long prison terms.

U Kyaw Khaing, Chairman of Taungup Township’s NLD, was sentenced to two years in prison while Ko Min Aung, General Secretary of the township NLD, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

U Khin Hla, Vice-Chairman of Taungup Township’s NLD, as well as many youths, including Ms. Ni Ni May Myint, Moe Nay Soe, Chit Mg Mg, Maung Maung Thet, and Than Htay, are being detained in several prisons for their anti-junta activities.

Speaking to Narinjara over the phone, a youth from Taungup said, “The authority has been distributing electricity twice a day to our town, during the day and night, since the beginning of August. It is very strange compared to previous times, but I know why the authority is supplying more power to our town – it is intended to placate people and lure them to support the government.”

The authority supplies electricity from the state-owned generator in the town from 6 pm to 10 pm at night, and supplies electricity from another generator owned by businessman U Kyauk Taung from 10 am to 4 pm during the day.

“U Kyauk Taung is a business partner of army generals in Burma. He distributes the electricity in the town during the day, but the authority provides the fuel for his generator,” the youth said.

According to a local source, the government has also constructed a black-top paved road between downtown and the traffic jetty in a further attempt to gain support of the locals for the upcoming election, and to avoid protests. The road was ruthless in the past and people were unable to travel it in cars.

In Arakan State there are several towns larger than Taungup, including Sittwe, Thandwe, and Kyauk Pru, but they are currently not getting more than three hours of electricity a day.

A poster and leaflet campaign urging people to oppose Election

monastery in Kyauk Pru

A monastery in Kyauk Pru

Kyauk Pru: A poster and leaflet campaign urging people to oppose the upcoming junta-planned election and the political parties that have registered to run has been occurring in Kyaukpru Township in western Burma’s Arakan State, report local residents.

A resident of Kyaukpru told Narinjara that posters stating, “Oppose the Election to Save Yourself from Being a Lifelong Military Slave”, and leaflets bearing the title, “Oppose the Registered Political Parties in Support of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”, were posted and distributed in public places throughout the city during the night of 6 August.

“It was amazing to see such a poster and leaflet in almost every place including households, markets, and offices in our town. But we do not know yet who has done this. We heard that the campaign is still spreading to the rural areas such as Krettin, Pyatwe, Saikrun, Katthapyay, and so many other villages in our township,” the resident said.

They added that the leaflets are urging the public to boycott the election by not voting for any political party, accusing the parties of being national traitors that support legitimizing the military junta that seized state power by force and illegal maneuvers.

A goldsmith from the Kyaukpru market reported that local police came to their market the next morning and took the posters and leaflets from their shops, and interrogated the shopkeepers about whether they saw the culprits. However, no shopkeepers were arrested for possessing the posters or leaflets.

According to the source, local authorities have been stepping up security with the deployment of police forces in every place that draws crowds, and four police vehicles have been patrolling the streets around the clock since the anti-election campaign started.

Kyaukpru is one of the towns that supported the National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in the 1990 election in Arakan State.

Special Branch police are suspicious that NLD members may be involved in the campaign because the leaflets contained the name of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. They have been closely watching local NLD members since the campaign started, said the sources

Narinjara news

Thai language degree introduced at Burmese university

Kong Janoi, IMNA : The University of Foreign Languages in Yangon [Rangoon] (YUFL) plans to launch a new Thai language  degree program during the 2010-2011 academic year.

An official from the University’s new Thai Language department told IMNA that implementing  a new Thai language program is part of an expansion project for the university. She declined to give further comment.

Former UFL students who are currently pursuing further studies in Bangkok feel that increasing their proficiency in the Thai language will be beneficial for their future careers; many pointed to the thousands of Burmese students currently studying in Thailand and the millions of Burmese migrant workers who are employed in the country.

A UFL alumni, who is currently studying in Thailand, says the inclusion of Thai in the University’s curriculum provides a great opportunity to young people in Burma.

“Thailand is our neighboring country and its economy is growing. This is the University of Foreign Language so they [ the University] need to implement the courses that will attract students,” she said.

Another former student currently enrolled at a Thai University said the UFL is one of Burma’s most selective  universities, after the University of Medicine; UFL programs are highly sought after by students who hope to find international employment.

Many, like the students interviewed above, applaud the addition of a Thai language program to universities in Burma as a step towards empowering Burma and Burmese citizens’ economic negotiations with Thailand.  Others do not greet the news with complete optimism.

Dr Sean Turnell, associate professor in economics at Macquarie University in Sydney, and Burma economic expert, cautioned IMNA that audiences must consider the larger nature of  economic relations between the two countries, and take care not to overplay the actual power that proficient Thai will give Burma or Burmese citizens:

“In and of itself, this decision to teach Thai is a good thing. Burma will, and must, always have a close economic relationship with Thailand, and such teaching should only help Burma get the most out of this relationship.”

“However, there is a problem at the degree of imbalance in the economic relationship between the two countries at the moment, which is probably the source of why some might be uncomfortable at news like this. Put simply, Burma is little more than a quarry and source of unfinished raw materials for Thailand and other countries…”

The three-year bachelor degree programs at Burma’s two universities of foreign languages, located in Rangoon and Mandalay respectively, already offer English, French, Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean and Russian language courses. Thai will only at present be offered at the Rangoon-based site. This week’s edition of Burma’s Weekly-Eleven journal reported  that entrance depends on university entrance exam scores, with top students earning places in the ultra-competitive English program.  The journal also reported that admission to the new Thai program may demand high marks as well.

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August 13th Inside Burma News

“The multi-party general elections will be held throughout Myanmar on November 7 ( Sunday ) this year,” the Union Election Commission ( UEC ) announced this morning.

This announcement of UEC was read out by the state-owned TV Myanmar at 10 am ( MST ) this morning.

This will be the first general elections to be held in Myanmar in two decades time. In the last general elections held on May 27, 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy ( NLD ) won by landslide capturing 392 seats out of 485 seats at stake.

But this time as it turned out the NLD, which has rejected the military government’s 2008 State Constitution, has chosen to boycott the forthcoming general elections, which is to be held under this constitution.

In deciding not to re-register with the Union Election Commission which amounted to boycotting the forthcoming general elections, the NLD has also openly criticized the Electoral laws and Political Parties Registration Law as “unfair and unjust.”

Together with the NLD, four other existing political parties including NLD’s biggest allied party namely Shan Nationalities League for Democracy ( SNLD ) also decided to boycott the forthcoming general elections.

Now all these five political parties including NLD have become defunct because of their refusal to re-register with the Union Election Commission.

However so, from among 10 political parties that have existed for two decades, five political parties including pro-government National Unity Party ( former Burma Socialist Programme Party of the late General Ne Win ) have chosen to apply for their continued existence.

As of yesterday evening, a total of 47 political parties have submitted applications to the UEC to form and to exist as political parties.

According to the latest announcement made by the UEC, out of 47 political parties that have submitted applications to form and exist as political parties, 40 parties including the all powerful government’s party namely the Union Solidarity and Development Party ( USDP ) have been granted permission to register as political parties.

“The remaining seven political parties are still under scrutiny for receiving the permission to register as political parties,” the announcement said.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party ( USDP ), which was formed by Prime Minister U Thein Sein and 26 other ministers and deputy ministers, who have resigned from the military posts to contest in the elections, is still by far and large the biggest and most powerful political party.

The ( USDP ) has already opened its headquarters in Nay Pyi Taw and is currently busy opening its branches throughout the country.

8888-NLD Aug.2010 by Niknayman

ဘဘဦးတင္ဦးႏွင္႔ ဘဘဦး၀င္းတင္ ဦးေဆာင္၍ တာေမြၿမိဳ႕နယ္ NLD အဖြဲ႔၀င္မ်ားထဲမွ အက်ဥ္းက်ေနေသာ ပါတီ၀င္မ်ား၏ မိသားစုမ်ားကို ေတြ႔ဆံု။
ယေန႔ ၁၃ ရက္ ေန႔တြင္ ဘဘဦးတင္ဦးႏွင္႔ ဘဘဦး၀င္းတင္ဦးေဆာင္၍ တာေမြၿမိဳ႕နယ္ NLD အဖြဲ႔၀င္မ်ားထဲမွ အက်ဥ္းက်ေနေသာပါတီ၀င္မ်ား၏ မိသားစုမ်ားကို ေတြ႔ဆံု၍ အားေပးစကားေၿပာၾကားမွဳမ်ား ျပဳလုပ္ခဲ့ေႀကာင္း သိရွိရပါသည္။