Shan State South People threatened with legal action to shun ceasefire rebels

MONDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2012 17:58 S.H.A.N.

People in Laikha township, Shan State South, where the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ is active, has been warned by military authorities to steer clear of the SSA or face the notorious Section 17-1 (unlawful association), according to local sources.

The warning was served to the community leaders on 11 October by Chief of Operations Col Lin Aye Zaw at the Infantry Battalion # 64 post.

“We are also required to report ourselves to him every Tuesday since,” said a quarter committee member. (Towns are divided into quarters).

The people of Laikha are not exclusive. On 13 September, community leaders in Manzam village tract who were summoned to Namtu were also given similar warning. The SSA South’s sister organization, the SSA North, is active there.

The SSA South concluded a ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw on 2 December 2011, followed by the SSA North on 28 January 2012.

Meanwhile, 9 village heads suspected of associating with the Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), a group that has yet to reach a ceasefire agreement, were summoned and beaten at the Manzam military post on 16 October.

According to Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator for peace U Aung Min, ceasefire agreements are to be followed by development projects in rebel-controlled areas and political dialogue. So far, most of the 13 armed groups have set up liaison offices in towns and cities and are holding consultations with the people, civil societies and political parties in preparation for the long-awaited political dialogue.

KNU to hold emergency central committee meeting

Karen_flagertyhvcKaren National Union (KNU) will hold an emergency Central Committee meeting at the KNU’s Brigade (7) Headquarters on October 22nd, according to the chairman of Hpa-an District and KNU committee member Pado Aung Maung Aye. “We will hold a meeting either on October 22nd or the 23rd. First, we will have a non-formal reconciliation meeting and then we will gather again for our central committee meeting,” he said.

The meeting is being held to discuss the opening of KNU’s liaison office in Hpa-an, which became a controversial topic and major created tension between the representatives of the General Staff and the Central General secretaries last September. The issue split KNU into two sides, Brigade’s (2) and (5) advocated on the side of the Central General Secretaries, while Brigades (1), (3), (4), (6) and (7) advocated for the General Staff.

This issue led to the dismissal of KNLA’s Chief of Staff, General Mu Htu Shay Poe, the Vice Secretary, Saw David Taw, and the Officer in Charge of the Relief and Social Services Department, Pado Rol Jer Khin, from the organization.


In the meeting the KNU will nominate people for the newly open positions and make plans for KNU’s 15th Anniversary Congress, where they will vote for the nominees. Currently, there are 30 Central Committee members, 15 Standing Committee members and 11 Central Executive Committee members.

Burma_Myanmar: Running an unofficial private bank can lead to jail sentence

No private foreign bank has been officially allowed to open in Myanmar and anyone running a private foreign bank without permission can be sentenced up to 5 years in jail, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance and Revenue in state newspapers.

The Directorate of Investment and Companies confirmed that no foreign bank had officially registered and no foreigner was running a special foreign bank in Myanmar.

The press release stated that it is required by law to apply for official permission to run financial services in the country and anyone can contact Myanmar Central Bank for more information if they are in doubt about any financial services.

Although there is no official private foreign bank, there are 22 representative offices of foreign banks and a foreign financial services firm in Myanmar.

“We will allow any foreign bank good enough for our country to cooperate with local private banks,” said an official from the ministry.

Alisher Ali, an Uzbek, founded Myanmar’s first investment bank Mandalay Capital in July. He invested US$1 million of his own money in the bank, which will provide macro-economic risk advisory services and capital management for investors at home and abroad. He also raised $25 million in Myanmar’s first dedicated investment fund, which closed its fund-raising last month. He founded Eurasia Capital in Mongolia in 2008 and it was successful.

Myanmar faces infrastructural problems such as poor education, weak communications system and insufficient power supply following long years of military rule.

Burma_Myanmar: 1962 press act still looms over Myanmar media

Although the Myanmar government has lifted its pre-publication censorship covering news journals, the media still needs to be wary of the 1962 Press Act, media industry insiders said.

“There are still people making ‘offside traps’ in the media. The 1962 law is still there. So, we need to be cautious all the time,” said Dr Than Htut Aung, chairman and CEO of Eleven Media Group.

He was referring to the 1962 Press Act that imposes a maximum seven-year jail term for journalists who violate it.

He warned that there are people in the government who want to set back the reform process by trying to control the media.

“[The media] need to work together to deal with the problems. We need to watch over our journalists and the editorial teams so that they do not make any ‘offside’”, he added.

The Ministry of Information has recently instructed the Press Council to take action on sport news journals that encourage gambling like ‘spread betting’. This has caused a media war on Facebook.

“We have urged the Press Council to make necessary rules and restrictions for sports journals and report the spread betting,” Deputy Information Minister Ye Htut posted on Facebook.

But Kyaw Min Swe, secretary of the Press Council, claimed that the body has not received any report from the ministry or Ye Htut.

He struck back at the ministry for the rules that affected the press scrutiny board?

Some of the media was charged by the previous censorship board.

Chit Win Maung, a member of the press council and chief editor of a Tat Lan Journal, disagreed with the ministry’s instruction.

“Although press censorship no longer exists, it’s as if the Ministry of Information is trying to control us,” said Chit Win Maung.

“The 1962 Press law still exists so we can be sued anytime. While the press council is trying to strength the fourth pillar, I feel that this is not a form of cooperation but a kind of hindrance,” said Zaw Thet Htwe, another member of the press council.

Since the new government took office last year, it has introduced a series of reforms including the lifting of media censorship. Prior to this, it imposed a pre-publication censorship covering newspapers.

The Ministry of Information is in the process of redrafting the media law with the press council and it is uncertain whether the new draft bill could be passed in the ongoing parliamentary session, which resumed on October 18.

DAW Aung San Suu Kyi to visit India in November

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will visit India on November 13 to deliver the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Lecture in New Delhi.

This is going to be her first visit in years to a country where she studied and her mother served as an ambassador.

Suu Kyi studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in New Delhi. Later in 1964, she graduated from Lady Shri Ram College, also in New Delhi, with a degree in politics. Her mother, Daw Khin Kyi, served as Myanmar Ambassador from 1960 to 1967.

The iconic pro-democracy leader received the Jawaharlal Nehru Award, named after India’s first prime minister, in 1993 for international understanding.

She will visit India on invitation from the country’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, who visited Myanmar in May.

The Nobel laureate will meet top government officials and political leaders during her visit.

In her first overseas trip in 24 years after her release from house arrest in November 2010, the National League for Democracy leader went to Thailand in May this year where she met Myanmar workers and refugees before delivering her speech at the World Economic Forum.

Later in June, she visited Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, which she won in 1991, and several European countries including the United Kingdom. In September, Suu Kyi visited the United States.