New parliamentary sessions which are the vital change of Myanmar history are going to be held on February 1. This parliament is the one that largely represents the public the military coup in 1962. It will elect new administration headed by National League for Democracy. It is the very first government elected by the public in fifty years. This is the result and the victory of the public’s desire through the 2015 election. Although there were credible confirmations for the power transferring, the country’s socio-politics is assumed as the political malaise in which the country’s politics, economy and social conditions are in dilemma.
One of the reasons for the mentioned condition is lack of trust between the two sides and the ethnic groups which have been living under the military dictatorship for years and so susceptible.
Second is the concern of both the military and the ethnic groups that the power balance between the administration and the legislation could be difficult since the NLD won nearly 80 per cent in the election and the loss of candidates from the ethnic parties.
Thirdly, both the military and the public are worried if the former senior officers of the Union Solidarity and Development Party are hand in glove with the NLD behind the scene.
Fourth, the association of the two key players – the NLD and the military—is mysterious leading to variety of predictions and complications among the public.
Fifth, the public recognizes that the ethnic affair is more problematic than everyone thought before after the recent Union Peace Conference. If the ethnic issue cannot be solved properly, people are concerned whether the history of 1962 might repeat.
What is more, people are confused after seeing the recent occurrences in economic and administrative sectors.
The economic sector has many barriers to be explored for the businessmen because corruption in the sector is still growing. The government led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is viewed as not being able to solve the corruption issue effectively.
Last but not least, we have to take into count of the tax issue. In fact, the government sector still needs more budgets. In fact, the country cannot stand with the money generated from selling natural resources. The main income should be the tax. However, there are many difficulties to collect taxes systematically.
In the administrative branch, the Anti-Corruption Law, the Anti-Bribery Law and the Taxation Law are not prescribed clearly.
Similarly, the Property Tax Law hasn’t been prepared well yet. Before such important laws haven’t been enforced, 90 per cent to 95 per cent of the country’s productivity is in the control of a small group of people.
Then, if the foreign investments are incoming into such an economic oligarchy, it might lead to the capitalism and then the military generals, small groups of people and the businessmen and the traders closed to China will be richer.
Moreover, the foreign companies entering into Myanmar might think as an easy catch to run business in Myanmar. There also are many suspicions on them.
It is more complicated than the current situation of Myanmar’s transition. Myanmar’s transition witnesses two main differences from those of South Korea and Indonesia.
First, Myanmar is the country which has much diversity and many different ethnicities. Different tribes live in the country. In aspect of the religion, Buddhism and Islam still have tensions and the country is still sensitive to religious issues.
Another problem is that Myanmar is located beside a Super Power country. The growth of China always makes Myanmar instable. The economic growth of China could obliterate Myanmar’s natural resources. Likewise, China’s military enlargement is one of the main contributing factor that prolong the civil war in Myanmar and they are worries about becoming like Crimea.
Since the country is situated between China and India, national security is the first priority for Myanmar. The importance of military prowess is undeniable for the country that sets the national security and the national interest as the priority. The ethnic armed groups will enhance the military’s power.
It is still hard to reduce the military power or the role of the military in the politics under current situation. Not even in the government term led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
The country will face more difficulties if the impossible issues are put into practice. Then, the incoming government will be instable. Therefore, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has to be in accord with the military. The most important person among the military leaders is the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services. It needs to be harmonious between the elected government leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the military chief. They need to understand the visions of each other.
Suu Kyi’s vision is to establish Democratic Federal Union in Myanmar. The Commander in Chief need to lend a hand for that.
The vision of the Senior General, on the other hand, is to build the military into Standard Army so that it can strengthen National Security. Therefore, a certain amount of time must be provided for him. He will continue to hold the position and support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as a President. This is not a give and take, but a mutual agreement to support each other and help realize their visions for the betterment of the country.
To establish a Standard Army, the military needs to be the modernized and have strong military power. Moreover, the military need to be honorable and have a good relationship with the people. Suu Kyi has to support in the military’s reform into that way.
Likewise, Commander in Chief of Defense Services will need to assist in economic and political reform processes initiated by Suu Kyi. For doing so, Suu Kyi is required to avoid counting former USDPs, who might not have good relationship with Commander in Chief of Defense Services, in government and assigning them to essential positions.
One lucky point is that Suu Kyi has obtained mass support from the people. The military cannot refuse about it nor confront it. If it does so, the political dignity of the military will be ruined.
The current Commander in Chief of Defense Services is seen to be the person who has the best PR skills and strongest relationship with people via media, among the military chiefs within the last 60 years – starting from late General Ne Win. This view is assumed to be the move towards the good side. It is important for both sides not to miss the kind of situation when the military is seen to be heading towards the good side.
What needs to be done is entrusting the responsibility to reform the military to the Commander in Chief, helping him build a professional army and supporting the military in retreating from administration. If the politicians involve in the process of reforming the military, that will lead to confrontation.
The point where visions of Suu Kyi and Commander in Chief should meet is when having concerns regarding the ethnic people.
Favor needs to be given to ethnic people. Failures of many ethnic parties and decreasing of ethnic people’s power cannot be assumed that their legitimacy and rights go to NLD. NLD does not consider to push the ethnics aside after becoming strong.
Likewise, the military cannot think that way. Ethnic people have their own rights and this must be known.
When dealing with ethnic people’s affairs, a gentle and mild way has to be used. However, I agree with the words of Commander in Chief saying about “The Single Army”. The next point I agree with is Suu Kyi becoming the President.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to become president is the most important thing for the country. The second most important thing is to give responsibility of reforming the military to the Commander in Chief. These two are the visions the country must realize.
The reason why Suu Kyi has to become the President is there are issues that can be solved in accordance with protocols and regulations only when Suu Kyi heads the country. Suu Kyi is the only leader who can solve the issues by discussing with Commander in Chief and negotiating with ethnic leaders and international powers.
Another thing is geopolitics. There is the problem of super power in the region. To face the power confrontation between China and the U.S. and deal with political pressures from the confrontation and to discuss with the world leaders, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has to be president.
The strength of military power alone cannot ensure national security. It also needs an influential leader. Having influential leader like Suu Kyi as President will not only solve the problems within the country but also the in the region. Her great influence will guarantee the security for both Myanmar and the whole region.
Thus, when situation of the country is still uncertain, only these two persons can set it right. The win-win solution of Daw Aung Suu Kyi becoming president and Commander in Chief establishing standard or professional army is the only exit from the maze of Myanmar’s politics. To ensure a smooth exit, the two leaders need to meet in the near future. A good relation between them is vital for the present and future of the country.
To find ways to help each other realize their visions, to think for the future of the country beyond current problems, to think beyond 59 (f)—beyond 2008 constitution, and not to differentiate two sides—between the military and those who are against dictatorship; the multilectic ideology is the most practical way for the future of the country.