Taking the wrong political path could undermine economic and social development, said Aung San Suu Kyi, chairperson of the National League for Democracy.
She was marking 100 years since the birth of her father Bogyoke Aung San at Pyawbwe, Mandalay Region.
"Our country was once the most developed in Southeast Asia. Everyone thought it would become an outstanding country. But this didn't happen because of political failure. The economy tumbled down after our country took the wrong political path. The economic and social sectors became deeply affected. That's why politics is very important. I urge you not to listen to people who say politics is not vital and livelihood is more important," said Suu Kyi.
"The most developed and rich countries respect and value their citizens. Every person who wants to work in the government needs to understand this. Government work should not be attractive but carried out as an obligation. A government should only take responsibility when the public gives it that responsibility. A government, which assumes responsibility without being given it by the public, will not represent the public. If it doesn't represent the public, it will not respect and value them. If it does not respect and value the public, it cannot make the country develop," she continued.
"If you really want democracy and individual freedom, it's important for you to use your head to think. Heads are given to men for them to think. It's not to hold your heads down. I have given this warning over and over again," she said.
She also said the country would not have peace and development if there was no unity among the public.
"I don't know whether some people are worried that our citizens will become interested in politics. They have said this over and over again that our citizens are not interested in politics because they are only interested in their livelihoods as they are living in deep poverty. I want to ask them why our citizens became so poor."
Thousands of residents from Pyawbwe, Yamethin, Meikhtila and Aung Pan attended the event.