USDP’s central consultant urges party to choose between receiving hatred from dishonest minority or sacrifice the party

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP)’s central consultant Tin Htut has recently urged the party to choose between receiving hatred from the minority [in the party] that has been acting dishonestly or sacrifice the party.

Tin Htut’s appraisal was included in an article titled “What is the Future of the Party’s Central Committee Chairman U Thura Shwe Mann, the future USDP’s presidential candidate, and U Thein Sein?” written by Maung Yay Set and published in the Myanmar Thandawsint (The Myanmar Herald) journal on Friday.

He also criticised that the majority of the ministries’ heads are military officials that are also members of the USDP’s Central Executive Committee. Dissatisfaction and lack of respect towards these people have caused disadvantages to the party.

“Weaknesses inside the party are those that want power, position, or popularity, and those that have negative views towards the public. USDP party members themselves vote for other parties. The members are acting more like salary earners instead of party cadres in the party’s committees in wards and villages, townships, districts, and states and regions. They don’t work if they don’t receive allowance stipend and expense. The party is infected with ‘five diseases’ which are the inability to operate without military commands, lust for power, opportunists, spies, and immoral values. The majority of the ministries’ heads are military officers who are also members of the party’s central executive committee and dissatisfaction and lack of respect towards these people have brought disadvantages to the party,” he was quoted as saying in Maung Yay Set’s article.

“The public and civil servants are suffering from consecutive corruption of government administrations, bullying, and seeking unjust advantages and the ‘military command disease’ in which commands are given in hierarchical form and they are all hoping for a reform for better administration system. The USDP regards the current government as the government they have elected, as their comrades and colleagues. So, it is always slow in responding to criticisms against the government because they have lenient, compassionate, and supportive views and wishes to avoid bearing grudges from the government. The public is unsatisfied with the party over their actions,” Tin Htut criticised.

“Only when the party leads the reforms to have good governance and clean government, will the party have a better future. Thus, I [Tin Htut] believe it is time for the party to choose between receiving hatred from the dishonest minority or sacrifice the party. There is no better option than cutting personal and organisational attachments for the interests of the country and the people,” he was quoted as saying in the article.

Maung Yay Set wrote that Tin Htut’s appraisal was submitted to President Thein Sein’s home and the First Lady Khin Khin Win read it first and urged the president to read it. USDP Party Chairman Thura Shwe Mann also commented that it was the best appraisal even though it is the only appraisal that criticise the USDP.

Based on Tin Htut’s appraisal, Maung Yay Set highlighted the sufferings of the public and wrote about the effects on the presidential candidate selection within the USDP.

“….it is suspicious that the inability to declare presidential candidate is a result of rivalry between two major groups inside the party – former military generals U Thein Sein and Thura Shwe Mann,” Maung Yay Set wrote.

However, Maung Yay Set wrote that the retired Senior General Than Shwe, who is a person with high political authority and is believed to be still in control, disapproves of Thein Sein’s actions.

“Central Consultant (1) Aung Thaung, an influential person inside the party, has earlier told Myanmar Thandawsint that Thura Shwe Mann will be selected as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2015 Election despite the criticisms. Thein Sein’s role will either become an extraordinary patron or a retired president. Chairman Thura Shwe Mann has told the media that Thein Sein told him that he will not run for president anymore for the next term. Thein Sein has a heart condition and uses a heart control machine and the retired Senior General Than Shwe, who has the most political authority, disapproves of Thein Sein’s actions. According to rumors spread from Than Shwe’s home in Nay Pyi Taw, the future presidential candidate of the USDP, which has been established by Than Shwe, is likely to be Thura Shwe Mann,” Maung Yay Set wrote in his article.

The writer also wrote about how Union Parliament Speaker Thura Shwe Mann laughed over the usage of “President’s gang” to describe those close to the President.

“These are internal factors. When these people have been described as the President’s gang, I don’t think they can stand it but they can’t do anything (he said while he was laughing). The attempt to establish power is related to doing politics according to human nature. Describing them as the President’s gang (laughing)….I believe this is just human mind and nature. If the concerned person were to feel upset over this, that feeling would only become a bad feeling. So, it’s better not to think about it. They just did as they wanted,” Thura Shwe Mann was quoted as saying to Maung Yay Set.

No matter what it is, it is an undeniable situation during the current administration where both the public and the civil servants are suffering from progressive corruption of government administration, bullying, and seeking advantages unjustly and the ‘military command disease’ in which commands are given in hierarchical form, as criticised by Tin Htut.

A person close to the President’s Office once said that the Daily Eleven’s news coverage of corruption during the current administration cannot be denied.

In relation to corruption cases that has taken place during the current administration, the tender for the Yayku broadcasting compound and giving businessmen permission to operate in Myakyunthar seems to infringe the Public Property Protection Law.

In the article "This is a huge ploy, Mr. President!” published on May 20, the Daily Eleven pointed out that either Shwe Than Lwin or Forever Group, who are currently operating broadcasting services, is likely to win the tender according to the rules stated in the tender form. Although tender rule (13) states “the housings, offices, shops, and lands shall not be sold or rented to another person” and rule (14) states “all buildings inside the project area must be related to media”, questions can be raised on why the tender rules allow the tender winner to run hotels, guesthouses, recreation centers and commercial buildings like bank offices, which are not related to media.

The Daily Eleven also pointed out that the 90 acres of land of the former Yayku broadcasting compound is worth over US$ 300 million at the current market price and the government will suffer between Ks 200 billion to Ks 400 billion due to the tender rules announced by the Ministry of Information.

In the article “There is another case after Yayku. Ye Htut is responsible to clarify”, written by Marn Thu Shein and published by the Daily Eleven on May 30, it was questioned that “Which government has helped a private media business under ‘Media Development’ by losing US$ 300 million from the national budget?”

Likewise in the Myakyunthar case that was revealed in relations to the Yayku broadcast station tender case, the loss of national budget in 60 years will be no less than US$ 300 million.

Despite the two main aims of Myakyunthar permission, which are “to upgrade Myakyunthar Park into an international standard natural park and a recreation center as well as being a relaxation center for the public”, some business people who received permission have obviously started constructing business buildings against these two aims.

Moreover, although these permits were allowed with 30-year contract under the previous government in 2013, it is, under the current government, amended into 60-year contract in which renting rate is US$1,000 per month for an acre of land, that is an extremely cheap price.

According to this amendment, 60-year lifetime means an opportunity to own the land lifelong, and regarding the current land price for the place, the nation will lose not less than US$300 million in 60 years as well as causing environmental damages to Myakyunthar.

The amendment of the contract between the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) and the respective company raised doubts about corruption between the two parties but no investigations and action-takings were seen up to now.

On the other hand, Aung Thein Lin, MP of South Okkalapa Township Constituency, submitted an urgent proposal at the Union Parliament session on May 27 that “I would like to urge the government to reconsider the tender calling to transfer about 90 acres of land in old Yayku broadcast station in Mayangon Township, Yangon Region, to private and to decide whether it should or should not be carried out”, and since the proposal was completely agreed without objection in the Union Parliament, the Union Parliament decided to suspend the project.

However, on June 10, Director Zaw Than Thin of the Union Government Office has replied the Union Parliament that the old Yayku broadcasting station project in Yangon will resume as planned without making loss to the nation.

As well, Ye Htut, Union Minister for Information, said (without suspending tender invitation) to be waiting for tender proposals, on June 12 to media.

“We are waiting for tenders. We will think for next processes depending on the tenders’ quality. So we replied to operate,” said Ye Htut.

Since a fact, “….. The President Office announced….,” included in Ye Htut’s words, that fact makes the President Office seemed to include in this case.

Regarding the facts included in reply letter by Director Zaw Than Thin of Union Government Office sent to Union Parliament concerning Yayku Tender, and the facts included in Ye Htut’s words to media, it is obvious that the case is operated along with rules and regulations under respective ministry’s administrative authority.

Yet, according to the Union Definition in Section 5 of Chapter 1, Basic Principles of the Union in 2008 Constitution – “The territory of the State shall be the land, sea and airspace which constitutes its territory on the day this Constitution is adopted”. Yayku broadcast station compound as well as Myakyunthar are not only concerned with a respective ministry, but also owned by the nation and the citizens.

And if losses occur due to this case, the losses might become not only for the ministry, but also for the nation and the people.

Thus, if the permits of Yayku broadcast station and Myakyunthar are transferred to private without in accordance with the citizens’ desire, it would be going against the 2008 Constitution and it might also infringe the Public Property Protection Act.

Section 3 of the Public Property Protection Law (1963) is related to Section 6 (1) of the Public Property Protection Act (1947).

According to the 1947 Public Property Protection Act, “Public property” means any store or equipment or any other property whatsoever belonging to, or consigned to, or intended for the rise of the army, naval or air forces serving in the Union of Burma or belonging to, or consigned to, or intended for the use of, the Government of the Union of Burma or any local authority constituted under any prejudicial act.

As regards the definition, citizen owns and government owns are state-owned property and concern with the public, so legal experts considered the Yayku broadcast station place and Myakyunthar place are public places inclusive.

It concerns with unauthorized possession of any Public property, committing theft, misappropriation or mischief in respect of any Public property regarding Public Property Protection Law Section 6 (1).

Section 3 of the Public Property Protection Law refers to the commitment of theft, mischief or misappropriation of any public property.

Regarding the exact definition in Section 3 of the Public Property Protection Law, it is described that anyone commits theft, mischief or misappropriation of any Public property shall be punishable with life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term not less than ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Therefore, if a responsible person from the President Office or Union Minister for Information Ye Htut or anyone, by using assigned administrative authority, invites tender for Yayku broadcast station without getting at least US$350 million and above – the amount which people agree (with no objections) to receive and transfers to private, it seems to misuse the public property and it might directly infringe Public Property Protection Law, considered the legal experts.

Currently, how to decide and carry out Yayku broadcast station tender and Myakyunthar cases since corruptions in government’s administration, intimidation, seeking advantages, and dishonesty actually exist, which included in appraisals of Tin Htut, Central Consultant of USDP, become a resolution for current government.

Also, it reaches a time for Union Solidarity and Development Party to choose the right path out of two paths – “choose between receiving hate from dishonest minority or sacrifice the party” which includes as the main point in Tin Htut’s appraisal.