Speech delivered by Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister of Republic of the Union of Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
Esteemed National People, I would like to extend my greetings for the mental and physical well-being of all during the upcoming Thadingyut Festival. In our Myanmar tradition, the new year Thingyan Festival and Thadingyut Festival are significant occasions. Although we cannot celebrate the festivals amid the crisis of COVID-19, I take them seriously. All of you have learnt that irregularities occurred during the multi-party general election on 8 November 2020. These shameful and dishonest irregularities in the election are events that have marred the image of the country. It is necessary for us not to repeat the same mistakes in the future by taking lessons from them. When the consequences of the voting irregularities were scrutinized, it was found that there were outcomes that negatively affected the entire people as well as the country. Therefore, action is being taken against people who are responsible for them in accordance with the law.
We understand that there are differences in a democratic country. It was found that there were protests due to differences over the declaration of political emergency. In addition to protests caused by the instigation of others, there were violent protests, killings and destruction. Some protesters incited others to create problems in person. Moreover, some protestors used violent means and robbed and killed others. We have disclosed them and taken action against them. Following such events caused by political differences in the country, we have taken necessary measures by adopting five future tasks. Our objectives are to work for the prosperity of the country and to build a genuine union based on democracy and federalism. We have a desire to change the country peacefully. Therefore, we are working for the stability of the State and genuine democratization, I would like to say that we will grant amnesty to some appropriate people who have been sentenced or detained due to their involvement in protests incited by politically extreme terrorist organizations like the CRPH and the NUG for various reasons so that they can do meritorious deeds during the Thadingyut Festival. We will soon issue orders to release them. We released people who should be freed on Union Day on 12 February, on Myanmar New Year Day and on the anniversary of peace on 15 October.
Now, I would like to inform you of the relations between Myanmar and the ASEAN. A five-point consensus was reached in principle at the ASEAN Summit held in Jakarta in Indonesia on 24 April. After holding contentious negotiations to appoint a special envoy of the chair of the ASEAN, we agreed to the appointment of Brunei Second Foreign Minister Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof as the special envoy on 4 August. We have stated that we will implement the consensus in accordance with the political culture of Myanmar and the ASEAN Charter. The first point of the consensus is the most important one, which aims to cease violence immediately and exercise utmost restraint by all parties. However, after the consensus had been announced, it was found that violent acts worsened due to the instigation of the CRPH and the NUG terrorist organizations and the involvement of some EAOs. We are still solving the problem until now. It is found that no one has prevented their violent acts, robberies and killings seriously. They have just demanded this from us and we are addressing the issue. I would like to point out that the ASEAN needs to address the issue. We are still negotiating for the visit of the special envoy of the ASEAN as they have made various demands.
It is necessary for a country to address administrative, legislative and judicial affairs separately. Measures have to be taken separately except for matters under special laws and orders issued when necessary. We have announced that we are working in accordance with the 2008 Constitution. Among the demands of the ASEAN special envoy, there are requests that cannot be accommodated. Nevertheless, we will do our best as a member country of the ASEAN. I believe that ASEAN summits and meetings will be held in accordance with the basic principles of the ASEAN.
I will give a brief account of our COVID-19 prevention programs. According to the records, the virus was first detected in Myanmar on 23 March 2020 and the first wave lasted from that day to 15 August. The records also show that the second wave hit the country during the period from 16 August to 26 May. This period included the pre-election period, the post-election period and the time when political problems appeared. The country was facing other hardships including an inadequacy in medicines and health staff. Although Myanmar ordered 30 million doses from India, only two million arrived in the country because of the rise in the COVID-19 infection rate in India. Further consignments never arrived. Hence, the country turned to other friendly countries and could buy from China. Till now 20 million doses have arrived from China. More will arrive soon. India donated 2.5 million doses and China 4,620,800 doses to Myanmar. Arrangements are underway to receive eight million new doses from China and Russia. In Myanmar 4,699,038 have been fully vaccinated and 6,847,242 have already received the first shot and the total number of vaccinated persons is 16,245,318. As arrangements are being made to reopen schools soon, a student vaccination program has started on 12 October.
The government is making efforts to import more vaccines and produce them domestically. Both the donated vaccines and the imported vaccines will be used effectively. The third wave hit the country on 27 May.
On 14 July, the number of positive cases was 7,083 which is the record number. 33.17 per cent of the tested persons were found positive. The number of detected positive cases on 23 July was 5,506 or 40.82 per cent of the tested persons. It is the highest percentage. Thanks to the systematic supervision of the officials of the State and dutiful cooperation of the people the number of daily detected persons fell to around 2,200 or around seven per cent. Thanks for the cooperation.
The government is trying to reduce the percentage of detected persons to three per cent, because it has the plan to reopen the school at the earliest date. Schools can be reopened only if the infection can be controlled.
Moreover, the government will be able to generate job opportunities fully. So, people should strictly observe the safety rules. The Infection rate is still high in some parts of Shan State and the away Region. So, all should seriously control the situation.
As regards the health issue, I will now deal with cooking oil consumption. During the financial year 2020-2021, the country imported over 800,000 tons of palm oil at a cost of over US$-830 million. If per-person consumption is six visses, the demand will be only 500,000 tons; if it is seven visses the country will need 580,000 tons; and if it is eight visses, the demand will be 660,000 tons. As the country had to import 800,000 tons, we can say the country’s cooking oil consumption rate is high. Myanmar grows and produces edible oil crops such as ground-nut, sesame, pannhnan, soybean and sunflower. If we add those locally produced ones, we can see that the consumption rate is too high. Reducing cooking oil consumption will bring health benefits. Moreover, the country can reduce its expense for oil imports. So, I would request the people to reduce oil consumption for health and for easing the country’s burden.
Have a healthy, happy dingy. Thank you.