No Honeymoon for Soe Win
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, March 23, 2019


No Honeymoon for Soe Win

By Amyotheryei Win Naing NOVEMBER, 2004 - VOLUME 12 NO.10


We in Burma would like to help the new PM Lt-Gen Soe Win if only he will allow us to.


Burma’s new prime minister, Lt-Gen Soe Win, who succeeded Gen Khin Nyunt in October, never had a chance to enjoy a honeymoon period in his new job.  One problem after another popped up right after he took up office.


Ethnic ceasefire groups who have returned to the legal fold got restive because of Khin Nyunt’s ouster and Soe Win had to fly urgently to the border areas to assure them that Rangoon’s relationship remained unchanged. 


Another problem landed on Soe Win’s desk when more than 30,000 owners of vehicles imported illegally Thailand, with the connivance of military intelligence officials, showed their unhappiness with the anti-corruption crackdown.


Some owners were arrested and then freed, but their cars, worth millions of kyats, were confiscated.  Many of the illegally imported vehicles were in the possession of VIP families and even Buddhist monasteries, people with close ties to the highest echelons of power.  So they made waves. 


The rumor mill was also active, and many people gathered in front of the Central Bank of Manmar’s HQ after reports surfaced that currency notes would be taken out of circulation. The finance minister issued a hasty denial the following day, but the damage had been done and consumer prices jumped.


Everything points to an explosion ahead, and the new prime minister has his work cut out trying to extinguish the burning fuse. We in Burma would like to help him if only he’d allow us to. We want to help because if the situation does get out of hand it is we, the people on the street, who will suffer most.


Gen Khin Nyunt’s dismissal has uncovered long-known corruption under the leadership of the State Peace and Development Council, or SPDC. His successor Soe Win pledged in a speech to Burma entrepreneurs and businessmen on October 24, 2004 to establish a clean and dynamic government machinery and vowed it would not oppress the people through violating codes of conduct, behaving in an unreliable way or taking bribes.

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