Burmese Army Chief Defends Political Role
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Burmese Army Chief Defends Political Role

By BA KAUNG / THE IRRAWADDY Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Burma’s commander-in-chief Gen Min Aung Hlaing appears at the Armed Forces Day celebration in Naypyidaw on Tuesday. (Photo: Irrawaddy)

Burma’s commander-in-chief Gen Min Aung Hlaing defended the military's continued role in national politics during a speech to commemorate Armed Forces Day in Naypyidaw on Tuesday.

In his first speech as army chief to mark the 67th anniversary of resistance against the Japanese during World War II, Min Aung Hlaing said that the military has an obligation to defend the Constitution and will continue to take part in politics as it has done in the past.

Min Aung Hlaing replaced previous army chief Sen-Gen Than Shwe last year when the former ruling military junta handed over power to a nominally-civilian government.

The armed forces under his leadership, also known as the Tatmadaw, has been suspected of opposing the democratic reforms put forward by President Thein Sein's administration.

But Min Aung Hlaing rejected such suspicions by saying that “while the county is marching towards democracy, the Tatmadaw will support the functions of government.”

He also added that the army is following the results of peace talks between the government and armed ethnic minorities.

The Burmese military was recently accused of ignoring Thein Sein's orders to obey a ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army rebel group in northern Burma.

Under the controversial 2008 Constitution, the army has its own military tribunals independent of civilian jurisdiction.

With an estimated strength of 400,000 personnel, the Burmese military also controls 25 percent of seats in both houses of the Union Parliament and the regional assemblies. This means it effectively has a veto over constitutional amendments, which require the support of more than 75 percent of Parliament.

Final decisions on all government policies are believed to be made by the 11-member National Defense and Security Council—a seemingly paramount body that includes the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the defense minister and three other senior military officials.

Informed sources have told The Irrawaddy that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is widely expected to win a parliamentary seat in Sunday's by-elections, will submit proposals to Parliament pushing for constitutional amendments that will cut down the military's role in politics.

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Simon Wrote:
Without commander-in-chief Gen Min Aung Hlaing,can one expect senior General Than Shwe to be able to enjoy life in his luxury villa in Shanghai?

Somehow General Min Aung Hlaing must pay back to his mentor and this is only the beginning!

Moe Aung Wrote:
The point remains how we get rid of this Godawful regime with all its clever machinations aimed at having their Thousand Year Reich. They can fool some people some of the time but not all of us all the time. The mirage of 2015 is just what they want people to get fixated on before they produce another rabbit out of the hat.

Aung San's army was political from its inception founded by politicians to fight for national liberation. The monster it morphed into a decade later founded its own party BSPP and now USDP to stay in power forever.

There are more ways than one to skin a cat. Lets' have all options on the table. People Power needs building up and gain some real teeth. Winning over the Tatmadaw rank and file has to be part of the strategy. ASSK must strive to unite all the currents of resistance against continued military domination, not blinkered from an almost inevitable final showdown. Parliament is only one string to her bow.

Aung Win Wrote:
Burma's army forces c-in-c in his speech on the armed forces day commemoration said " the military has an obligation to defend the constitution...". The hidden meaning in his speech is that the military under his command will not change the constitution, which is still allowing the military to have the final say in government policies and decision making. The military still thinks that they are the class above the rest, even above the President of the Union of Myanmar. That is why they do not listen to President's order to cease the armed conflicts against the ethnic minorities who are preparing to agree on cease-fire agreements with the government. Beware of this c-i-c, who is waiting for the right time to strike.

Ohn Wrote:
"The Burmese military was recently accused of ignoring Thein Sein's orders to obey a ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army rebel group in northern Burma."

What the CRAP is that?

Irrawaddy reported, like an obedient page boy to Thein Sein, that His Majesty has decreed to stop the fightings and it is still going on. What is there to accuse of?

Thein Sein keep putting out the the "Sky Full of Lies". Irrawaddy keeps on glorifing it and even finds excuses for it- delayed meassage? for 6 months!

Kachins are dying and starving and Irrawaddy is busy sucking up the "power"s. And the "power"s keep on lying.

Reforms!!!My foot!

Mualcin Wrote:
The speech reveals the quality of this idiot so called Commander-in-chief. In democratic country, only the president or the prime minister is Commander-in-chief. This idiot man does not know what he is talking about. He cannot stand against the public. He will go down in history as loser.

Ryan Wrote:
Nature of politics involve a lot of grey area and there are many things that "no right and no wrong". But for army there is only two things, "black and white, right andwrong". Army' image will get turnished if they get involve in polotics in which chracteristic seem to be unfit.

Nation founding father foresee the consequences of army involving in politics, they should learn the history of last 50 years.

Kawkasa Wrote:
The problem in Burma now is Tax system. Burmese people get taxed and in return what they get? Are military general pay their tax? What kind of hope do they give tax payer? If they have billionaire in Burma and the country is still poor something must be still wrong. Without the middle income in Burmam proper tax system, and many thieves in high level goverment the country will be still in rag.Reforming tax system mean including revolutionary area. I think media is the best tool to write about the tax system in Burma.

konayoolin Wrote:
Our country people must national service all. So the same right we will get it. No responibilty, no human right.All MP must go 1st after 2020.So no need to argue army and civilian.If not agreed that whom is lier to country .Just want to take chance.

Than Lwin Wrote:
Another guy again, talking the same crude language. Poor fellow still cannot understand the military is just another state institution in any functional country. When will they ever learn?
The ideal scenario for us is:- Daw Aung San Suu Kyi enters parliament next week, she persuades as many parliamentarians and military men in parliament as possible to be in her side, NLD wins another landslide election victory in 2015, Daw Suu becomes Burma’s president (Then, I go back home, maybe Ko Aung Zaw & Irrawaddy can follow suit), she brings all nationalities together (just like her father, this time, she must make sure Karens are there also), stops all civil wars and brings piece to every square of inch of Burma once and for all, Burma send enough young boys for overseas military training, especially to democratic country (West Point, US or Sandhurst, UK, etc.), the boys come back and overhaul Burmese Army. This scenario is possible. Only then, we can have a piece of mind for our children and will become proud again Burmese.

U Maung Wrote:
The Civilian and Army must work together to build the Country for democratic societies.The Armies are Civilian too,they become from civilian and commitment to protect the Country with carrying the arms.All are people of Burma,We Burmese work together,enjoy together,build the Country together,Why not?

Oo Maung Gyi Wrote:
Military role in politics is only essential during the time of emmergency period, otherwise the army shoud stay ouside ring. Since there is a parliament in Burma, military should respect parliament decision and has to implement government authority and judicial process although the military has its own tribunals in dependently.General Aung San, the founder of Burma army said that militay should stay out side party politics.

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