An interview with U Myo Kyaw, General Secretary of the ALD
In an attempt to hold the election, the military council which staged a coup citing electoral frauds in the 2020 election has been carrying out the compilation of population census since early January.
At the ceremony to mark Independence Day on January 4, Chair of the Military council Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said the election would be held during this year and handover the power to the winning party. Of three major political parties in Arakan State, the Arakan Front Party (AFP) said that it would contest the military council’s planned election. However, the Arakan National Party (ANP) has not exactly said whether it would contest the election or not.
At the same time, the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) explicitly announced that it would skip the military council’s planned election. The Development Media Group (DMG) interviewed U Myo Kyaw, General Secretary of the ALD about the ALD’s stance towards the military council’s planned election and the future political situation.
Q: Firstly I would like to know the ALD party’s stance towards the military council’s planned election?
A: Our party already has a clear-cut policy. We totally object to the military council’s sham election. In addition, our party will not contest this election. I assume that we should not recognize this election. The reason is we don’t like this dictatorship. There are a lot of children, women, youths and the elderly who lost their lives due to the military dictatorship. Many civilian houses and worksites were burned down. I don’t want this election just by looking at the faces of such people. We need to push the people to skip the election. We must fight every act that will perpetuate the dictatorship.
Q: Do you worry that your party will become an illegal party if you skip the election?
A: Our party emerged due to the 1988 Uprising. Our party walks on the democratic path and opposes the single party system and the dictatorship. Our party contested the election in 1990. At that time, our party became the third most winning party in Myanmar. However, they (military) announced in 1992 that our party was abolished. Despite the dissolution of our party, we have long been on the political mainstream since then. For instance, we were included in the Committee representing the People’s Parliament. Even if our party is abolished according to the rules and regulations required for a political party due to the skipping of the election. Our party will continue to survive if the party members serve the interests of the Arakan people and Arakan State. Our party will not void if they (military) declares us illegal.
Q: The ALD issued a statement saying that it doesn’t want any dictatorship shortly after the military coup. At present, does your stance remain unchanged?
A: The party’s stance has been included in the party’s set-up since its establishment. I believe that the biased act is not the business of politicians. Party members and party leaders have to perform their works by abiding by the rules and regulations laid down by party leaders. So I want to say that our party has no reason to change its policy.
Q: How will the military council’s planned election happen?
A: In my view, the military council’s planned election is sham. In fact, the military even has no rights to hold the election. The military council is trying to ensure the prolonged existence of the military dictatorship to retain its power by creating a fake election. The election will be held in Arakan State when the election is held nationwide. There are three major political parties in Arakan State. We will not participate in the election as we don’t want it in terms of the party’s policy and dislike for a single party system and the dictatorship. I have already said it. However, other major political parties cooperate with the military dictator. They accept the ranks conferred by the military council. Leaders of some political parties said that they would contest the election if the election is held. Some political parties are ready to contest the election. At the same time, in my view, the majority of people in Arakan State don’t seem to like the election. They show opposition to it. However, the communities related to the military council and the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) are said to accept it.
Q: On the one hand, is the military council’s election likely to materialize due to the AA’s growing influence on the people in Arakan State? May I know your view?
A: Now Arakan State is said to have two authorities. On the one hand, Arakan State has seen the growing influence of the United League of Arakan/Arakan Army (ULA/AA). On the other hand, the military council’s influence has been on the decline. However, the military is trying to have more territorial control. The fact whether the election will be held in Arakan State relies largely on the ULA/AA. The role of military dictators is likely to disappear, and the public will be closer to the ULA/AA if the ULA/AA can deter this election. I think their competition relies more largely on it.
Q: May I know to what extent Arakan people are interested in the military council’s planned election?
A: It is found that the Arakan people have shown their opposition either to the military council or to the successive administrative bodies. There will be a handful of people who accept it. The majority of Arakan people want to live their lives with self-determination and living in their own state independently. Now Arakan people are at the height of patriotism. That’s to say, they have a character to live separately. I think they shall not accept the government mechanism and the election.
Q: May I know your view of the current situation in Myanmar?
A: Many people have sacrificed their lives, according to the current landscape. Many villages, buildings and buildings were lost as a result of the civil war. The people have no value. The people have to suffer the consequences due to such power-hungry dictators. We need to avoid creating an exit which will perpetuate the dictators. The public is required to cooperate in such works. We ourselves become a pillar which helps the perpetuation of the dictatorship due to our cooperation and participation in the election. I would like the public to oppose the military council’s sham election.
Q: On February 1, the military council’s two-year state of emergency is going to expire. What will the political landscape be after the expiration of the state of emergency?
A: Following the coup, the protest committee made a lot of chants. Political parties including our party laid down the principles. These principles are: to root out the dictatorship, to abolish the 2008 Constitution and to establish the federal democratic union. The National Unity Government (NUG), the Ethnic Revolutionary Organizations (EROs) and other protest committees have accepted these principles. So we must surely march towards the federal democratic union. Under the federal system, the states must have their own constitutions and set-up for self-determination. For this purpose, we are pushing from all sectors. I believe it shall materialize.
Sent by Aung Htein (DMG)