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A Change We are All Hoping For?

Government is preparing for February 01. January 31st is the last day of the term for emergency powers for SAC and the market has been awash with news that an interim government would be the possible new structure as well as the split between military and civilian administration.

The push came as a result of below par performances in both military and governance endeavours by SAC. Even the ardent supporters of myanmar military are exasperated by incessant news of Tatmataw losing ground to rebel, EAO and terrorist forces in border areas, surrenders without fighting and lack of effective strategies to rid the country of such destructive forces. Worse of all, lack of regular communication from the very top to the general public makes it close to impossible for people to develop confidence in the military and is forcing people to read and sometimes rely upon fake news sources and agencies.

In preparing for the upcoming change, SAC is setting up a structure similar to the one Myanmar had during the time of president Thein Sein. A president or head of state, surrounded by powerful president office ministers. We used to have six president office ministers during that administration.

On January 8, SAC appointed three ministers to similar positions, as follows:

  • Ko Ko Hlaing to Ministry 1 at office of Chairman of SAC.
  • Aung Naing Oo to Ministry 2
  • Admiral Moe Aung to Ministry 4

The rest of the positions remain vacant at time of writing. With the shift of Navy Chief to office of Chairman, Myanmar Navy got a new Chief, promoting navy Chief of Staff Zwe Win Myint, to become the Rear Admiral of the Myanmar Navy.

Whether the SG Min Aung Hliang takes the military #1 or civilian head of state position is a matter for speculation, but what Myanmar needs now is a leader who is decisive, think long term, brave and development oriented on a global scale. Unfortunately, based on the past three years of performance, the top tier of leadership may not be up to the task, based on the existing composition of leaders.

With majority of first and second tiers of government leaders more focus on appeasing SG, doing the bare minimum, carrying favours with their superiors and hanging onto their seats of powers, it would be a while before Myanmar can get back to the growth rates it deserved similar to the years between 2012 – 2016. People are concerned that the person of choice by SG would be a tad too similar to him in terms of management style that it would not allow Myanmar to break out of this economic stagnation and infamous epitaph in Myanma Tatmataw.

We are already the poorest country in South East Asia since 2017. We missed so many boats to bring us across the boundary of continuous economic growth. Failings of democracy at its worst exposed, selecting bad and fraudulent leaders like Su Kyi, ending up in military dictatorship, etc. Socrates has been right all along: “Voting in an election is a skill, not a random intuition. And like any skill, it needs to be taught systematically to people. Letting the citizenry vote without an education is as irresponsible as putting them in charge of a trireme sailing to Samos in a storm.”