Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will be delivering a State of the Union Address to the citizens of Myanmar and is expected to take questions from both domestic and foreign media on the humanitarian crisis.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will be delivering a State of the Union Address to the citizens of Myanmar and is expected to take questions from both domestic and foreign media on the humanitarian crisis posed by the coercive evacuation of over half-a-million minority Rohingya Muslims from northern Rakhine state on Tuesday morning. As per information provided by the Ministry of Information here, her much anticipated address to the nation will commence from 10 a.m. local time (9 a.m. IST). The event will take place at the Myanmar International Convention Centre-II (MICC-II) amid tight security and is expected to be attended by the top brass of the Government of Myanmar. Even as the international community awaits with bated breath for Suu Kyi’s expected defence of her NLD Government’s policies as well as the actions of the country’s armed forces in Rakhine state since August 25, locally there is a almost complete silence and inactivity with regard to the crisis that has dominated headlines in the South Asian region over the last nearly three weeks and on Tuesday’s address. A drive through the wide thoroughfares of Nay Pyi Taw to collect media accreditation for the event at MICC-II revealed nothing but tranquility and left one with a feeling that all is well and seemingly under control. One can expect a flurry of activity and security drill today, but the atmosphere on Monday was still.
Save for three armed military policemen, there was no one else visible in and around the large MICC-II complex. Traffic movement was normal and no restrictions were put in place. There was more activity and hustle and bustle in the capital city’s market place. Local papers also did not provide anything of excitement or anticipation. For example, The Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper simply said that relief aid is being provided to “Ethnic and Muslim Communities” in Northern Rakhine state. It simply said that food and other basic essentials were being provided to Aung Zeya, Aung Tharyar and Aung Minglar villages where Rakhine, Thet, Bamar, Mon and Shan communities reside. Two other villages where the Islamic faith dominates – Ngan Chaung and Kyetyopin — were also receiving food under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, besides the General Administrative Department of Maungtaw District.
A government release said that 400 rice sacks, 517 viss of oil and peas and254 viss of salt each was provided to each of the aged, and promises were made to continue with the ongoing support. It was also reported that Myanmar’s Union Minister for Construction, Electricity and Energy U Win Khiang, Rakhine Deputy Minister Dr. Tun Niang and the northern state’s Road Transport Minister U Aung Kyaw Zan have carried out inspections of regional development projects in northern Rakhine as per a local news agency report. The Myanmar Times made no mention of Suu Kyi’s proposed State of the Union Address on National Reconciliation and Peace, but reported on her meeting with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. There was, however, a mention of the government initiating steps to provide what it called “psycho-social support” to the beleaguered and deprived communities of northern Rakhine State.
Monday’s papers in Myanmar did not make a mention at all of what the world thinks is actually happening in the northern part of the country – a genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim population; a scorched earth operation that has forced hundreds of thousands of them to flee their homes, even as the battle for gaining control of the region between the troops of Myanmar and the vigilante mobs led by the local resistance Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) continues and is taking a turn for the worse as the days go by. The ARSA claims that they are fighting for a cause – the safeguarding of the Rohingya race and heritage. Myanmar’s armed forces, Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD Government say they want “extremist Bengali terrorists” out the country and back in neighbouring Bangladesh.