News / Asia

Myanmar Pledges Commitment to Reforms After Controversies

A Buddhist monk stands next a truck full of police officers during a gathering at a courthouse in support of five Buddhist monks who were forced to give up their robes in Yangon, Myanmar, also known as Burma, June 20, 2014.
A Buddhist monk stands next a truck full of police officers during a gathering at a courthouse in support of five Buddhist monks who were forced to give up their robes in Yangon, Myanmar, also known as Burma, June 20, 2014.
Aung Ye Maung Maung
Myanmar, also known as Burma, says it will not turn away from reforms in the wake of a controversial raid on a Buddhist monastery and the arrest of five monks.

Presidential spokesman Ye Htut said Tuesday that both the government and the military are committed to moving forward.

"Both our government and the military have decided to continue implementing the reforms. In doing so, [we] either step forward fast or slow. [If we have a] deterrent or not just depends on the vision of all parties involved. There's no possibility of turning back."

Earlier this month, police raided the Maha Thantithukha Monastery in Yangon. Five monks, who were disrobed and arrested, are now free on bail. Myanmar's Minister of Religious Affairs, Hsan Hsint, was later removed from his position after the raid because of corruption allegations.

Critics say the government used its power to settle a long-running dispute over control of the monastery while its popular abbot was overseas.

The government has also faced criticism in recent weeks over investigations into the financial records of private publications.

Political analyst Yan Myo Thein said the moves cause concern for reform advocates.

"If they [the government] continue taking this kind of actions, there will be doubts over its democratic reforms and national reconciliation process. On the other hand, disrobing of Buddhist monks and raiding of a Buddhist monastery are against the constitution," he said. "So I think that all these situations are kind of worrisome over democratic transition and national reconciliation."

Kyaw Min Swe, Editor-In-Chief of The Voice Newspaper, which is being investigated, said the main problem is a lack of transparency that causes rumors and misunderstandings.

But Sein Win, former Editor of Mizzima News, which is also being investigated, was less generous in his assessment of the situation.

He said, "Why all these happened is that because previous groups of people are still practicing previous ways of doing things, because they cannot just give up their own interests. In the beginning, they have claimed that there would be no more old practices and will move to a new system. But in reality, once their interests are compromised, their true skins are often revealed."

Authorities have not given a reason for their inquiries into the publications.

After decades of military rule, Myanmar began political reforms in 2011 that have won it mostly praise from the international community, which has lifted most, but not all, sanctions against the country.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs