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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid