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

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs