Friday, 13 December 2019

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Labour minister dismisses charge of voter coercion

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese junta Labour Minister Aung Kyi has rejected recent allegations by Democracy Party (Myanmar) Thu Wei that the USDP had been pressuring businessmen to vote for his party.

dpA response appeared on the Min Ba Htoo website yesterday, believed to be owned by Aung Kyi, under the title, “Thu Wei, we hope you accept defeat”. The post refuted allegations made last Wednesday that Aung Kyi had pressured the owner of “Happy Land” amusement park to order employees to cast absentee votes in his favour.

“I didn’t urge any person to cast an absentee vote for me nor have I encouraged them to do so,” the post read.

His comments came in response to remarks by Thu Wei an exclusive interview with Mizzima published on November 4, which were: “There is an amusement park for children called Happy Land, which has two to three hundred employees. My rival candidate, Labour Minister Aung Kyi, forced the owner … to order his employees to cast their votes for his USDP under threat of having his business licence revoked. He [the owner] then related the incident to his employees; that he was under pressure by the junta minister. He told them they must vote for the USDP or they will lose their jobs.”

When Mizzima contacted Thu Wei again to check the allegations made, he declined to disclose the exact name of the amusement park. “A minister is a public servant. A public servant cannot participate in politics and cannot stand for election. [If so] He violates this rule,” Thu Wei said.

Mizzima contacted local residents of Mingala Taungnyunt Township and the local police station, who said there was no amusement park called Happy Land registered in the area.

“There is only one amusement park in Mingala Taungnyunt Township and it’s called ‘Doe Pyi Thar’. There are no others,” a source at the township police station said.

Aung Kyi, Thu Wei’s main rival, is also charged with managing junta relations with iconic opposition figure Aung San Suu Kyi. He is a graduate of Fort Benning military academy in the United States and served in the Burmese Army for more than 36 years. He retired at the rank of major general in November 2006.
Since them, he has written many books and articles on civil-military relations under the pseudonym Min Ba Htoo.

The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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