Thursday, 21 November 2019

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Wa Region needs export crops, Wa party says

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Exportable crops need to be planted in Wa regions that have yet to substitute opium cultivation with other crops, an ethnic Wa political party that is to register with the Election Commission, said.

Wa National Unity Party patron Saw Philip Sam said the soil in the region was suitable for growing opium but substitute crops had failed to thrive.

“We need to raise the living standards of farmers. So, we need to review the foreign markets and … grow [cash] crops suited to the region. After that, we will be able to export the crops to foreign countries”, he told Mizzima.

One of the parties from that has remained active since the 1990 election, the party formerly known as the Wa National Development Party has five former party members and 10 new members. It will register with the Election Commission at Naypyidaw this week.

The party was seeking advice from foreign agriculturalists about growing crops for export, Saw Philip Sam said. 

Most of the party leaders are farmers and traders, not politicians.

“We will register the party to discuss and give advice on  ethnic issues and to promote ethnic rights”, party secretary Nyi Pa Loap who will go to Naypyidaw to register the party, said.            

However, he conceded that the 2008 constitution failed to guarantee ethnic rights, although he participated in the 14-year process of drafting the law.

Wa National Unity Party will be based at Lashio, Shan State, and it will contest in three of six townships in Wa State where Wa people live. The targeted townships are Ho Pang, Tang Yang and Kyaing Tong.

“Our policies will be social democratic. We will choose policies that are not extreme. We’ll take and apply the good points from the political left and right,” Saw Philip Sam said. “We will judge whether a policy is good or not, based on the nature of our people, our region and our culture.”

Although Wa State was developed economically, it was underdeveloped in terms of civil rights, education and health care, he continued.

Moreover, the United Wa State Army (UWSA) would continue to reject the junta’s proposal for its troops to join the Burmese army’s Board Guard Force (BGF) as long as the group was denied ethnic rights, he added. He said the election process would be all-embracing, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

Wa National Development Party was registered in 1989 and contested the two constituencies, Ho Pang and Tang Yang, in the 1990 election, but failed to win any seats.

Some leaders of the former party died and were replaced. The party applied to the Election Commission on April 22 to continue operating but it was rejected and told to apply as a new party, the chairman of the new party, Loap Paung said.

Some of the existing parties from the 1990 polls, the National Unity Party, Mro or Khami National Solidarity Organisation, the Lahu National Development Party, and the Union Karen League, have applied to continue as political parties.

Twenty-one parties have applied for registration. Among them are parties from 13 ethnic groups, including Kachin, Kayang, Karen, Pa-O, Chin, Mro or Khami, Shan and Taaung (Palaung).


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