One-sided views and misunderstanding on Bengali issue to be first removed for development of Rakhine State: Aung San Suu Kyi

Writer: 
EMG reporter
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi delivers an address at the 43rd Singapore Lecture in Singapore on August 21. (AFP)
 
One-sided views and misunderstanding on Bengali issue that took place in Rakhine State should be first removed so as to witness any progress in Rakhine State, said State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
 
The remarks of the State Counsellor came from her speech to the 43rd Singapore Lecture organized by Institute of South East Asian Studies held in Singapore on August 21.
 
Aung San Suu Kyi made a speech on Democratic Transition in Myanmar: Challenges and the Way Forward.
 
A student learning the lecture raised a question to Aung San Suu Kyi that there was social stigma of the displaced persons in spite of the start of carrying out repatriation plan, asking her how to use the displaced persons for the developments in every aspect of the country.
 
Aung San Suu Kyi replied, “The word “stigma” is not appropriate word in using here because there are one-sided views and misunderstanding. These must be removed. All of us must work together for enabling Rakhine State to change into a peaceful developing region. Rakhine State is the most beautiful region in Myanmar. A number of those who have been to Rakhine State are not many. All of the foreigners I have ever met frequently told me that the beaches in Rakhine State are more attractive than those across the world. There is much potential for progress in the whole Rakhine State. You are right. 
 
“To my thinking, all of them must be under the prosperous project. I was glad as you asked me such question. This was because you were a youth. The youths have existed since their ancestors have lived and they can overcome one-sided views.  We would like to invite the youths like you to our visits. There are many different communities in Rakhine State. As for me, I would like to use the chance of answering this question. Most of the people think that only Rakhine and Muslims are living in Rakhine State, but in reality, there are many tribes such as Hindus, Mro, Thet and Dienet. That I would like to spotlight was these small groups of tribes. Some are fast disappearing from there. Their numbers are not more than thousand. They peacefully live in a particular place enjoying their traditions. They are contented with their life to make themselves happy. We will have to safeguard and preserve their traditions. We will try to the best of our ability for enabling all of them to be under the prosperous project.”
 
Dealing with the challenges resulting from the conflicts broke out in Rakhine State is of great importance. The government is carrying out repatriation and acceptance processes in a rapid manner following the agreements of the MoU signed with the UN organisations and Bangladeshi government. Involved at various fronts and levels is the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine. It is an enterprise that brings together peoples and organizations from all parts of the country to work with the government to bring Rakhine into the orbit of our national plan for sustainable development.
 
Regarding the question “Is there a timetable to settle all forms of problems as to the re-acceptance of displaced persons to Rakhine State?” Aung San Suu Kyi replied, “It is not easy to draw a timetable for our side. This is because we are working together with Bangladesh. Our two countries will have to fix the timetable. Bangladesh will have to re-send the displaced persons first. Secondly, we are to welcome and accept them. This point contains in our bilateral agreement. We can’t fix the timetable only by ourselves. Bangladesh will have to decide that how many displaced persons will be sent back. For us, we are ready to reaccept the displaced persons agreed as MoU on January 23.”
 
At the invitation of Myanmar government, the Bangladesh foreign minister and party visited the camps of the displaced persons as part of cooperation between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Myanmar government paid attention to the important role of the United Nations, said Aung San Suu Kyi.
 
Translated and Edited by Win Htut