NLD confirms parliament speakers; Nominee for deputy parliament speaker T Khun Myat unclear from opium

T Khun Myat nominated for deputy Lower House speaker

After National League Democracy has confirmed the speakers and deputy speakers of the upcoming parliaments today, questions have been raising regarding with the deputy speaker of the Lower House T Khun Myat relating with the drug issue. 

The NLD chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi selected Win Myint as the Lower House Speaker, T Khun Myat as Deputy Lower House Speaker, Mann Win Khaing Than as the Upper House Speaker and Aye Thar Aung as Deputy Upper House Speaker, according to Win Htein, the central executive committee member of the NLD. 

Suu Kyi confirmed that when she met with the NLD representatives in Zabbuthiri Hall located in parliament compound this morning. 

Win Htein said, “Now it is officially announced since Daw Aung San Suu Kyi confirmed it when she met with the new MPs of the NLD.”

Win Myint and Mann Win Khaing Than are from the NLD and T Khun Myat is from the Union Solidarity and Development Party and Aye Thar Aung is from Arakan National Party. 

Amongst, T Khun Myat is the leader of Kutkai Township’s militia and was elected as the Lower House MP of Kutkai, Northern Shan State in 2010 Election representing the USDP. He also served as the chairperson of the Lower House Bill Committee. 

He has been seemed unclear in drug trade since 2010. As a matter of fact, the Shan Herald News published “New drug lords become USDP MPs” on November 16, 2010 claiming the elected Liu Guoxi, Bai Xuoqian, Kyaw Myint, Keng Mai, T Khun Myat and Myint Lwin as well known the drug lords, according to Khuensai, the leader of drug watch group. 

Before that, the Shan Herald News has published an article “Militias, so-called drug lords, are contesting in the election” on September 30, 2010 pointing that Myint Lwin (aka) Wang Guoda and T Khun Myat were contesting in the election representing Kutkai Constituency, Keng Mai representing Muse and Panse Kyaw Myint representing Namkham.  

According to the news published by the Shan Herald, T Khun Myat is the leader of the Kutkai militia having 600 soldiers and he has attended the National Conference. He is a shareholder of Myanmar May Flower Bank, which was abolished due to money laundering relating with drugs. He was also notorious for money laundering.

The mentioned news of the Shan Herald said that Myint Lwin and Keng Mai manufactured drugs and opium in Muse and Kutkai and T Khun Myat was trading opium to China through their stronghold area of Keng Mai. 

Similarly, T Khun Myat was published in the article named ‘Drug lords in Parliament’ published by the Shan Drug Watch Journal. 

Likewise, the Irrawaddy has published the similar article on June 17, 2013 about T Khun Myat and the opium business with sound evidences. 

The Irrawaddy article wrote details about two USDP MPs - T Khun Myat and Panse Kyaw Myint (aka) Li Yung Shau. The article said that T Khun Myat is the leader of Kutkai militia and Kyaw Myint is the leader of Panse militia. Such militia forces are the government-backed and officially known as People’s Militia Forces. 

The Irrawaddy article said that they are known as the drug lords in modern age because they mainly involve in opium trade since they plant and produce opium, white and black heroin in their controlled area. What is more, they take charges and taxes from others to produce opium in those areas.

According to the investigative reportings of the Irrawaddy’s reporter, the officers of the militia led by them involve in the list of opium poppy planters. Most militia officers are the Myanmar nationals born in China. The opium planters are not daring to run plantation outside their controlled area.  

The article says that most opium planters are Chinese and militia members in their controlled area and locals from surrounding villages have to assist for cultivation and harvesting.  The drugs were being traded in villages near the opium cultivation. The Irrawaddy reporter witnessed that drugs are widely traded in Nankham and Mantong where controlled by Anti-Drug bodies, polices, government military, and militia forces of T Khun Myat and Kyaw Myint Panse. 

Additionally, the article says that the Opium Warlord Khun Sa and the United Wa State Army were well-known in opium plantation of Myanmar before. However, T Khun Myat and Kyaw Myint Panse become modern opium lords as well as the members of parliament and the leaders of the militia forces. 

Also, according to the research of the Irrawaddy reporter, their controlled areas are mostly involved in the trade of white and black heroin and other opium in Northern Shan State.  

What is more, according to the article, opium trade can be seen in Mongyulay, Namphatkar, Shwemaw, 12 mile- Mongloi, Kampapo, Tarpankon, Shoutpankon. The areas located in Kutkai and they are controlled by T Khun Myat and Kyaw Myint Panse. Likewise, opium plantation can be seen in Marsong, Kampapo and Mankaw, Hpapyae, Kyankar, Loingo, Loinang, Loitong located in Kutkai and controlled by the militias.  

NLD’s nomination for the deputy parliament speaker of an accused opium warlord might be debatable for the upcoming parliament held on February 1 and it might be the first exam for the NLD. 

However, T Khun Myat challenged that all accusation against him regarding with the opium can be tabled legally, through The Ladies News Journal on 28th January. 

“They can submit the evidences if they have. I just served for the regional peace and the public’s security by cooperating with the military. I don’t want to dig the past. There are many drug factories that I we destroyed. I don’t want to tell unnecessary things which both the military and the department do not want to. We cannot reply to everything nonsense. If they have the evidences, then just put them on the table,” he said in The Ladies News Journal. 

As a matter of fact, the Anti-Money Laundering Central Board and the Financial Intelligence Unite have to investigate him and his family’s properties since he is going to take the position of deputy parliament speaker. Also, the NLD has to explain about the nominee for clearance from suspects. 

According to the official data released by the parliament, he served as the legal director at the Attorney-General Office as well as the leader of People’s Militia Forces under the control of North-East Command Military Headquarter as a special task from 1990 to 2010. He was involved in the commission drafting the constitution (in 2007) and the commission of national referendum of 2008 Constitution. He also served as the secretary of USDP (Kutkai Township) and executive member of USDP for Northern Shan State.  

His wife is a former high school teacher having two sons (students) and one daughter who is the second secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

What is more, the sixty-five year old T Khun Myat received many national awards including Ye Thura Medal, award for State Peace and Development, good staff award, award of Attorney-General (both first and second) and honor certificate of chief police, awards in management (both second and third).  

On the other hand, Aye Thar Aung from the Arakan National Party who is nominated for the deputy Upper House Speaker is acceptable for the position. 

Aye Thar Aung said, “I’ve heard that I was nominated for the deputy parliament speaker since U Win Htein told me. I will focus on the democratic- oriented reforms and amendments for the 2008 constitution to ensure a federal union.”

Mann Win Khaing Than, the grandson of the martyr Mann Ba Khaing, is also nominated for Upper House speaker. He was elected in 2015 Election representing the NLD for the No. 8 constituency of Myawaddy Township, Kayin State. 

He said, “I’m a relatively new member of the party for that position. There are many legal experts in the NLD to give that position. I was nominated for it because I’m a Kayin ethnic. I think Daw Aung San Suu Kyi creates national reconciliation between the ethnics.”

T Khun Myat said, “There is nothing to say about that. The parliament needs to be powerful in democracy transition period. Only then, could public desires be implemented. I have nothing to say else.”