Mixed reviews on Myanmar government’s first 100 days

YANGON: July 7 marked the 100th day in office for Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD) government. The cabinet, led by State Counsellor, foreign minister and de facto leader of the nation Aung San Suu Kyi, has focused largely on trying to end armed conflicts in Myanmar and establishing a stronger rule of law.

However some political watchers Channel NewsAsia spoke to noted that the government has paid less attention to other important issues such as transport, social welfare and religious affairs. They also criticised the new administration for not addressing problems such as fresh communal violence and frequent power outages.

Khin Maung Zaw, a political analyst, said the administration could have made better use of its first months in office to articulate a clear direction for the country. “The first 100 days are important for a new government to give people the impression of how confident and reliable they are to lead and govern our country for the next five years. At that point, in my opinion, they lost that opportunity.”

Echoing his assessment, Zeya Thu, a political and economic analyst said: “This is when their influence and power are at the peak. So they have the transition from the opposition and now they are in power and they are very popular. So this is the best time to make the policies,” he said. “This is the time to make credible changes, because this is the transition within the even larger transition and if they cannot make the best use of the (first) 100 days, it will set tone for the next five years.”

Others have jumped to the government’s defence, pointing to some initial achievements by Ms Suu Kyi’s administration and saying results cannot be expected in just three months.

Analyst Dr Khin Zaw Win, director of the Tampadipa Institute stated: “The successes are that she started on the rule of law and law and order campaign. But it’s not that broad yet. They’ve been targeting a few more notorious townships in Yangon, and the police have been cracking down on criminals. So that gives people some measure of confidence. The peace process is rolling its wheels once again. We still don’t know what will happen but she’s putting a lot of effort into it.”

Dr Khin Zaw Win acknowledged the pressure on the government. “It’s been what, 7 months since the elections? And you just can’t plead that ‘We’re still unprepared’. People want results.”

He added that Ms Suu Kyi should delegate some of the mammoth tasks at hand. She should delegate more tasks and authority to some of her ministers. Trying to handle it on her own desk, I think it’s not advisable.

“What is the president doing? I don’t really want to pose this question, but she should delegate some work and authority and tasks to the president too. ”

He added: “She’s running the government like the way she’s running the party and that’s not really advisable or realistic at all,” he said. “In Myanmar, the pass grade is 40. Definitely, it would be less than 50, I’m sorry to say. And because you don’t want to give her an F, let’s say 45. She passes, but barely.”

The analysts added that while individual ministries such as that for health, construction and electricity have unveiled their plans, more details are needed to instill confidence in the government among the people of Myanmar.


Source: Channel News Asia

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