Pyinmana take Paung Laung fight to president
FOOTBALL fans and community activists in Pyinmana are looking forward to getting their playing field back. After years of protests and effort, they may be about to retake possession of Paung Laung Stadium.
Backed by the town’s elders, local Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Than Soe Aung has directly appealed to President U Htin Kyaw to restore the stadium, which was taken over by the previous government in 2011.
Former player Kyaw Min Han, who has been active in the restoration campaign, gave some context to the upper-level entreaty.
“Nay Pyi Taw council chair Dr Myo Aung suggested that we appeal directly to the president after about 200 town elders signed a petition,” he said.
The activists tried twice before, under the Thein Sein administration, but without success. This will be their first approach to the new government, and so far the most propitious.
“I submitted the petition on the Paung Laung Stadium case to the President’s Office, as well as those of the Nay Pyi Taw council chair and the Ministry of Sport,” U Than Soe Aung told The Myanmar Times inside the Pyithu Hluttaw on July 25. “All of the letters arrived, so we are waiting for a reply now.”
In 2011, then-sports minister U Tint San decided to rent the stadium to Nay Pyi Taw FC, which was owned by his son, Phyo Ko Ko Tint San, for 30 years at K3 million a month, with the first three years rent-free.
Nay Pyi Taw FC then renovated the stadium and changed the name to Nay Pyi Taw FC Stadium. At a ceremony to reopen the stadium, Phyo Ko Ko Tint San promised that township-level football matches would still be able to take place there.
But members of the committee’s supervisory committee say they were never consulted over the deal, and after it was signed local football teams were not allowed to play at the stadium.
The stadium was built in 1973 by a voluntary alliance of soldiers, students and monks, and was publicly owned until the sport ministry took it over. The townspeople have been trying to get it back ever since.
Nay Pyi Taw council agreed to restore the stadium in April 2014, but no follow-up action was taken.
– Translation by San Layy