State gov­ern­ment re­vamps Su­la­mani Pagoda board

The Myanmar Times - - News - AUNG KYAW MIN aungkyawmin@mm­times.com

CON­TIN­U­ING the man­age­ment over­haul at na­tional sites of wor­ship, the Shan State gov­ern­ment dis­solved the board of trustees at Taung­gyi’s Su­la­mani Pagoda last week.

A new 10-mem­ber com­mit­tee was tasked with look­ing af­ter the famed pagoda – which devo­tees typ­i­cally pay homage to on the Taza­ung­daing Fes­ti­val cir­cuit – on Septem­ber 21, ac­cord­ing to U Aung Than Maung, the re­li­gion min­is­ter for Shan State and Ba­mar eth­nic af­fairs min­is­ter.

The Min­istry of Re­li­gious Af­fairs has em­barked on a cam­paign to re­tool pagoda boards around the coun­try, aim­ing to bring them un­der gov­ern­ment over­sight and in­crease man­age­ment trans­parency, es­pe­cially with re­gards to costly do­na­tions.

A se­nior monk com­mit­tee and pagoda pa­tron com­mit­tee are in­volved in the re­forms at Su­la­mani Pagoda, U Aung Than Maung said.

The pagoda chair, U Nyo Lone, a re­tired school head­mas­ter, along with two deputies, a sec­re­tary and nine board mem­bers, will serve a five-year term con­cur­rent with the gov­ern­ment’s time in of­fice. Two tech­ni­cal ex­perts from the gov­ern­ment have also been ap­pointed to as­sist the Su­la­mani Pagoda board.

“We be­lieve the new trustee com­mit­tee will clean up and stan­dard­ise the pagoda man­age­ment. They have the re­spect and trust of the lo­cal peo­ple be­hind them,” said U Aung Than Maung. “I don’t want to dwell on the past prob­lems of pagoda, but will say there was noth­ing es­pe­cially wrong apart from some is­sues with the man­age­ment.”

Trustee boards at famed re­li­gious sites like Yan­gon’s Sh­wedagon Pagoda have pre­vi­ously come un­der fire for al­le­ga­tions of em­bez­zle­ment. The ac­cu­sa­tions were par­tially re­spon­si­ble for prompt­ing the new gov­ern­ment’s re­form ef­forts.

A mem­ber of the new trustee com­mit­tee at Su­la­mani Pagoda said the mem­bers are fo­cus­ing on boost­ing reg­u­la­tions, fi­nances and se­cu­rity at the pagoda, and will con­duct an au­dit.

“I agreed to serve on the new com­mit­tee as it has the sup­port of the se­nior monks and the pa­tron com­mit­tee,” said deputy chair of the board U Aung Kyaw Naing.

The Shan State re­li­gious af­fairs min­istry has its eye on re­form­ing other famed re­li­gious sites in the state, in­clud­ing Pin­daya, Shwe Phone Pwint and the Kakku Pagoda com­plex, ac­cord­ing to U Aung Than Maung.

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