Town elders to appeal for state counsellor’s help with Paung Laung problem
THE fight over the controversial Paung Laung Stadium is being taken to a higher level – all the way to the Lady herself. Determined to restore control over the facility to the local community, activists say they will now write to State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi appealing for her intervention.
U Kyaw Min Han, chair of the committee set up to regain control over the stadium, announced the move at a meeting in Pyinmana’s Jivitadana Sangha Hospital on October 9. Before sending the letter, the committee will gather as many signatures as possible. He also raised the possibility that adherents could take the matter to the streets if the government proved unresponsive.
Protests may seem extreme, but for Pyinmana residents, options are beginning to run out. Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Than Soe Aung (NLD; Pyinmana) has already raised the matter in parliament, asking the government on September 22 if there was a plan to restore the stadium to the local community. Health and Sports Minister Myint Htwe said the Myanmar Football Federation has agreed to hand over the stadium to ministry control, but no one has responded to the demands for local management.
The stadium was built by area residents with assistance from monks, local army units and students in 1973. Matches were played there until 2010, but the ground had been seized by Nay Pyi Taw City Development Committee in 2011 and rented out to Nay Pyi Taw FC, which had recently agreed to give it back.
However, the activists were not satisfied with the minister’s reply.
“U Than Soe Aung told us that the minister didn’t answer his question, and that he would continue to do what he could to meet the locals’ demands,” said U Kyaw Min Han.
Though Nay Pyi Taw FC upgraded the facilities during their tenure, local residents say the quality of the work was not good, and had deteriorated.
U Than Soe Aung told The Myanmar Times, “Nay Pyi Taw FC donated Paung Laung to the ministry. So for the time being, the stadium is a townshipowned facility, and local children can play there for free. Some residents want the facility to be taken over by Pyinmana township, while some want it maintained jointly by the town elders and the Ministry of [Health and] Sport.”
He added that, if it is the desire of the township’s residents, he will push for the stadium to return to township control.
“If they want it to be a Pyinmanaowned stadium, I will help them,” he said. – Translation by Thiri Min Htun
A local committee plans to solve the long-standing dispute over who will manage Nay Pyi Taw’s Paung Laung Stadium by asking, via petition, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to intervene.