RCSS unimpressed with peace progress
IN an exclusive interview with The Myanmar Times this week, General Yawd Serk, chair of the powerful armed ethnic Restoration Council of Shan State/shan State Army - South (RCSS) revealed his thoughts on the recent peace summit in Nay Pyi Taw, saying “it was not very good.”
He said the summit “didn’t look like a bilateral meeting, as the commander-in-chief went out of the meeting once he had finished delivering his speech. It was like commanding: Do as I say.”
When asked if there was any possibility of a constitutional amendment via the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), General Yawd Serk replied that such procedures must be handled in parliament.
“We are not involved in the legislative role. That is why the Nca-signatories, the government, the Tatmadaw and political parties will discuss it together outside parliament. Based on those discussions, parliament will have to approve it as a Union agreement. It is the peace-shaping role of the NCA as well as the route to amend the 2008 Constitution,” he said.
Yet, the general was also of the view that current peace talks are not making any progress. “If the talks are not progressing, the NCA might become void. We will no longer be able to walk the path of the NCA. Peace cannot be forced. We might go back to our battlefront,” he said.
“Unless the 2008 Constitution is amended, democracy in its full essence will not be attainable. Until now, the Tatmadaw still holds 25 percent of the seats in parliament. The Tatmadaw is still involved in politics. That is why the State Counsellor cannot carry out all her [peace] plans,” he added.
“The general said “ethnic groups have been discussing making reforms to the country after amending the 2008 Constitution. If the Tatmadaw sticks to its one-sided adherence to the 2008 Constitution, there will be difficulties. There appears to be a question about whether the pursuit of peace by the Tatmadaw is real. It is questionable why they are discussing the sectors that were not mentioned in the NCA.”
Farm loans The state-owned Myanmar Agriculture Development Bank (MADB) will increase the amount of crop loans it provides to help farmers cover the cost of production, from K50,000 per acre to K100,000 per acre, the Ministry of Planning and Finance (MOPF) said.
“The government has a long-term goal to help farmers and agri-businesses to develop with improved financing, and we are now doing more than in the past to provide financial support to the sector,” MOPF Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Win said.