Mr Thein Sein
The Auditor General (AG) of Myanmar filed a report covering period from 2009 to 2011. The report was released to the lower house of Burmese parliament. The report alleged that six ministries had misused billions of kyat of government funds and engaged in a variety of illegal transactions. The six ministries are: Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Co-operatives, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, the Ministry of Mining and two Ministries of Industry. Although the alleged wrong doings happened before Mr Thein Sein became president, all the six ministries were, during that time, led by prominent members of the current administration.
The Ministry of Information is led by Kyaw Hsan, who held the same post under the military regime that ruled Burma until last year. He is regarded as a hardliner opposed to reforms initiated by President Thein Sein.
Myanmar’s mining ministry have said they will file a lawsuit against the news journal The Voice Weekly which published the allegations of corruption. It is believed that the article was published without approval from the country’s censors. The decision by The Voice Weekly and other weekly magazines shows a growing media independence. There are no independent daily news publications in Myanmar, but there are many weekly publications. The weekly publications are required to submit their articles for the censor’s approval before publication. However, many online news sites have sprung up following the relaxation of internet restrictions.
Observers say there are signs of a power struggle between reformists such as President Thein Sein and other figures regarded as hardliners, some of whom headed the ministries linked to the corruption allegations.
Myanmar remains one of the world’s least developed countries. The critics of the former junta allege that they exploited the country’s abundant resources for their own benefit.
According to Transparency International Myanmar is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
Aung San Suu Kyi, opposition leader, is campaigning for a parliamentary seat in by-elections on 1 April 2012. It is too early to comment how free the election will be. Aung San Suu Kyi’s voice has a grip on the American politicians and her influence will be great on American decision to lift the sanctions against Myanmar.
Here is a Youtube video clip about a film called “They Call it Myanmar – Lifting the Curtain”, which was shown in selected theatres in America. The film was made by writer and filmmaker Robert H. Lieberman over a period of two years. The film was shot secretly.
Here is a review of the film: