Speech delivered by State Administration Council Chairman Prime Minister Senior General Thadoe Maha Thray Sithu Thadoe Thiri Thudhamma Min Aung Hlaing at Diamond Jubilee Independence Day 2023

Distinguished guests and all esteemed national brethren of the Union,

Today is truly auspicious as we celebrate the momentous occasion of the 75th Anniversary (Diamond Jubilee) of Independence of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. On this auspicious occasion, I would like to extend my warmest felicitations and greetings as well as best wishes for health, happiness, and prosperity to all the national races residing in the country in harmony and friendship.

Our motherland, Myanmar, has prospered as a dignified nation when we enjoyed solidarity and unity amongst all national races during the reigns of Kings Anawrahta, Bayintnaung, and Alaungphaya. Nonetheless, when unity was weakened, the colonialists waged three aggressive wars against Myanmar. As a result, Myanmar was enslaved, leading to loss of its own monarchy and sovereignty. The imperialists oppressed and exploited Myanmar in political, economic and social aspects through various means. Colonizers used a divideandrule strategy to drive a wedge between national races by dividing hilly regions from the mainland in an effort to prolong their colonialist dominance. However, under the able leadership of ethnic leaders, the entire national races of the Union sacrificed their sweat and blood for the great cause of regaining our indepen-dence. Consequently, Myanmar regained its independence and sovereignty on 4 January 1948. The cost of achieving Independence through sacrifices of the lives, blood and sweat of the ethnic nationals was indeed high. Even after we regained our independence, the negative impacts of the divideandrule system lingered, sparking the emergence of numerous internal armed organizations within the nation. On the bright side, the struggle for independence has fostered a strong sense of patriotism, nationalism and unity amongst all our national races. The history of the struggle for independence has proven that we are crowned with victory when all our national races were unified.

Since our country has been ruled by colonialists for almost a century, there were hardships in the history of our independence struggle. Many sacrificed everything in their quest for independence, including their limbs and lives.

They are, in fact, the architects of our independence who contributed towards the perpetuation of our independence. We observed a twominute moment of silence to pay tribute to them on this special day.

Independence can be lost in a flick of a moment, but it takes years to regain. Therefore, I would like to earnestly urge the entire national races to join hands in safeguarding and perpetuating sovereignty and independence.

Distinguished guests and all esteemed national brethren of the Union, Our country has existed as a union since the days of the ancient monarchs. Our country has been under different political systems since independence, such as the parliamentary democratic system, the Tatmadawled government that temporarily assumed state responsibilities, the single-party system led by the Burma Socialist Programme Party, the Tatmadaw government, and the multiparty democratic political system. Based on the experiences gained throughout our history, from the monarchy to the present, our government has formulated the following two political objectives which best suits for the nation and the people: to strengthen the genuine, disciplined multiparty democracy system and to build the union system based on democracy and federalism.

In realisation of the said two political objectives, active participation of all citizens is of paramount importance. While adhering to the provisions prescribed in the Constitution, it is also important to avoid actions and activities that might deviate from the democratic course. As rule of law is prerequisite to ensure stable and strong democracy, “No one is above the law”.

There are divergent views with respect to democracy or the federal system when it comes to building a Union aspired by all ethnic nationals. Regardless of differences, it is crucial to choose a system that best suits for our country. Just as democracy calls for fulfilling the wishes of the majority, it also required to heed the aspirations of the minority. People with diverse perspectives and goals could not be viewed as the adversary; they should also not be subjected to prejudice or exclusion because such beliefs are incompatible with democratic ideals. A cult of personality is opposed to democracy which not only causes a detrimental impact on union cohesion but also social division.

There are various interpretations of the federal system that use different norms; however, the expression implies cohesion and concordance in essence. This requires us to be aware that no state or territory is home to just one national race; rather, different races are scattered throughout a state or region.

Our country regained independence after overcoming the storm of colony because of the cohesion and unity of all national races. I would like to strongly urge all our national races to uphold the fine tradition of unity in order to build a genuine, disciplined multiparty democracy as well as a Union based on democracy and the federalism through patience, understanding and brotherly spirit.

Distinguished guests and all esteemed national brethren of the Union, The State, on the other hand, has been exerting its utmost efforts in all sectors to achieve national development and food security, which are the two national policies, and has adopted the motto “The strength of the nation lies only within”.

People who depend on agriculture and livestock breeding make up over 70 percent of the rural population of the nation. Technologyassisted production and sales of valueadded products in the agricultural, livestock breeding, and other sectors would guarantee not only selfsufficiency but also export promotion and increased income of our citizens. Efforts will be made to formulate the objectives to reverse the status of an importer who have to import basic consumer products into a status of exporter, who can produce products not only for domestic needs but also for export surplus.

We need to approach this with “a global perspective”. Food, shelter, and clothing are the three fundamental requirements of all human beings. The global population was approximately 6.1 billion in 2000, 7.8 billion in 2020, and approximately 8 billion in 2022 and the population is increasing annually.

There will be a proportionately larger need for food, clothing, and shelter and housing as the population grows.

Food demand, in particular, will be extremely high. Agriculture and livestockreeding supply the majority of the demand for these basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. Our country is sandwiched between two of the world’s most populous nations. Myanmar, blessed with favorable weather conditions and a strategic geographical location, is a country that thrives in crop cultivation, fruit cultivation, and livestock breeding. It is critical to seize these opportunities and utilize effectively. Food security will become increasingly important in the world where demand for these basic human needs rises.

Ours is a country with significant potential to contribute to global food security. Indeed, our country could become the agricultural powerhouse that we once imagined.

Rather than increasing the sown acreage of main crops, plans were underway to increase crop cultivation as mixed cropping and double cropping.

If peracre yield increases, we can expect better development for the country.

Similarly, livestock farms must be planned in order to expand livestock manufacturing. If this occurs, the country will have sufficient poultry, meat and fish, as well as served as import substitution and as primary export commodities. Every nation and individual strives to advance their socioeconomic status. Our collective efforts are necessary to achieve this overarching goal. “Dedicated work and determination enable us to achieve any goal we set.”

In order to build a modern, developed nation, our administration has taken pragmatic steps in the best interests of the entire people. Additionally, for the sake of the nation, I would like to urge all national races to work side by side in respective sectors with a view to promoting prosperity and development of the nation.

Distinguished guests and all esteemed national brethren of the Union, The government exerting utmost efforts to a better State and to uplift socio-economic condition of our people in accord with the motto: “Keep Moving Forward to Achieve Our Goal” in the interests of the country and the people.

In building a country that practices democratic system, all citizens need to possess knowledge and critical thinking. This cannot be done overnight but must be initiated a length of time from generation to generation. Human resources are keys to sustainable development, so, emphasis must be placed on the education sector. Thus, the government emphasizes education sector to increase the percentage of school children and literacy rate across the country. The government has set a national goal for all schoolaged children to have the chance to learn and finish KG+9 education. Only when they finish KG+9 education at a minimum, will they have solid foundation for vocational education, and so, they can pursue their studies at vocational training schools.

School education as well as know-ledge of life beyond schools are widely encourged in pursuing edcuation. It is necessary to create opportunities for all citizens to learn vocational education in respective sectors. Hence, the government has made arrangement to create chances for all citizens to accumulate knowledge through reading as it is the simplest and cheapest way of learning. Moreover, efforts are being made to launch literacy campaigns with a goal to eradicate illiteracy. Investment plans of education sector will be groundwork for future democratic nation.

It is necessary to encourage the people to enthusiastically participate in sports activities as part of nationwide movement for ensuring health and fitness of entire people. Plans have been laid out with implementation to turn out new generation of youths who have talents in sports, to be able to represent from regional/national level to international level, with a view to uplifting the prestige of the State and nationals. The government has also set a goal to implement affordable healthcare services in order to meet the healthcare standard and increase life expectancy of the entire people. With effective measures of prevention, control and treatment of the COVID-19, the outbreak of disease and death toll have been reduced and brought under control at present.

In order to develop the state economy and domestic manufacturing capacity, efforts are being made to develop micro, small and mediumscale enterprises (MSMEs). With these measures, the production of finished goods using raw materials from domestic agriculture, livestock farms and natural resources which are major driving force for domestic manufacturing will improve significantly as well.

While striving for the development, natural resources must be utilized in prudent and sensible manner giving due consideration of the future of the State and next generations. As such, it is necessary to conduct environmental conservation and rehabilitation measures for the past environmental degradation. In extracting natural resources, sales of manufacturing finished goods rather than selling in raw form can earn more income, create job opportunities for local people and develop technology and human resources at home.

Moreover, the best ways and means are being sought for generating electricity at full capacity and for having a sufficiency of electricity for both household and manufacturing purposes.

Renewable energies such as solar power and hydro power could be conducted and atomic energy in addition to potential wind energy and hydropower will be peacefully used to implement projects in the electric power sector and others.

Strenuous efforts are also being made for the development of the nation in all aspects and undertakings of nondisintegration of the Union and improvement of culture and social sectors. In implementing a social object for deepening the Union Spirit “to respect and promote the customs and traditions of all National peoples and preserve and safeguard their cultural heritage and national characteristics”, the Myanmar Traditional Cultural Performing Arts Competition at the national level was successfully organized on a grand scale. Members of the State Administration Council (SAC) organized celebrations to mark relevant State Days on a grand scale. The government has pledged to march towards a modern and developed nation. So, I would like to urge all our national races to cooperate with the government in our march towards the goal in respective sectors.

Distinguished guests and all esteemed national brethren of the Union, According to the history and geopolitical conditions of Myanmar, our government has been steadfastly upholding the five principles of peaceful coexistence as the foundation of foreign policy since postindependence period.

Currently, Myanmar continues to practise independent, active and nonaligned foreign policy and attaches great importance to world peace and friendly relations with other countries, while practicing 5 principles of peaceful coxistence.

Our government has been serving the State’s responsibilities in line with the State Constitution (2008) and cooperating with international organizations such as the United Nations, ASEAN and BIMSTEC and other countries under international law, treaties and conventions. It is seen that some organizations and countries had meddled in the internal affairs of Myanmar.

However, we have decided to stand firmly globally, while adhering to our foreign policy in order to safeguard the sovereignty, security and interests of our nation.

Our government has placed emphasis on global affairs and friendly relations with other countries and will closely cooperate with neighbouring countries, such as China, India, Thailand, Laos and Bangladesh, especially in peace, stability and development endeavours of border areas. Our government always ensure for the peace and stability and development of neighbouring countries by adopting a practical policy of “not allowing any organizations to utilize our territory to conduct activities against our friendly neighbours”. Likewise, Myanmar maintains close relations with world’s major powers.

During our administration tenure, I would like to express our sincere appeciation for cooperation and suggestions of some international/ regional organizations and countries amid various pressures and criticisms, while realizing the factual account of events. I would like to urge them to give continuous support to the fullest extent possible in practicing “the genuine, disciplineflourishing multiparty democratic system”, which is also the aspiration of the entire people of Myanmar. I would also like to extend our gratitude to those countries and international organizations that provided support across sectors including finance, technology and opportunity since pre and postindependence period which enable us to rise from ashes to this current stage. Our government is ready to continue our cooperation with any countries or organizations which contribute to the interests of Myanmar.

Distinguished guests and all esteemed national brethren of the Union,State of Emergency was declared in accordance with the State Constitution (2008); hence, the State Administration Council remains loyal to the Constitution.

A point “Emphasis will be placed on achieving durable peace for the entire nation in line with the agreements set out in the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement” has been included in the FivePoint Roadmap of our government for the cessation of internal armed conflicts to ensure national solidarity and peace which are absolute necessities for our country and strenuous efforts are being made towards that end.

As the year 2022 was marked as a Year of Peace, I, myself have offered to hold peace dialogues with leaders of ethnic armed organizations in order to end long-running armed conflicts and building lasting peace and I have met with them and had peace talks with them. The National Solidarity and Peacemaking Central Committee, the Work Committee and the Negotiation Committee have been established to implement peace process. The peace talks were based on the Constitution (2008) and the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement-NCA which the State stands for ensuring the restoration of peace. Attendance of a total of ten ethnic armed groups to the peace talks reflected their attitudes and willingness to walk the path of peace.

The Tatmadaw has conducted a unilateral ceasefire for four years starting from 21 December 2018 to the end of 2022, aiming to enable the ethnic armed organizations to walk on the path of NCA and restore perpetual peace. The Tatmadaw always remained committed to seek solutions through negotiations. For the time being, the extension of the ceasefire from 1 January to 31 December 2023 has been declared. Taking into consideration of the interests of our country and people facing internal armed conflicts since independence, I would like to urge all stakeholders to make utmost efforts for ceasing the internal armed conflicts starting from this very Diamond Jubilee of Independence so that our next generation will inherit peace.

Distinguished guests and all esteemed national brethren of the Union,Free and fair elections play a pivotal role in the revitalization of the genuine, discipline-flourishing multiparty democratic system. The process of holding the election is being carried out in line with the last point of the FivePoint Roadmap “Upon accomplishing the provisions of the state of emergency, free and fair multiparty democratic elections will be held in line with the 2008 Constitution, and further work will be undertaken to hand over State duties to the winning party in accordance with the democratic standards”.

As the government is striving for the successful holding of the election, relevant departments are making systematic preparations to have accu-rate data. A special emphasis is being placed on accuracy of voter lists in order to prevent voter fraud.

The Union Election Commission (UEC) has been discussing with the political parties to hold Proportional Representation Electoral system which allows the ethnic people to have the official rights to expression, discussion and broad representation that are entitled to them in the parliament, the highest legislative body. The government will join hands with the entire people to ensure safe and smooth transportation across the country, prevalence of law and order and tranquility in order to successfully hold a free, fair and credible election.

Our country has held three general elections since transition to the multi-party democratic system. The 2010 election covered 325 of 330 townships across the nation; the 2015 election was held in 323 townships; and while the 2020 election took place in 315 townships. It was observed that public desire was less expressed under the governments which asserted that they would implement the democratic system. In holding elections, individual citizen must be freed from unfairness such as threat, coercions, unfair inducement and mobbing to express their opinion. Our govern-ment is striving for holding the nationwide general elections across the country and for all citizens free from injustice.

I would like to earnestly request partner organizations and countries and entire people to hold consciousness and awareness and to cooperate with the government in implementing the national and political processes so as to safeguard the democratic process of Myanmar.

Distinguished guests and esteemed national brethren of the Union During the time of independence struggle and post-independence era, there were many organizations and individuals that placed national interest over self-interest. Some of such organizations are the Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA), the General Council of Burmese Associations (GCBA), Doh Bamar Asiayone, AFPFL, Thirty Comrades, the Revolutionary Council, the Myanmar Socialist Programme Party, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, the State Peace and Development Council and so on.

With regard to individuals, Wuntho Saopha U Aung Myat, Con Bik, Bagan Bo Cho and so on were famous in the first phase of independence struggle. Likewise, U Ba Pe, U Chit Hlaing, Saya San, Thakin Po Hla Gyi, Bo Aung Kyaw, Thakin Kodaw Hmine, U Po Kyar, Saya Tin, U Wizara and U Uttama were included in the second phase and martyrs led by General Aung San and Colonel Ba Htoo were in the final phase. Moreover, in the postindependence era, many personalities from various arenas exerted national perpetuation, and raised the prestige of the State. Some renowned persons were U Nu, U Ba Swe, General Ne Win, U Kyaw Nyein, Senior General Than Shwe, UN General Secretary U Thant, Dr. Ba Maw, and national leaders who signed the Panglong Agreement. There are many more outstanding people out there who are not on my list. Regardless of differences in their concepts and attitudes, they all built the State and raised the prestige of the State. So, in recognition of merits of individuals of successive eras for their contributions and sacrifices for the State, our government has conferred honorary titles upon them. I further honoured them with this ceremony. They will forever remain in our hearts.

Distinguished guests and all esteemed national brethren of the Union The past history testifies that the strength of the nation lies only within.

We have to primarily rely on internal strength to develop the nation. There is no reason for our country not to develop since our country is rich in above ground, underground and water resources as well as human resources. If we are united and make our efforts, without doubt, we would become a regional power, and eventually a world power.

I would like to praise all the national races of the Union for their steadfastness in the face of adversities during the 75 years. I would also like to urge all of you to make every effort with patriotic and national spirit, for national perpetuation and our country to stand tall among global nations. “So long as the world exists, so does Myanmar”.

Distinguished guests and all esteem-ed national brethren of the Union,Let me conclude by urging the entire people to make collective efforts in implementing the following national objectives of the Diamond Jubilee Independence Day:

– to ensure cementing the disci-pline-flourishing genuine multi-party democratic system and build the Union based on democracy and federalism;

– to utmost strive for ensuring the prosperity of the nation and food sufficiency as national tasks;

– to build a better State and socio-economic life in accord with the theme “Keep Moving Forward to Achieve Our Goal” focusing on the interests of the State and ethnic national peoples;

– to initiate national solidarity and peace of the Union with a firm vow;

– to successfully hold free and fair multiparty democratic general elections and emerge electoral system in which all ethnic nationals would participate proportionately.

May all national races brethren enjoy physical and mental well-being.

Thank you all.

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