Ministers should show care with how they talk during the time of increasing media freedom

Naypyidaw: ‘In an era of increasing media freedoms in Myanmar, government ministers should think carefully before they express their thoughts’ U Pe Than, an MP from Mraybon township, told Narinjara yesterday.

He made these remarks during an interview with Narinjara regarding U Myint Hlaing, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, who had to formally apologize to the MPs from the parliament.

‘He loses a lot of credibility because of this incident where he had to make a formal apology. It seems that the people developed a bad impression of the MPs because of this too. I hope that government ministers rein in their unscrupulous speeches in the future’ said he.

‘Other people should also take lessons out of this occasion and if no further episode of this kind happened in the future; there would be no more glitches between Ministers and MPs’ he continued.

Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, U Myint Hlaing, remarked in an interview with Hot News Journal that MPs are not educated, did not even pass High School and were acting in Parliament without proper care of affairs, reported a domestic Journal called ‘Hot News Journal’ on the 23rd of March.

This comment sparked fury among the MPs as they felt they were insulted and reported the statement to the  Parliament Affair Committee.

This Committee inquired about the incident on the 27th March by summoning him. Then, he replied that he said so with concern for the good-will of the country and had no intention to insult the MPs; the media outlet misunderstood his observation; and that he respects both the parliament and the MPs and he confirmed no intent of offense and said it was just lost in translation’ explained U Pe Than.

Minister U Myint Hlaing is reported to have said that he felt regret because of the unnecessary event and that he was even ready to bow down to show respect in front of the MPs if necessary.

‘He said he learnt a lot of lessons from this experience. In the utmost, he was told by the committee that he willingly or unwillingly created an occasion which can be interpreted as an offence and he was asked if he would be willing to make a formal apology for the felony of personal offence and he admitted. He said he even was ready to show traditional respect-giving posture towards the MPs if asked so’ U Pe Than elaborated.

This is the first of this kind of formal apology from a Union Minister at the Parliament since the introduction of Parliament in Myanmar and MPs in the parliament received the apology with total satisfaction.