Anger over minister's Myitsone comments

Burmese magazine editors and advocates of the ‘Save the Irrawaddy’ campaign have expressed anger over comments made by Electric Power-1 Minister Zaw Min. The minister accused the movement of mass “hysteria” and said those taking part in it were conspiring against a “national interest” in a meeting with journalists on 11 September.

Maung Sein Ni, editor of Padauk Pwint Thit monthly magazine said he was disappointed to hear such ‘ungentlemanly’ comments from the minister.

“We don’t want to pay attention and respond to such ungentlemanly comments. We were only looking do what is needed to be done for the future and expected a civilised response from him but it turns out he only came up with really vulgar comments. He should have to pay a price for what he said,” said Maung Sein Ni.

Padauk Pwint Thit dedicated its whole issue in June to the Irrawaddy River. Maung Sein Ni said it was necessary to do so as there are signs that the river is about to disappear.

Dewi Thant Zin, editor of Aung Pinlae magazine said there the general public were disappointed over the minister’s remarks.

“As far as I know, no one was happy about his comments that the project won’t be backed down. I think he should have a respect for the people’s voice and will at a time like this, when looking to the development of the country under a new government,” she said.

Influential, veteran journalist Ludu Sein Win has also warned that it would be the responsibility of those who decided to continue with the project if people take to the streets when civilised efforts had failed.

The Myitsone dam is a major Chinese hydro power project at a confluence of the Irrawaddy river in Kachin state. The vast majority of the electricity will go to China. A vocal chorus against the project has emerged, including democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who recently voiced concerns over the project.

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