Arakan party chairman and NLD member die of old age

Jan 7, 2009 (DVB), Saw Mra Aung, chairman of the Arakan League for Democracy, died of old age at his home in Rangoon on Monday at the age of 92, while National League for Democracy member Hlaing Aye died on Tuesday morning.

Aye Thar Aung, ALD leader and secretary of the CRPP, said Saw Mra Aung's funeral was held at Yayway cemetery in Rangoon.

"The family received wreaths from the [National League for Democracy] and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also sent a basket of flowers and five pairs of monks' robes," Aye Thar Aung said.

"His funeral was attended by veteran politicians such as Thakin Ohn Myint, Bo Myint Lwin, politicians from different ethnic backgrounds such as Htaung Ko Htan and Dr Aung Tin Oo, many Arakanese politicians and our CRPP members."

Saw Mra Aung, who was also well known as a Burmese traditional doctor, had volunteered at the Zewitadarna monastery hospital in the early years of his life.

He became leader of the ALD during the national uprisings in Burma in 1988 and was elected as a people’s parliament representative for Myauk U township’s Voting Zone (1) in the 1990 elections.

Saw Mra Aung served as chairman of the ALD until his death and actively worked with the NLD and ethnic political organisations to establish a people’s parliament in Burma.

"He had been the chairman of the ALD since its formation and he understood that in order to bring improvements to the situation of Arakan nationals, we need to join hands with other ethnic people," Aye Thar Aung said.

"He took his strong stand alongside of the NLD and its leader to fight for human rights and democracy in Burma," he said.

"I feel that his death as a democratic leader [of Burma] and national leader of the Arakan is a huge loss for both our organisation and our people."

Hlaing Aye, 70, a member of Hlaing Tharyar township NLD’s organising wing, passed away yesterday morning in Rangoon from old age, according to NLD spokesperson Nyan Win.

"Both of U Hlaing Aye's sons, Thant Zin Myo and Thant Zin Oo, and his daughter-in-law Hla Hla Maw are in prison," Nyan Win said.

"They have submitted appeals to the authorities to let them attend their father’s funeral. No response has been received yet."

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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