No political forum planned: advisor

Dr Nay Zin Latt, a political advisor to the Burmese President, has moved to distance himself from exiled media reports that the government is planning to host a national-level political forum.

Reports suggested that politicians and activists from inside and outside the country, including Aung San Suu Kyi would meet in the capital in November.

In response to a report in the exiled Irrawaddy magazine quoting him as the source, Dr Nay Zinn Latt told DVB that;

“It is not our position to comment on the national-level forum. Maybe there is a group of individuals exclusively discussing on it but how should we know it’s going to be exactly held in a next few months.”

The report suggested that because the economic forum, that saw Aung San Suu Kyi travel to Naypyidaw for the first time, was such a “media success” that a political forum was a likely next step.

The selection of government advisors raised eyebrows with strong academic credentials, Nay Zin Latt for instance has an MBA from Adam University in the United States and a degree in architecture from the Rangoon institute of technology. Most strikingly however was the appointment of U Myint who is noted for being a political moderate, with ties to Aung San Suu Kyi.

The advisors therefore represent at least a nominal opening up of the process of governance in the country, as a result they were seen as a positive step from the government of Thein Sein.

Nay Zin Latt however added that; “My quote made it look like we are making moves ahead of the government. We are just advisors – we give advice and it is up to the president and the government to decide the procedure. This is not a matter that we can decide,” said Dr Nay Zin Latt.

“I told them [the Irrawaddy] that there will be forums on economics, health and education consecutively but that I haven’t heard about a plan for the political forum. Despite this they reported that a political forum will be held ‘in the near future’ and that’s not what I said.”

The senior government advisor is a former military man; he served as a captain with the engineer corps, which he joined in 1981. He is now active as a hotelier with his Ambo Group of Hotels of which he is the chairman. He is also the General Secretary of the Myanmar Hoteliers Association.

Nay Zin Latt cautioned that; “As we are now in a transition period, one needs to take caution in what one says and the information exchanged. It makes it hard for us to give information [to the media] when facts are exaggerated to make a popular headline news.”

Adding that; “It would be better if they can compromise and be fair with us. We all have our ethics and it would be better for long term if we can follow the ethics.”

Dr Nay Zin Latt was appointed to the political advisory committee in April, the political section is headed by propaganda specialist, Ko Ko Hlaing. Nay Zin Latt is rumoured to have tutored Information Minister Kyaw Hsan in public speaking.

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