March 4, 2002 Issue # 1976*

#4075 2002-03-04

An on-line listserv covering Burma
March 4, 2002 Issue # 1976


NLM: Than Shwe's message on agro-development
DVB: Junta reshuffles police hierarchy in states, divisions


DVB: Missile site constructed with Russian help
Bangkok Post: All Quiet on the western front


Bankgok Post: Golden Triange tries a comeback
AFP: Burma World’s Biggest Opium Producer: UN
Straits Times: Scourge of Asia: Not heroin but synthetic drugs


The Age: Burma Obstructs East Timor's Push For ASEAN Membership


FEER: A Possible Thaw Among Burmese
AAS: Annual Meeting Announcement
SUB: Press Release
DVB: Internship Applications
Washington Post: Book on Burma highlighted

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
The New Light of Myanmar
March 2, 2002

State Peace and Development Council Chairman Senior General Than Shwe's
message on Peasants Day:

The following is a translation of the message of Chairman of the State
Peace and Development Council Senior General Than Shwe on the occasion
of the 2002 Peasants Day. Esteemed peasantry; Peasants Day is observed
every year in honour of all the Myanmar Burmese peasantry on 2 March
2002. On this auspicious day, I would like to wish all the Myanmar
peasantry well-being in body and mind and success of agricultural work.

The State Peace and Development Council is implementing political,
economic and social objectives with the aim of ensuring peace and
tranquillity and modernizing and developing Myanmar. In the light of the
present situation, the economy of Myanmar is based on agriculture, on
which over 70 per cent of the population of the nation has to rely. That
is to say, at the present time, development of other economic sectors of
the state banks on the strength of the agriculture sector.

Therefore, the government is implementing plans to tap land and marine
resources to the full with the aim of promoting the development of the
agriculture sector. Dams, reservoirs and embankments have been built
with added momentum in a short time to ensure sufficient water supply
for agricultural purposes. There are altogether 130 dams, reservoirs and
embankments built after 1988 inclusive of Paingkyon Sluice Gate
inaugurated in Kawa Township, Bago Division, in February.

Thirty-two dams and reservoirs projects are in course of implementation,
and plans are afoot to build yet another 44 irrigation facilities. River
water pumping projects as well as dam and reservoir projects have been
implemented to utilize water from rivers and creeks provided by Nature.
There are altogether 262 river water pumping projects. Moreover,
underground water has been tapped, thereby providing drinking-water and
water for agricultural purposes for rural people. Viable ways and means
have been sought in all the regions to supply water for agricultural
purposes. As a result, irrigated acres of land grew from 2.5 million
acres of land to over 4.9 million. There were 23.8 million acres of sown
acreage in 1988. The total acres have increased up to 37.14 million.

I would like to urge all the peasants to make best use of the cultivable
lands which have emerged due to the arrangements of the government, and
to work harder to improve socio-economic life and to meet the target of
agricultural production of the state.

Esteemed peasantry; To sustain economic development of the state, a
third short-term five-year plan which runs from 2001-2002 to 2005-2006
is being implemented with the following aims:

- to establish and extend agro-based industries,

- to develop the electricity sector and the energy sector in keeping
with the extension f industries,

- to ensure local sufficiency of food in the agriculture sector and the
meat and fish sector and to promote export,

- to develop other sectors as well,

- to extend education and health tasks for development of human

- to develop rural areas. In implementing one of the six aims

- to develop rural areas where the peasants live

- the government has paid first priority to betterment of condition of
transport, water supply and improvement of education, health and
economic standards, which are fundamental necessities of the rural

In response to the goodwill of the government, all the peasants need to
cooperate with it in implementing these aims.

Esteemed peasantry; The State Peace and Development Council is
safeguarding the national policy of the state - non-disintegration of
the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and perpetuation of
sovereignty, and working hard day and night for the emergence of a new,
peaceful, modern and developed nation out of pure love of the country
despite internal and external interference and difficulties and
stringencies. One of the tasks being undertaken by the government is to
ensure emergence of a new state constitution which guarantees the
modernization, development and perpetual existence of the nation.

If there were no acts of interference from inside and outside the
country with the self-reliant efforts of the government and the people
for the prosperity and development of the state and if there were no
attempts to push the nation into a difficult situation, the nation would
make progress more quickly and become more prosperous, and the living
standard of the peasants would be higher than it is now.

Hence, I would like to urge all the peasantry emphatically to actively
and harmoniously cooperate with the government in striving for the
development of the agriculture sector, which plays a crucial role in the
economic growth of the nation, for the realization of the aims enshrined
in the third short-term five-year plan, for the development of rural
areas where the peasantry are residing, and for the emergence of a new
enduring State constitution with the aim of building the nation into a
peaceful, modern and developed one.

Democratic Voice of Burma

February 24, 2002


After great changes were made to the SPDC State Peace and Development
Council military at the end of last year, DVB Democratic Voice of Burma
has learned that high-ranking positions in the Myanmar Burma Police
Force MPF were also being reshuffled.

During February Police Lt-Col Nyunt Wai from Criminal Investigation
Department was transferred to Sagaing Division as divisional police
chief while Sagaing Division police chief Police Col Kyaw Htay was
transferred to Tenasserim Division. Similarly, Tenasserim Division
police chief Police Col Ba Kyi was transferred to eastern Shan State as
police chief while Shan State police chief Police Col Tin Maung Maung
was transferred to Kachin State. In the same way, Kachin State police
chief Police Col Aung Tun was transferred to Shan? State
as police chief.

Although the reason for the reshuffling was not clearly known, political
observers believed that it could be the work of SPDC Secretary-1 Lt Gen
Khin Nyunt-led Myanmar Police Force Management Committee. The committee
is planning to re-engineer and expand the MPF.

Meanwhile, sources close to the police department say more transfers are
expected at the end of the MPF annual general meeting which will
commence in a few days.

____________________ GUNS ____________________
Democratic Voice of Burma

February 25, 2002


Five Russian experts believed to assist in building a Surface to Air
Missile SAM Battery have arrived in Burma and construction of the site
has already begun. The five Russian experts accompanied by the SPDC
State Peace and Development Council Director of Armoured and Artillery
arrived yesterday at the site near Alechaung Village in Northeastern
Mergui District, Tenasserim Division. The area between Alechaung
Village and Sanpe hill near the tributary of Tamok Creek in Northeastern
Mergui District has been declared as a prohibited
zone since yesterday.

The Russian experts have chosen a site close to a watefrall near Tamok
Creek to construct a building to install the computer-aided guidance
system for the SAM battery. It is also known that hydroelectric power
could be generated from the waterfall as well. DVB Democratic Voice of
Burma has learned that construction of roads to carry the equipment and
machinery needed for the site has already begun today.

Bangkok Post

February 28, 2002


The Burmese territory just across the border from Chiang Rai's Mae Fah
Luang was unusually quiet this past week despite statements by Burmese
officers that Rangoon forces were planning an assault on Shan State Army
bases in the region.

It is estimated that around 2,000 Burmese soldiers, including forces
from the United Wa State Army, have been massed around the five SSA
bases along the border.

One seasoned border watcher believes Rangoon is determined this year to
wipe the SSA bases, including the main command at Gor Wan. The bases are
said to barrack between 800 and 1,000 armed fighters.

The surprising peace so far along the border was attributed by some, if
only partly, to a visit by Thai security officers believed sent by
Defence Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to brief the SSA commander,
Jao Yawd Serk, on talks between Bangkok and Rangoon aimed at producing a
lasting peace in the region.

That's one theory doing the rounds, but an aide to Gen Chavalit said the
minister had never ordered such a mission, although it was his policy to
end the mistrust that has characterised our relations with Burma for so
many years.

But one person we spoke to claimed a member of mission was heard to tell
Jao Yawd Serk that: "This is part of the new government's policy to
strengthen and bring prosperity to the border region and to develop it
as a tourist spot." A golf course is no doubt already being draughted.

Security officers with the 3rd Army's Pha Muang task force, which is in
charge of security along the border fronting Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai
provinces, also were not aware of this meeting.

"We were not told of the mission but this is not surprising as people up
above can push directly for such initiatives," said one.

Strikes on the SSA bases might have been put on hold to give the SSA the
opportunity to agree to a reconciliation with Rangoon.

Seventeen armed groups, including the disbanded Mong Tai Army once led
by drug kingpin Khun Sa, have agreed over the past decade to join
Rangoon's "Armed Groups' Return to the Legal Fold".

Jao Yawd Serk was told this week by the Thai security officers to also
join this scheme or face the consequences.

But a senior SSA officer said: "Our leader Yawd Serk has little faith in
the initiative, although he is not opposed to truce talks with Burma."

The officer said he was worried the planned strike on Gor Wan would
break the back of the SSA resistance if Thai border troops added their
weight to the assault.

It's politics as usual

There are no true friends or permanent enemies in politics." Only the
extraordinarily na(AAC)ve could think otherwise. Take the case of
Sukhavich Rangsitpol, deputy leader of the fast-expiring New Aspiration
party, and Arkhom Engchuan, a Democrat representative for Krabi.

The two enjoyed a keen mutual animosity when Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh
was prime minister and Mr Sukhavich was his deputy back in 1996-97.
During a no-confidence debate in 1997, Mr Arkhom, then as now on the
opposition benches, accused Mr Sukhavich while education minister of
purchasing overpriced computers for schools right across the country
from a company owned by associates. Mr Arkhom said this presented the
company a handsome five billion-odd baht profit
as each computer was worth only 6,500 baht but was sold to the Education
Ministry for 60,000 baht. That's a 55,000 baht profit on a single
computer and the equipment was placed in schools right up and down, and
across, the great kingdom of Thailand.

Mr Sukhavich responded to the charges with a defamation suit against Mr
Arkhom, and his position was helped along by the findings of subsequent
court hearings which cleared the minister of any wrongdoing.

Things could have got terribly sticky for Mr Arkhom but he managed to
convince Mr Sukhavich earlier this month to withdraw his defamation case
from the Min Buri Court.

It has been reported, just in passing, that Mr Sukhavich and his
daughter, Lt-Col Thitiya, were wanting to decamp from New Aspiration for
the Democrat party after it was decided New Aspiration would become just
another faction in the monolithic Thai Rak Thai party.

This would be something of a coup for the Democrats as Mr Sukhavich
wields some influence in the Bangkok constituencies.

Sources said Gen Chavalit himself begged Rangsitpol pere and daughter to
throw their lot in with Thai Rak Thai.

But we're told things still aren't totally clear. A final decision is
said to rest with Lt-Col Thitiya, who is thought to have something of a
career in politics ahead of her.

As for Mr Sukhavich, he has hanging over his head that bothersome
business of his role in the incredibly fouled up Bang Na-Chon Buri
expressway and the contractor's demand for 6.2 billion baht in damages
from the Expressway and Rapid Transit Authority for delaying the
hand-over of land. Mr Sukhavich was the ETA's governor when the project
was in its infancy.

Democrat diversions

The Democrat party is facing a shake-up this April, apparently with the
hope of lifting its election performance. There also is the possibility
of a change of executive personnel, but it would be a brave man indeed
who bet on anything dramatic developing on that score.

Almost all the Democrat bigwigs have confirmed they are quite
comfortable in their current positions. Certainly party leader Chuan
Leekpai and secretary-general Anant Anantakul are not expected to have
any need to change their namecards after the party general assembly on
April 6.

This is a slap in the face of Maj-Gen Sanan Kachornprasart, the party's
secretary-general before being cast from political office by the
Constitutional Court for lying about his personal wealth, who was
wanting the serving executives replaced, especially the
secretary-general as he wants that job for his lieutenant, Pradit

The move has some backing among key players, but not until next year
when the executives' four-year term expires. This year's shindig will
just discuss the idea.

"The meeting in April will not see a change of major positions like the
party leader or the secretary-general, but there will be amendments to
party regulations to prepare for major changes among executives in
2003," said Chamni Sakdiset, a deputy secretary-general.

Mr Chamni said the revamp would create 18 new electoral directors who
each would take charge of campaign strategies for a geographic zone.

"These electoral directors will take up the duties held by the deputy
leaders for the past 15 years. Each deputy leader used to take charge of
a whole region," he said. "Although this creates campaign unity, the
burden is too heavy, especially in the last election when things were
changed to the single-constituency system."

There will be three zones each in the South, North, the Central Plains
and Bangkok and six in the Northeast. Other than in Bangkok, each zone
will cover four to five provinces.

The party also at the assembly will create new offices to supervise such
things as campaign strategy, policies, political know-how, fund-raising,
public relations and branch development. An advisory council will be
formed to discuss clear management.


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