Mi Yin Mon, Kon Hadee : Starting on the 8th of February this year, the Mudon Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) has lead an ongoing collection of the family lists of residents permanently residing in Mudon Town. According to residents, the TPDC staff was specifically only interested in permanent household residents, rather than in family members working abroad.
This method of family list collections marks a departure from previous family list collections taken around Mon State over the past year, which forced household members to include the names of individuals working outside of Burma. Mudon Town residents speculated to IMNA that the Burmese government is using these permanent resident lists to expand its understanding of expected voter populations for the 2010 election; sources claimed that numbers of migrant workers will likely be recorded on a separate list.
“They [the TPDC] just wanted to put the name people who are living in the house currently on the list. But they did not want people who were not in the houses, and are working in other countries,” said a Mudon town resident.
According to another Mudon town resident, a neighbor of his, who travels between his home in Mudon Town, and his job in Three Pagoda’s Pass town on a weekly basis, was absent when the Mudon TPDC collected the names of his family members. When this individual contacted the Mudon TPDC in order to have his name included on the list along with those of his family members, he was refused.
The first Mudon town resident interviewed by IMNA for this story claimed that the TPDC members who collected the family lists informed residents that they were from that point forward forbidden from leaving the country, and that failure to respond to TPDC summons would result in arrests and taxation.
The TPDC is taking list of the family is for the next coming 2010 election. “When we went to give them our family list, the TPDC told us that they are taking the lists of the families for the 2010 election,” the neighbor of the Three Pagoda’s Pass worker informed IMNA.
The Burmese government exhibited similar behavior during the lead-up to the 2008 constitutional referendum, conducting separate counts of permanent residents and family members working abroad on in a variety of villages around Mon State.