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Interview with the Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF)

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IMNA: It is known that the MNDF will register soon, so I would like to know the future plans of the party?

 the press conference of the Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF)
the press conference of the Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF)
Nai Tin Aung (Vice Chairman 1): After the coming by-election, the MNDF will register. Either we can register the party with the present name or we can do registration with another name.

IMNA: The MNDF has been trying to unite with All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMDP). Can you explain about that, please?

Nai Tin Aung (Vice Chairman 1): We would welcome that situation, indeed. We must unite. All Mon should be in a union. It is not good to separate into two groups. The purpose of uniting is the freedom of Mon nationals. We must unite if we really intend to bring about national freedom.

IMNA: The MNDF said it could not accept the 2008 constitution. How should this constitution be amended?

Nai Tin Aung (Vice Chairman 1): According to the current political situation, amending the 2008 constitution is possible only in the Hluttaw(Parliament), not outside.

Currently, it can’t easily be amended as the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) dominates the Hluttaw. Even if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi win all the seats being contested in this by-election, those seats are under 10% of all the seats in the Hluttaw. However, the government itself knows the current situation in Burma. Moreover, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi needs to be in the Hluttaw and the ethnic parties should amend their policies which are not compatible with democraticprinciples.Regarding ethnic issues, we should make some changes to meet our needs after negotiations with the government.

Even if some amendments can’t be made now, after the 2015 election, we can do them in the Hluttaw. The Karen Leader Saw Ba Oo Gyi said that the rights of each ethnic group must be equal. If a Burman gets one kyat, a Karen must get one kyat too.Now, all the ethnics are at rock bottom. We must change this situation. Even the constitution of the Union has to be amended. We can live together for a long time only when the Union of States is the real union based the unity of all ethnic people. We can also gain peace forever, which is beneficial.

Please imagine Mon State in the Union of States. That Mon State stretches out from Sit-taung to Ye Townships. We want a Mon State which has its own power. Only in this way, can the problem of ethnic equality in Burma be solved. We demand powerful states for all ethic people, not only for Mon State. The Chairman (Nai NgweThein) recently said that we have been demanding a “federal” union. Regarding this word, (I want to say that) General Nay Win created a fear of “federal”. In reality, the federal system is not the one to be afraid of. It is really lovely. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has also accepted the federal system.

IMNA: The New Mon State Party (NMSP) is negotiating with the government. As the NMDF, would you like to discuss the current political situation with the NMSP?

Nai Tin Aung (Vice Chairman 1): The NMSP and we are different. We are an unarmed domestic organization but the NMSP is an armed political party. If all armed groups in the whole Burma are organized to run under the constitution of the Union, the NMSP must contribute to the political process. I mean the armed group and the political party must be separated. The armed group has to go according to its own purpose – the defense services. The party must be operated by political policies. If we reach this turning point, the MNDF and the NMSP can negotiate. According to the current situation, the negotiation can’t happen.

IMNA: Now, Mon nationals are interested in the union of the two Mon (political) parties. According to the current situation, what are the challenges to havingsuch a union?

NaiNgweThein (Chairman): We have to try every way to unite the two parties(MNDF and AMDP). It can’t be said exactly when we will be successful. We have been negotiating with each other and we need time. If our party is registered, we will organize all ethnic groups to develop an alliance. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has also accepted this idea. We must try to achieve this.

IMNA: Recently, some Mon armed groups gave up their weapons to the government. You said that all Mon groups should be united into one, so as an agent of peace, are you able to organize these small groups for the peace of Mon State?

Nai Tin Aung (Vice Chairman 1): Most of those small groups splintered from the NMSP. Our party is not an armed one. (Therefore,) it is impossible for us to organize them. However, I think it is more possible for the NMSP itself to re-organize them.

IMNA: What’s your opinion on this issue?

Nai Tin Aung (Vice Chairman 1): Those groups broke the disciplines of the NMSP and splintered from the party. They are small groups, which have already been punished by the NMSP. They are not strong. I heard an update that Nai Bin’s group had surrendered, but there is another group left. Today, the NMSP has gained a peace agreement with the government, so after presenting to the state government, it can requestto re-unite with these small groups.

The pre-ceremony of the 90th birthday of NaiNgweThein, the Chairman of the MNDF, was held in the Mon Dahmma Hall of Moulmein,Mon state on March 11 and a press conference was also held. Together with the Yangon Times, Eleven News, Favorite, the Myanmar Post, Open News, Express Time, Myawaddy, Yangon Press International, Myanmar Post Global and the Voice of Mon Journals, IMNA conducted an interview. – Editor

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