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Mon leader Nai Htun Thein passes away at 98

Reported by: > Mon leader Nai Htun Thein passed away at the age of 98 at 6:30 PM on Friday, November 7, at his residence in Thuwana Township, Rangoon Division.

Nai Htun Thein’s funeral took place on Sunday (November 9) at 5:30 PM, according to funeral invitation cards distributed by family members.

Nai Htun Thein, also known as Nai Htaw Soon, served as chairman for the Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF) and the Mon Democracy Party (MDP), while also serving as patron of Mon National Party (MNP).

“Sayar Gyi Nai Htun Thein is a person who [has] [taken] responsibility for his nation up to their point where he was lying on his deathbed. He [was] a leader who sacrificed his whole life, from his youth until his death, serving the Mon people and their politics, with honesty,” said Dr. Min Kyi Win, joint-secretary-1 of the MNP.

Nai Htun Thein was a historian and literature expert, who penned several articles and documents concerning Mon history, in both Mon and Burmese languages.

“I do not have anything related to his political movement, but my work is very much related when it comes to history. He not only compiled and wrote Mon history and literature, but he also taught Mon stone scripts classes at Mon Hall in Rangoon for several years,” said Nai Maung Toe, chairman of the Mon Historical Research Association.

Nai Htun Thein published the book of Mon-Burmese grammar comparisons, books of Mon history in Burmese, the Hongsarwatoi history in Mon, and Mon Prose in Mon, while he also wrote several articles in Mon and Burmese.

Life Story of Mon leader Nai Htun Thein in Brief

Nai Htun Thein was born on November 30, 1917 ( 2nd Waning, Nat-taw Month, 1279 in Mon/Burmese calendar) to Nai Aung Dut and Mi Shwe Hnint, of Ka-dow village, Moulmein Township, Mon State.

Of his eight siblings, Nai Htun Thein is survived only by his younger brother Nai Aung San.

Nai Htun Thein completed his education up to grade 6 in his native Ka-dow village, moving on to complete grade 10 with a distinction of Mathematics at an English-Burmese teaching high school in Moulmein Capital. In 1945, he graduated from Rangoon University with a major in Chemistry. Nai Htun Thein was eligible to study at Chicago University in the U.S. but, for various reasons, he was not able to study there.

While serving as general secretary of the All Ramanya Mon Association after World War II, Nai Htun Thein was appointed by the government in 1947 to serve Kyaikkami District as Mon literature head.

While serving as Mon literature head for two years, in mid-1948 Nai Htun Thein joined the Mon People’s Front (MPF) and served for MPF as director of foreign affair of the MPF’s central committee; continuing his commitment to the MPF movement for ten years, working in Myawaddy, Burma and Bangkok, Thailand.

While working with the MPF, Nai Htun Thein was the colleague of other prominent Mon political leaders, namely Nai Aung Htun, Nai Shwe Kyin, Nai Nonlar, Nai Thein Maung,Nai Chan Mon, Nai Poe Sein, and Nai Ngwe Thein, the current chairman of the MNP.

Except Nai Shwe Kyin, Nai Htun Thein and other MPF leaders signed an agreement with the U Nu government to exchange guns for peace in 1958; then, Nai Htun Thein resettled in Moulmein City.

While serving for MPF, he married Mi Khin Htwe, but did not have any children.

After General Ne Win took power and the government began arresting Mon leaders, Nai Htun Thein was imprisoned in 1963 for five years at the Moulmein Prison in Moulmein City. After the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) took the office in 1988 and arrested MNDF leaders in 1992, Nai Htun Thein, along with Nai Ngwe Thein, Nai Khin Maung, and Nai Pala, were sent to prison for 31 years in Moulmein City. However, the prison term was reduced to 3 years after the New Mon State Party (NMSP) requested the sentence reduction from the SLORC government during NMSP’s ceasefire talks.

Nai Htun Thein served as chairman of the MNDF since its inception on October 11, 1988, and during 1990 elections he was elected as Hluttaw representative for Constituency 2 of Thanbyuzayat Township.

Nai Htun Thein went on to serve as chairman of the MDP after it registered on July 10, 2012, which was renamed to the MNDF after the 2012 by-elections.

Due to his age and increasing memory problems, Nai Htun Thein was appointed as honorary patron first of the MDP, then the MNP.

Nai Htun Thein was also involved in the movement of Committee Representing People’s Parliament (CRPP) and United Nationalities Alliance.

References:

1) In-person interviews
2) Biography of Nai Htun Thein

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