None of the Mon political parties’ representatives joined the preliminary meeting in preparation for the 8th Mon National Conference.
The 2-day meeting held on March 26 and 27, occurred at Dhathumarla Monastery, Sayjo Ward, Moulmein the capital of Mon State. More than 100 participants, including representatives from Mon sangha associations, Mon youth organizations and Mon civil society organizations were present at the meeting. However, Mon political parties’ representatives never showed up.
“We, the members of the organizing committee, went to their residences and handed them invitation cards. However, they did not show up and until now we do not know the reasons why they did not come,” said Nai Wonna, vice-head of the preliminary meeting’s organizing committee.
The meeting’s centerpiece discussion was titled “Unity for Mon national”. A topic decided by representatives of Mon political parties, Mon civil society organizations and Mon sangha associations before. However, that topic and other related topics were cancelled due to the absence of the political parties’ representatives, according to the organizing committee.
“The reason why they are absent is partly because that they lack trust. Therefore, if the meeting is led by honest and trustworthy people, the parties’ members will cooperate,” said Nai Maung Toe, who also chaired the preliminary meeting, adding that at the moment, it is very important to unify Mon people.
MNA contacted the three Mon political parties, the Mon National Party (MNP), All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMDP) and Women’s Party (Mon), but could only reach the MNP and Women’s Party. In an interview with Nai Layeh Tamarh of the Mon National Party (MNP), the representative expands on the absenteeism of his party;
“Number one is that our party is not a member of the MAU (Mon Affair Union), [which led the preliminary meeting]. Two, it was decided at the last conference held in 2013, that after the  Mon National Conference [in 2013], we would hold a Mon National Convention [instead of conference]. But now, they are still planning to hold the same conference run by the MAU, so it does not make sense, and so we aren’t joining the meeting.”
Women’s Party (Mon) always wanted the Mon National Conference to be held in Mon State. Importantly, in an area that is easily accessible to Mon people. Celebrating the conference could occur under any organization’s leadership and representatives from the Women’s Party (Mon) would join the conference too if other parties’ representatives were present, according to Mi Shin Thant, the chairperson of the Women’s Party (Mon).
It was decided at the two-day meeting that the 8th Mon National Conference will be held, under the Mon Affair Union (MAU) directives, during the first week of May in Phalat Thonphat Village, Three Pagodas Pass Township, near the Thai-Burma Border.