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Put public health before coal-fired power plant, says Minister Dr. Min Kyi Win.

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Since the inception of the Mon National Party (MNP) in 1988, when it was known as the Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF), Dr. Min Kyi Win has been a party delegate. At the moment, he is joint-secretary (2) of the MNP.

Born on the 29th of June 1952, he graduated with M.B.B.S (Yangon) and has worked as a doctor, setting up a private clinic in his native village, Nyaung Kone Village, Mudon Township.

 Dr. Min Kyi Win delivering a speech (Photo: MNA)
Dr. Min Kyi Win delivering a speech (Photo: MNA)

In the 2015 election, he competed for the Mudon Township Constituency (2) and was elected as Hluttaw representative. He was then nominated for the post of Minister of Natural Resource and Environmental Conservation by Mon State Hluttaw and is currently active in the role.

MNA had the opportunity to discuss the controversial coal-fired power plant projects occurring in Mon State with him.

MNA: Regarding the environmental concerns, how would you proceed in implementing the projects?

Dr. Min Kyi Win: I am not quite sure yet regarding the agreements between the government and respective companies surrounding the issues of both the coal-fired plant in Kyaikmayaw Township and proposed coal-power plant in Andin Village. However, I have considered finding solutions for these matters as fast as possible.

MNA: Have you received any petition letters or any reports from the public?

Dr. Min Kyi Win: I heard that I would soon receive letters from the public. I was invited to join a meeting with the public as a Hluttaw representative regarding the cement factory (Mawlamyine Cement Limited (MCL)) in Kyaikmayaw Township. So, we would oppose the coal-powered plant strongly if it affects the public’s health.

MNA: Regarding the coal-fired plant at Mawlamyine Cement Limited (MCL), what can you do for the public? Furthermore, what kinds of challenges do you think you will face?

Dr. Min Kyi Win: One challenge is the type of signed agreement. For example, if the signed agreement disclosed that the MCL factory would operate via a coal-fired plant, we would then have to talk to the company. We have to talk to them to apply other methods for the factory’s operation. We will continue to oppose the coal-fired plant. The world is not accepting this kind of plant either. Therefore, it is meaningless if our country uses this coal fired plant. Now, the company is just looking to decrease their costs by using coal power and then they can produce more products. However, those who are working there and inhaling the factory produced smoke are the people from our country.

MNA: In the agreement documents, the coal-fired plant can only be applied if electricity or gas power isn’t a possibility. For MCL to operate, is it possible for the government to provide electricity or will it operate as it wishes?

Dr. Min Kyi Win: The government will allow the MCL to run with gas supplied power. However, it must have access to the gas to operate. It will cost a lot to operate with gas and the price will go up.

Therefore, they [MCL] shouldn’t just focus on profits. If they want to increase the price of the cement, they can. They should run with other power methods. However, if they officially signed the agreement, we have to work towards it slowly. Regarding this project, we will meet with the chief minister soon. The chief minister also knows about this matter, so I will take advice from him concerning the plans he has.

Honestly, we should go there and observe the MCL factory to see it’s waste disposal operations, it’s water use and how it will release the smoke and maintain the coal. If we need to provide advice, we will.

However, the factory is all ready to operate and it is not okay to suddenly shut down the factory. I think we should work towards a low-risk factory operation. The world is not using coal fired plant anymore. That is why the protests against the project is taking place.

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