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Writers, journalists association officials quit to contest election

By Yadana Htun
September 6 - 12, 2010

FOUR senior members of the Myanmar Writers and Journalists Association, including the association’s chairman, resigned late last month to participate in the November 7 election, an official told The Myanmar Times last week.

Association secretary U Ko Ko said chairman U Tin Kha, vice chairman Dr Tin Tun Oo and Central Executive Committee members U Aung Nyein and U Hla Tun all resigned their posts on August 27, in accordance with the association’s constitution.

The four will contest the election as representatives of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

“As we are an independent association, we have a rule that our members must not join a political party. Because they are preparing to participate in election as candidates of a party, they had to resign,” U Ko Ko said.

He said some less prominent members of the association may also have resigned to join political parties but the number, if any, was not yet known. The deadline for candidates to register for the election passed on August 30.

Former MWJA vice chairman Dr Tin Tun Oo said he was determined to grasp the “opportunity” presented by this year’s election and would stand as a Pyithu Hluttaw candidate for Pazundaung in Yangon.

“Before I decided to participate in the election, I’d been working as a writer and media person … I’m interested in politics,” said Dr Tin Tun Oo, who is the chairman of Swe Sone Media and publisher of The Myanmar Times.

He said he became a USDP candidate because of the faith the party leaders showed in him.

“The main reason is that they put an offer to me to become a party candidate,” Dr Tin Tun Oo said.

The three other former MWJA members were not available for comment before deadline.

One media expert said it was not uncommon for media figures to harbour political ambitions.
“[But] I think it would be better if they stood as independent candidates in the election, rather than follow the policy of a party,” the expert said.

U Ko Ko said the association would welcome the former members back if they were no longer involved with a political party.

“If they resign from the political party, we can accept their membership application. This fact is also included in the rules and regulations of the association,” he said.

The Myanmar Writers and Journalists Association was established in 1989.