Daw Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed in delta ‘home’

By Shwe Yinn Mar Oo
Volume 31, No. 614
February 13 - 19, 2012

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi talks to supporters on her way to a political rally in Pathein on February 7. Pic: AFP/Christophe Archambault

“I FEEL like I am in the land of my relatives,” the chair of the National League for Democracy, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, told residents of the Ayeyarwady Region town of Myaungmya during a by-election campaign tour on February 7.

“The blood running in me is half from Myaungmya,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, told a crowd of about 100,000 supporters, adding that her late mother, Daw Khin Kyi, was born and raised in the town and worked at its national school.

“I think nowhere have I received such a welcome; I wonder if it is because we are relatives,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said with a smile during her first visit to Ayeyarwady Region since her release from house arrest in 2010.

She urged her supporters, many waving the NLD flag or holding posters featuring her image, to be prepared to make a contribution to national development.

The NLD is fielding a Kayin, U Mann Johnny, as its candidate in the April 1 by-elections to represent the region in the Pyithu Hluttaw.

Residents in Myaung Mya show support for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on February 7.
Pic: Shwe Yinn Mar Oo

There is a large Kayin population in the region and many in crowd wore the traditional costume of the ethnic group.

“I am proud to see many ethnic nationalities living peacefully together in this region,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said. “I believe the region can lead the way [in building peace among ethnic minorities].”

She called on the residents of Myaungmya to strive to be “ideal” citizens of Myanmar.

The NLD chair also urged the people of the town to advise U Mann Johnny of their needs and to remind him to do his best for the interests of its residents.

“Power is in the hands of the people in a democratic system; when the power of the people can influence the whole country, we get real democracy,” she said.

“When the power of the people can influence the whole country, we get the real democracy,” said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is standing for the election in the Yangon region Pyithu Hluttaw seat of Kawhmu.

The NLD’s platform was to build higher healthcare and education standards, the rule of law, national peace and to amend some provisions of the 2008 Constitution for the benefit of the people, she said.

“Laws must be used for the protection of the people not to disadvantage them,” she said.

Among those in the crowd wearing traditional Kayin attire was Ko Phoe Kyaw, who told The Myanmar Times that he was delighted the NLD had chosen a Kayin to contest the by-election.

Myaungmya was the second delta town Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited on her campaign trip to Ayeyarwady Region last week.

A rally in the regional capital, Pathein, attracted tens of thousands of supporters, including many university students.

Supporters chanted and danced as her motorcade entered Pathein, where in a campaign speech at Koe Thein stadium she stressed the importance of understanding voting procedures so that ballots were not invalid.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the NLD planned to distribute pamphlets to explain voting procedures.

“I see that there are many people here who support me; if we don’t win the election with a clear majority there must be something [wrong],” she said, laughing.

The trip to Pathein from Yangon took an hour longer than the usual four fours because the NLD motorcade had to make frequent stops to greet crowds of supporters.

A student at Pathein’s Government Technological College said she had attended the rally at the stadium with her friends to show support for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. “We have no problem but the students at Pathein University had to sit an exam today,” she said.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi launched the NLD’s by-election campaign on January 29 with a visit to the Tanintharyi Region capital, Dawei.