Wednesday, April 26, 2017
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Who’s who: Myanmar’s new cabinet

Take a look inside the National League for Democracy's new proposed government with insider profiles of the party's 18 candidates for ministerial posts:

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (Minister of Foreign Affairs; President’s Office; State Counsellor)

The National League for Democracy leader needs little introduction. Has vowed to rule “above the president”, and with a reported four portfolios will hold a fair chunk of executive power. The only woman in the cabinet, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won the Pyithu Hluttaw seat of Kawhmu in November.

U Aung Thu (Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock)

A former rector of Yangon University, U Aung Thu served as a government officer for several decades before retiring in August last year to contest the election. He won a seat in the lower house for Yangon’s Latha township. He has worked in several universities across Myanmar, including a professor of mathematics at Taungoo University. Under his tenure, Yangon University boosted its cooperation with international educational institutions and expanded undergraduate teaching.

U Thant Zin Maung (Minister of Transportation and Communication)

A retired general manager of Myanmar Railways, U Thant Zin Maung holds a master’s degree in mathematics from Yangon University. He also served as a lecturer at the university before joining the state-owned rail firm. More recently, in November 2015, he won a seat in the Pyithu Hluttaw for the NLD in his hometown of Monywa.

Thura U Aung Ko (Minister of Religious and Cultural Affairs)

A retired military officer and the former deputy minister for religious affairs until he contested the 2010 election, Thura U Aung Ko got a promotion under the NLD. The central executive committee member of the USDP is close to former Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann, and also sat next to the NLD leader in the previous session of parliament when he represented Kanpetlet, Chin State. He was born in 1948, and served the Tatmadaw from 1969 to 1997. He was also briefly the deputy minister of the now-defunct Ministry of Science and Technology.

U Ohn Win (Minister of Natural Resources and Environment)

Currently listed on the advisory board of the Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development, a non-profit, U Ohn Win counts among his credentials a stint as a professor at the University of Forestry, Yezin. He received his master’s of science in watershed management from the Colorado State University in the US and has specialised in hydrology, soil conservation, climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation. He is not an NLD member.

U Pe Myint (Minister of Information)

Formerly a doctor with a degree from the Institute of Medicine, U Pe Myint changed careers after 11 years and received training as a journalist at the Indochina Media Memorial Foundation in Bangkok. He then embarked on a career as a writer, penning dozens of novels. He participated in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 1998, and was also editor-in-chief of The People’s Age Journal. He was born in Rakhine State in 1949.

U Thein Swe (Minister of Labour, Immigration and Population)

Another central executive committee member of the USDP and ally of Thura U Shwe Mann’s, U Thein Swe formerly served as the ruling party’s spokesperson. Under the military government he was the minister for transport. He contested and won a seat in Pyithu Hluttaw in Ann township, Rakhine State.

U Win Khaing (Minister of Construction)

A mechanical engineer by training, U Win Khaing serves on the Myanmar Investment Commission and is the founder and chair of United Engineering Group, an oil, gas and logistics company. He graduated from the Rangoon Institute of Technology and joined Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise in 1976 before heading to the USSR for training in 1981. He was elected as the president of the Myanmar Engineering Society in 2011 and is a fellow of the ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organizations.

Naing Thet Lwin (Ministr of Ethnic Affairs)

One of the cabinet’s elder statesmen, Naing Thet Lwin, an ethnic Mon, was born in 1940. Entered politics in 1958 and joined the Mon Development Party three years later. In 1988 he led a Mon anti-government movement and was a co-founder and vice chair of the Mon Democratic Party, running for a seat in Mawlamyine in the 1990 election. Since then he has developed extensive business interests, including rubber, fisheries processing, food exports and hotels.

Dr Myint Htwe (Minister of Health)

This is Dr Myint Htwe’s second round of service at the Ministry of Health where he previously worked for 17 years before leaving in 1994 to join the World Health Organization. He held various positions, including director of program management and regional advisor at the WHO until retiring in 2010. According to his CV, he studied at Institute of Medicine 1 and attained a master’s in public health from the Institute of Public Health, University of the Philippines as well as a doctorate in public health from Johns Hopkins University in the US. He is a member of the Myanmar Academy of Medical Science and vice chair of the Liver Foundation. He is not an NLD member.

U Than Myint (Minister of Commerce)

U Than Myint became a member of the NLD in 2012 and joined the party’s economic committee. He holds a bachelor’s in economics from Yangon University, and a master’s and doctorate from Pacific Western University in the US, according to a profile submitted by the party. His international experience includes time as a civil servant and in the UN, neither position specified. He won a seat last year in Hlaing Tharyar, where he is involved in a group that offers free ambulance service.

U Win Myat Aye (Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement)

Has a long history in the medical field. A paediatrician by training, he is described as a retired professor and child specialist. During his career he served across the country, including in Yangon, Magwe and Sagaing. His final post was at Magwe Medical University, from where he retired in June 2015. Won an Amyotha Hluttaw seat in Bago, where he grew up, in last year’s election. Also has an extensive history of volunteer work.

U Khin Maung Cho (Minister of Industry)

Born in Meiktila in 1950, U Khin Maung Cho holds a bachelor’s in engineering in mechanics. His CV lists him as executive engineer at automotive company Super Seven Stars, the authorised distributor of Kia cars.

U Kyaw Win (Minister of Planning and Finance)

Much of U Kyaw Win’s resume, and especially his academic profile, is in dispute. Born in Laputta in 1948, his CV suggests he graduated from Yangon University with a bachelor’s in economics and attained a master’s in business consulting and a PhD from Brooklyn Park University, which he admitted is not real. His CV also lists a degree from the Global Academy of Finance Management, which claims to offer specialised certifications, some for a fee. U Kyaw Win served in the Planning Department and then the Revenue Department until 1997, when he became the NLD’s economic adviser. In the 2015 election he won a Pyithu Hluttaw seat in Dagon Seikkan township.

U Ohn Maung (Minister of Hotels and Tourism)

His involvement in the tourism industry dates back to the socialist era, when he ran the only guesthouse beside Inle Lake. In 1988 he was a leader of an anti-government movement and joined the NLD the following year as township chair. Contested a seat in the 1990 election and like so many of his colleagues was sent to Insein Prison the following year. Handed a 10-year prison term, he was amnestied in 1992 and turned his attention to the nascent tourism industry. In subsequent decades he launched a number of successful hotels, including Inle Princess Resort. He rejoined the NLD in 2012.

U Myo Thein Gyi (Minister of Education)

Director general of the education ministry’s Educational Research Bureau, U Myo Thein Gyi, was also formerly in charge of the Department of Basic Education 1 and the Department of Higher Education. He has been heavily involved in curriculum reform and was on the Comprehensive Sector Reform task force, which was involved in drafting last year's the controversial education law, which sparked contentious protests in Yangon and Bago Regions. U Myo Thein Gyi was one of two later additions to the cabinet, after the Ministry of Education was originally assigned to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi along with three other ministries.

U Pyae Myint Htun (Minister of Electricity)

U Pyae Myint Htun was another last-minute inclusion to the National League for Democracy government's cabinet, as he new Ministry of Electricity, created out of the combination of the Ministries of Energy and Electric Power, was originally assigned to party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Lt Gen Sein Win (Minister of Defence)

The incumbent minister for defence, taking over from U Wai Lwin when he retired to contest last year’s election. Before that he headed air defence. Graduated in Officer Training School’s 54th batch. According to the Tagaung Institute of Political Studies, Lt Gen Sein Win has been outstanding at science and technology since he was young. He is described as cool and calm, and has a reputation within the military as a very professional soldier.

Lt Gen Kyaw Swe (Minister of Home Affairs)

Graduated from Defence Services Academy batch 22 and later served as a principal of the institute. Served as commander of Southwest Region Command, based in Ayeyarwady Region, during Cyclone Nargis. A former head of Military Affairs Security, he was also the minister for border affairs.

Lt Gen Ye Aung (Minister of Border Affairs)

Hailing from DSA batch 23, Lt Gen Ye Aung’s first major post was as head of the regional operation command in Tanai, Kachin State. Later became commander for Central Command based in Mandalay and the military judge advocate general. According to Tagaung, he was close to Thura U Shwe Mann in the past but is now a reliable person for Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.


This article has been updated to reflect the addition of two ministers, for the Minsitries of Education and Electricity, which were originally assigned to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.