Monday, July 24, 2017

I will not quit: Thura U Aung Ko

Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture, Thura U Aung Ko, says that there is no reason for him to resign despite demonstrations and protests by nationalists demanding that he steps down.

Thura U Aung Ko speaks to the media outside parliament. Htoo Thant / The Myanmar TimesThura U Aung Ko speaks to the media outside parliament. Htoo Thant / The Myanmar Times

Thura U Aung Ko was responding to the nationalists’ accusations that he had been biased towards Islam, when he met reporters on the sidelines of the Hluttaw in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

Hundreds of nationalist protesters gathered in front of the Yangon City Hall on Monday (June 25) demanding his resignation and accusing of favouring Islam.

In response to the demands, he said, “It is not the nationalists who appointed me to this position. I was appointed by a democratically elected leader by the people. I would like to say there is no reason to resign.”

Thura U Aung Ko also denied that he gave preferential treatment to Islam. “Evidence is necessary to show that I favoured Islam. You need evidence,” he said.

“Starting from now, I will respond these groundless accusations,” he added.

He also denied accusations by the nationalists that he had approved the Muslim celebration.

Thura U Aung Ko said approval was given by the various authorities like township and district administrators.

“Sasana cleaning will be carried out,” Thura U Aung Ko, who is the most criticised minister in the new government, told reporters.

“We have received suggestions from monks and lay people to clean Sasana. There is the perpetuation of Sasana but if it is not clean, it is not good. In the near future, after collecting data, we will draw a plan,” he said.

The ministry will submit a proposal to the Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee first before submitting it to the Cabinet, he said.

“After that, the perpetuation and clearing of the Sasana will be implemented by both the Dhamma way and by authority. It is a very big task with a wide scope of work,” the minister said.

There are about 500,000 monks in Myanmar and it will take about one year to implement it, he added.

Translation by Zaw Nyunt