Myanmar military demands punishment for Yangon Region chief minister

Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein speaks at the Sedona Hotel on July 9. Photo: Facebook / Phyo Min Thein
Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein speaks at the Sedona Hotel on July 9. Photo: Facebook / Phyo Min Thein

The Myanmar military has called on the Union government to take “necessary action” against Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein in response to statements the minister made about the military and its commander-in-chief, the Office of the Commander-in-Chief announced last night.

The chief minister made the remarks at the launch of the Political Prisoners Fellowship Program at the Sedona Hotel on Sunday. The program aims to find jobs for former political prisoners at local civil society and media organizations.

According to the announcement, Phyo Min Thein claimed that “there are no civil-military relations in the democratic era.” He also reportedly said that if Myanmar’s government protocol were truly democratic, “the position of the military’s commander-in-chief would be on the same level as that of a director-general.”

Myanmar’s government protocol lists the commander-in-chief position as eighth in the leadership hierarchy. Director-generals of ministries, aside from the Ministry of Defense, do not even appear on the 38-item list.

Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein has a history of well-publicized gaffes, but this is the first time he has personally attracted the ire of the military

In May, he stormed out of a conference at the Shangri-la Hotel, angrily telling a bystander: “The electricity can’t be cut off. This is on the minister’s agenda.”

In June, he and several other regional ministers held a press conference to celebrate their achievements during their first year in office. The event proved to be a spectacular public failure after ministers refused to offer specific details about their work and appeared annoyed by reporters’ questions about Yangon Region’s most pressing issues.

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