Senior Ma Ba Tha leader quits, cites ‘misuse by a political party’: reports

A senior leader of the Buddhist nationalist organization Ma Ba Tha has quit the group, citing “misuse by a political party” ahead of the general election in 2015.

Parmaukkha, who was absent from third anniversary celebrations in Yangon at the weekend, reportedly told the Voice he intended to resign from the virulently anti-Muslim organization’s central executive committee.

“Working for race and religion should not be for only a party or institution,” he said.

Ma Ba Tha, also known as the Committee to Protect Race and Religious, was tied to the former ruling Union and Solidarity Development Party during the run-up to last year’s polls, with one leader telling the Myanmar Times they were campaigning. 

In February this year, there were reports of an internal rift over whether to support Aung San Suu Kyi’s bid to amend the constitution so she could be president.

Parmaukkha said he would not oppose her, while Wirathu, one of the group’s most notorious leaders, came out against changing the constitution in her favor.

The Ma Ba Tha leadership declined the Voice’s requests for comment.

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