18 April 2016
The following is the full text of the unofficial translation of the new year speech delivered by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor.
On this new year occasion, I wish all our countrymen and the people around the world physical and mental well-being and freedom from danger.
I’m delighted to have a chance to greet my people on such an auspicious occasion. I assume that it is a good omen for us the National League for Democracy-led new government to take over the duties of the State beginning from new year.
I said this is a good omen because it is a time when we start to construct new good things for a change. Here, I’d like to explain a bit the expression NLD-led government. This expression does not mean that NLD dominates, takes power and obtains the right to rule. What I mean is that we are a government which will abide by the policies laid bare to the people during the election campaign.
We’ll keep our words but keeping this campaign promise shall be according to the policies and principles of NLD.
As known to you all, our policies and principles are to ensure national reconciliation, internal peace, the rule of law, the amendment to the constitution and keeping the democratic system dynamic and well ingrained. What matters most is national reconciliation. If a nation has to progress and prosper, unity is of utmost importance. That’s why I’d like to make it clear that when we said we’re a government oriented towards national reconciliation, I mean that I’m in favour of entire people regardless of voting for or against us. There shall not be whatsoever discrimination. A democratically elected government is responsible for all citizens, being fair and square to everybody, harbouring loving kindness and compassion towards all.
That’s why we lay a special emphasis on national reconciliation. In this function, we hope that all countrymen will participate and render support. When I mentioned the phrase rule of law, I mean we want all citizens to lead a secure life under the protection of law. Law suggests justice. And the laws shall be properly enforceable. It’s vitally important for our judicial pillar to stay upright and effective.
The administration of justice shall be fair and just and be in accord with the internationally accepted norms. It is said justice is the fair trial. Justice is not something that is uttered by the mouth; it needs manifestation by the action. This is a basic principle.
Another very important principle for the prevalence of the rule of law is that a person shall be regarded as innocent if there is no valid proof and/or evidence against him. This is a basic principle. Even those who were found guilty deserve leniency in effective administration of justice.
This is the reason why the President has shown leniency and/or magnanimity by signing the agreement to grant amnesty on this auspicious occasion of new year. The very essence of the rule of law is to protect the people and provide them with psychological and physical security.
The rule of law does not suggest restrictions being imposed upon the people. Nor it suggests oppression. Some people are scared by the laws. In their opinion, the laws are made to oppress the people. I would unambiguously and unequivocally say that laws are not meant for that. The rule of law is also virtually important to internal peace.
Without the rule of law, we cannot construct peace. When talking about peace, I’d also like to say at the same time that we’ve no intention whatsoever to abandon the activities and actions of the previous government. We recognize their good deeds, and we’ll continue to build on them. So, regarding the internal peace process, we highly appreciate their ceasefire initiative. We’ll
continue to strive to include in the ceasefire accord the organizations that we deem appropriate for inclusion. Through peace conferences, we’ll continue to be able to build up a genuine, federal democratic union aspired by entire countrymen. The internal peace process and the establishment of a genuine,
federal democratic union are closely intertwined.
That’s why we need constitutional amendment. The constitution needs to be one that will give birth to a genuine, federal democratic union. In our effort to amend the constitution, we’ll choose ways and means that would not adversely effect the people. We won’t resort to means which will affect national peace.
This is the principle NLD has always stick to. People won’t suffer. It will be us who will suffer if needed. We’ll back you and protect you. I’d like to assert that the very firm principle of our new regime is to put the nation on the correct path, employing the ways and means that will not affect the people.
Thinking of constitution, the most important point is the basic principle No 4 of it i.e. the sovereign power descends from the countrymen. It rests throughtout the nation. This is the basic principle of democracy.
We accept this principle in total. We’ll practice it. Countrymen matter most. Countrymen are the first, the second and the ultimate. The country exists for the countrymen. A country will be meaningless without the country people. And the government shall exist for the countrymen. I’d like to promise our people never to relinquish this principle.
The whole world is saying that our country abounds in natural resources. But frankly speaking, I don’t take it very seriously. What really counts is the strength of our people, not the resources, for they can be deplete someday. And if we look around the world, even the very small countries lacking natural resources can be found to be profoundly influential. You can notice they are achieving economic growth. That’s why I rely more on our people. One of the objectives of our new administration is to promote people’s capacity and qualification. We’ll exert effort to enable our people to be loyal to the state
and to perform national duty well.
Our country will be faced with different challenges. The country has a lot of things to change and transform. At the moment, I’d not go into detail as to what changes to make. It’ll be a long list. But, I believe our countrymen know what are more important matters. Just as we believe our people, I want you to do the same and participate and cooperate with a firm belief. This is my request. Only a government cannot make a country a success. It cannot effectuate the national development alone. Only with the participation of the people can these things be achieved. That’s why I’d like to request you all to be duty conscientious and to be committed to exertion of concerted effort.
World is developing very fast now. So, we’ve to put forth much greater effort to keep ourselves abreast of the world. I remember my father saying in the aftermath of the World War II that we need to run while people from other countries are walking to keep peace with them. Even then, he said, we might need a 20 years’ time to catch up.
Now too, the situation is not very much different from that of those days, I think. When people from other countries are walking, we need to run, taking great trouble to be able to catch them up. Well, in doing so, I prefer to choose the correct ways and means.
When I said I want to see our country stand tall among the world’s nations, I’m not just referring to material well being, What I mean is I want our people respected by the world’s nations in terms of ability and qualifications and highly valued, too. I want our people to be able to raise their heads, looking proud to be Myanmars wherever they go. That’s how I want my people to stand tall among the world’s nations.
We have to strive hard for that. When we pleaded for popular support, we didn’t give any easy promises. We’ve never said our country will prosper overnight. The reason of not giving such a promise is not that we don’t believe in ourselves, not that we don’t believe in our people but that we’re aware of the herculean tasks ahead. The tasks are heavy, requiring herculean effort. The
national duty is something very important and very heavy. That’s why we don’t want to give easy promises in the presence of multifarious, onerous duties. But what I dare say is we can win with public participation .
Nothing is unachievable if we can win popular support and people trust. I think people will want to know our foreign policy in the global context. Since the attainment of independence, our country has maintained good relations with all parts of the world. This is something our country can be very much proud of. Since regaining independence in January 1948, our country despite being a small one and amidst war-torn damages has always won international respect. Why?
Our people could have been resilient amidst the dramatic woes, showing their talents. We’re all required to make concerted effort to reach such a level of international recognition. We need to ponder over how to continue our journey and which policies and which fundamental ideologies to adopt. This will be a long journey. And the future of a nation is a thing of eternity. This is an ordeal, having to face a host of challenges. How can we overcome them, then? Some are worried that our new government lacks experience concerning administration and management.
Yes, we lack experience. But we are not reluctant to work together with the experienced individuals. We’ve no idea of ignoring the people from the old regimes. We want everybody who can bring benefit to the country to join our hands.
The 1947 elections were held in the direction towards Myanmar independence. Here again, I’d like to quote my father. What he said is concise and clear. The country would be ruled based on loving kindness and loyalty. What it meant is that the countrymen will be loved and the government will be loyal to the country. Despite a very short vow, this kind of promise is one that should be made by any regime. We also have the same vow.
We’ll love our people.
We’ll be loyal to our country.
We’re bound to succeed if we can keep this promise.
May I conclude by wishing all my country people a success throughtout the future and by urging you all to be overwhelmed with loving kindness and loyalty.
(The Golbal New Light of Myanmar)