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Myeik MP apologises for slapping his constituent

All friends again -- NLD MP Ye Myint Swe apologises to Tun Hla on 24 April 2017. (PHOTO: DVB)

An MP in Tenasserim Division, who made headlines recently when a video went viral showing him slapping one of his constituents, has publicly apologised to the man at a press conference.

“I am a representative of parliament, elected by the people, and I would like to apologise to my voters for upsetting them,” said Ye Myint Swe, a divisional lawmaker for Myeik District representing the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD). “I promise to not act like this again. I resorted to using my hand in an argument as an attempt to prevent an escalating dispute among villagers, and out of my concern to prevent a waste of public money.”

The NLD MP had been on a field trip to the village of Pawa to oversee progress on the construction of a new school on 8 April, when some local villagers began complaining about shabby workmanship on the doors and window frames of the building. It was then that a man identified as Tun Hla apparently burst into the room and began loudly voicing his own complaints.

Filmed by another villager on a mobile phone, a video then shows the MP telling Tun Hla not to interrupt. But after Tun Hla kept yelling, the MP walked up to him and slapped him across the face.

The video has subsequently been watched over a million times on social media.

Yesterday’s press conference in Pawa was also joined by Tun Hla, as well as local community leaders and other local NLD MPs.

Tun Hla, himself a former NLD member, told reporters he had only been practicing his freedom of speech and said that he accepted the MP’s apology.

“I hold no grudge and I have no plan to retaliate,” he said at the press conference. “I joined in the discussion as is my right under the principles of freedom of speech. As a former NLD member, I admire my old comrade and I forgive him.”

The NLD in Tenasserim Division announced that they would investigate the incident and will act accordingly if they receive an instruction from the party’s headquarters in Rangoon. A senior NLD leader, Nyan Win, said the party will gauge opinions from local party officials and members of the public before passing judgement on Ye Myint Swe.