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The Burmese President’s Office has nominated Border Affairs Deputy Minister Maj-Gen Maung Maung Ohn as the new chief minister of Arakan State, a position vacated by Minister Hla Maung Tin who resigned last week.
Saw Nyein, an MP in the Arakan regional parliament, said a proposal to appoint the senior military serviceman as chief minister of the region was submitted at an Arakan parliamentary session on Wednesday.
“A letter from the President’s Office nominating Maj-Gen Maung Maung Ohn was announced at the regional parliament today. MPs who disagree with this appointment must submit letters of objection by 27 June,” said Saw Nyein on Wednesday, adding that the Constitution made it difficult for MPs to successfully overturn decisions put forward by the president.
“Although we are allowed to object, constitutional Article 261(d) states that the regional parliament cannot refuse the president’s choice of chief minister unless it can be clearly proved that the person concerned does not meet the qualifications of a chief minister,” he said.
Meanwhile, the influential Arakan National Party (ANP) – a recent merger of the two previous largest nationalist parties in Arakan State – has released a statement calling for appointment of an ethnic Arakanese as chief minister. Maung Maung Ohn is a Burman.
ANP regional parliament representative Aung Myat Kyaw said, “Arakanese people believe that the affairs of the state should be led by one of their own. Just as Shan people would want an ethnic Shan heading the state government, we too want a person of our ethnicity in charge.”
However, Aung Naing Oo, a regional assembly MP representing the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), said the major-general, having previously served in the military in western Burma, would have insight on regional affairs and is a good candidate for the position of chief minister.
“Although U Maung Maung Ohn is not a native of this region, we should accept him if he meets the qualifications,” he said. “We must consider individuals based on their capacity to bring peace and development to our state.”
The USDP MP went on to say: “Based on our meeting with the major-general, he is genuinely keen to work for this region. Having served two years in Arakan State, he has insight and knowledge about the area. We don’t think it would be a bad idea to appoint him as chief minister. We have confidence in him.”
The regional parliament resumes on 30 June when it is expected that Maung Maung Ohn’s appointment as chief minister will be finalised.