Burma opens up to positive criticism

Burmas president Thein Sein rounded on cabinet ministers. Picture: AP

Burmas president Thein Sein rounded on cabinet ministers. Picture: AP

  • by AYE AYE WIN

Burma’s president voiced rare public criticism of his government yesterday, saying that rampant corruption, bribery and inefficiency were getting in the way of the country’s much-touted reform process.

In another sign of the changes sweeping the country, president Thein Sein reprimanded a gathering of cabinet ministers, regional leaders and other senior bureaucrats in a speech broadcast live on television and radio.

It marked a sharp contrast to secretive leadership of the former military regime, which did not admit its own failings.

Since taking office last year, the president has introduced a wave of freedoms and democratic reforms that have opened the country to the outside world after a half-century of military rule.

He said yesterday that the first wave of change under his government focused on political reforms and national reconciliation, while the second wave was aimed at helping the country’s economy. The third phase, he said, will target corruption.

“Good governance is still very weak in Myanmar and still falls short of international norms,” he said. “Bribery and corruption must be effectively prevented in order to implement good governance”.




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