NLD: 2012 Pre-election policy direction

Pre-election speech
by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

April 2012

This presentation of our party's policy, stance and work programmes before the by-election on 1 April in a way has recognized the people's rights. Not only voters, but all the citizens as well, have the right to decide which party and who they will vote for by studying and reviewing the parties and candidates.

As we will accept the public decision according to the basic principles of democracy, now I would like to explain our ambitions for the nation and the people along with the principles that NLD has upheld for more than 20 years.

The three points the National League for Democracy has prioritized out of its main aims are: the rule of law, internal peace and constitutional amendments.

As the rule of law had been hampered due to various ways such as the putting of judicial system under control of the government machinery nationalization of media and the passage of passing strict media and censor rules which revoked of the people's rights to speak, write, hear and express freely. Consequently, public fear reigned in this country. Democracy will not flourish unless the people have freedom from fear and human rights.

With the rule of law, the people will really enjoy protection by law and the taste of freedom. Rule of law will give the ordinary people, service personnel and politicians protection and care they deserve.

Then, persons, organizations and leaders with full authority will not be able to take action against and bully anyone through irrevocable order. Only then, will democracy flourish.

What shall we do to ensure the rule of law?

We have to promptly abolish some outdated rules oppressing the people. We have to pass the laws protecting the people. We have to make sure that the judicial system is independent, and make it upright.

We have to grant complete press freedom. We have to extend supporting networks of law to help the people.

The judicial pillar must stand independently together with the legislative and executive pillars that are in conformity with the democratic concept. The judicial pillar must always be above the executive pillar.

And any rulers or organizations in breach of law must be brought to justice. Every person is presumed to be innocent until proved guilty. The civil war born together with independence is still burning in our country.

Since 1947, when the national leaders were assassinated, We haven't been able to put on the lingering doubts among the national races and different ideologies among those with differing political views on the negotiation table.

Instead, we have been trying to solve those problems so far with the use of weapons. What's more, the absence of the rule of law fanned the flames of civil war. (We) couldn't protect the security and rights of the national races.

Moreover, military dictatorship emerged as a consequence of civil war. We will be able to develop our nation only if we can put out the fire of civil war and ensure peace.

We have to take 3 steps to end the civil war for peace. First, there must be a nationwide ceasefire.

Second, we must seek negotiations and solutions by holding political talks.

Third, we must find common ground in order to build a genuine Union based on equality which is the basis of Panglong as aspired by the national races, the right to have own rule and the right to decide freely in accord with the constitution.

I truly believe that our national brethren don't want secession at all, only a genuine democratic Union.

Since the 2008 draft constitution appeared, the NLD announced its disagreement pointing out that needed amendment. All Parliament representatives, including united military forces, are to work together to amend the constitution , with a sense of only serving national interests, without attachment to own party, group and personality cult.

We cannot deny the fact that the armed forces of Myanmar and of global countries are main forces for national defence. According to the political experiences and incidents of Myanmar, I believe that the endeavours for development of Myanmar call for essential participation of the military.

I also believe that the military founded by my father General Aung San is always ready to serve the national interests. Actually, a constitution is a charter placed between the people and the rulers. It can be amended, changed or abolished when necessary.

The present constitution does not conform with democratic norms and standards. One clear example is that only the rule of people by the representatives elected by the people is the true essence of democracy.

In the 2008 constitution, unelected representatives account for 25% of all parliamentary seats. The presence of unelected representatives in the respective Parliaments doesn't conform with democratic principles.

The National League for Democracy has publicly announced the sections of the constitution that need amendments. It is common knowledge that after the 1988 Democracy Uprising, NLD has been struggling for the emergence of a genuine democracy for over 20 years under various pressures and oppressions.

Loyal party members were fired from their jobs, lawyers and doctors had their licences revoked, some were unjustly arrested and got the harshest sentences. Consequently, our social lives were ruined and the economy of our families deteriorated.

Anyhow, our NLD members have stood for the people and the party has maintained its convictions.

Our League has developed contacts at international level which can guarantee cordial relations with other nations and potential benefits to our people. We have also managed to establish friendly relations not only with developed old democracies but also with neighbours.We will also focus on seeking necessary international assistance for development of the nation.

Regarding the economy, it is required to make a shift to market economy with a right balance between freedom, stability and social justice, based on the rule of law.

We will have to focus our efforts on creating new jobs and solving unemployment problems to wipe out poverty, enhance living standards and the social dignity of each individual of different national races in different regions, and ensure all the national races in the country have equal rights to work or to be employed.

We have to tackle the budget deficit but not by printing money but by seeking other ways and means. We have to smash the barrier in current monetary and banking systems.

This requires close cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, International Finance Commission, and the World Bank for development of all the state-run and private-owned businesses.

NLD is paving the way for such cooperation right now.

As an education initiative, we need to make sure every citizen has access to standard education, every school-age child has access to compulsory primary education and to open middle and high schools and vocational training schools in regions and states.

We need to draw educational plans designed to help the children of ethnic minorities with language barriers. We need to initiate special programmes for school-age children and youths who find it hard to receive formal education to be able to pursue non-formal one.

It is critically important to promote our educational standard to reach international levels. Only then, will real human resources, which has been the hot topic in these days, emerge.

It is extremely important that teachers are competent. For this, we need to make reforms while providing them with compensation they deserve. We must remove hindrances in the current education system to undertake educational reforms.

As to health, the State should have quality health care system. We need to, especially for the needy, explore ways and means to establish separate health security programmes.

To modernize medical teaching, pharmacology, medical therapies, and pharmaceutical technologies, we need to cooperate with international experts and medical institutions.

To make sure farmers have legal rights to manage and own farmland is our priority. Farmers must be allowed to grow, process and trade agricultural products freely in accordance with the market oriented economic system and their products fetch reasonable prices.

We must be aware of global increases in prices of agricultural produce and set up forward-looking agro-economic system. To deal with farmers' losses, rights and affairs in their interests, the government needs to allow united farmers unions to freely form. We need to take actions to allow labour unions to legally form protect and ensure the full labour rights of workers.

It is required to make sure all workers are equally treated, have equal opportunities, acceptable working environment, enjoy the same amount of earnings for the same work, rights to be paid and protection against unemployment. We need to stop forced labour and take every measure we can to meet the ILO's guide lines.

In any country, youths are the nation's most valuable forces. We are committed to give encouragement to better and accessible education and right careers for youths.

The problem of unemployment is to be addressed by creating jobs for the youth. We will employ the efficiency of the youth, the human resources and the future of the nation as strong forces in nation-building.

Again, it needs to allow formation of independent students unions legally founded by students.

To protect the rights of women who make up the over 50% of the population and to expand their role in social, economic and political issues should also be main priorities.

I have already articulated most of the policies, which I've just presented here, in my electoral campaigns. People may be thinking now like this — Your words sound great but can they really be realized?

Well, to establish the Union we aspire to be, is not an easy task. But, I do believe nothing is impossible if only we try out of wish, industry, sentiment and knowledge in unison.

The National League of Democracy has decades of experiences in dealing with difficult tasks with diligence and industry.

As an assignment of harder national tasks for us to accomplish, I would like to request voters to vote in favour of our candidates. Our emblem is a golden peacock on a red background with a white 5-pointed-star at the left top corner and a phrase reading “National League for Democracy.”

Please vote for the National League for Democracy.

Thank you all!

Subber: Hintha, Translation: Myanma Ali�