Thursday, March 1, 2012


Naypyitaw, Myanmar (AP) - Myanmar President Thein Sein said Thursday that his government will build on the sweeping reforms it has begun over the last year, and will work hard to convince skeptics at home and abroad that it is truly committed to democratic change. The Southeast Asian leader made the comments in a speech to Parliament that came nearly one year after he took office as head of a new, nominally civilian government that replaced a long-ruling military junta but remains dominated by retired military officials following elections widely regarded as neither free nor fair. Since then, Thein Sein has overseen a wave of dramatic change that has shocked even some of the nation's fiercest critics. Those changes include freeing political prisoners, signing cease-fires with armed rebel groups, easing restrictions on the press and opening a dialogue with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"There are many more steps to be taken," Thein Sein says, and those steps include strengthening the rule of law, boosting private sector businesses and improving the impoverished country's basic infrastructure, which lags far behind much of the rest of Asia.  Myanmar was controlled for nearly half a century by the army, which turned the country into a pariah state and ruled with an iron fist, confining Suu Kyi to 15 years of house arrest and jailing thousands of critics. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, is likely to win a parliament seat in the by-election, which many see as a test of the government's commitment to reform.  Suu Kyi has said she fears that the military could undo the reforms, but has confidence in Thein Sein.  "I think that the President is perfectly sincere when he said that he wanted to bring true democracy to Burma and he wanted to make all efforts possible toward achieving it," she told.

Due conflicts between government forces and ethnic minority rebels which have simmered in the former Burma for decades, Myanmar's transition from military to civilian rule had been met with skepticism, but Thein Sein's government wants to shown it was committed to raising living standards, creating jobs and fighting corruption and courting investment. Whether in monarchy or democracy, there must always be someone in control and that person must have high qualities.

Rāja means king or the ruler. Here is also regulative principle. Why a king is accepted? Why a governor is accepted? Why a president is...? Even in this day of democracy - we have abolished the system of monarchy - but still, they select somebody to become a monarch, a king, or to occupy the post of the king. That is called president. Why? Because unless there is one head, or on the head of the government, who can actually control ... Therefore a certain man, qualified man, who is, who enjoys the confidence of the people, he is accepted as the king. This is the position. So such president, king, or the executive head, must be a saintly person. Therefore here it is said, parīksin nāma rājarsih.  Rājarsi means those who are on the top of the government, he must be rsi, saintly person.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.36
Given in Tokyo, January 30, 1974
740130SB.TOK - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International

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