Reformist Burmese Government Continues to Use ‘Divide and Rule’ Colonial System


Reformist Burmese Government Continues to Use ‘Divide and Rule’ Colonial System

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Burmese government continues to use a divide and rule system over the ethnic groups in Burma even though they themselves are the descendants of those who blamed the colonial British for using the same oppressive system in the past, according to ethnic leaders.

Ethnic MPs attend a regular session of Burma’s Union Parliament on April 23, 2012. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

“According to the government, there are 135 ethnic groups in Burma, and the government should not use the divide and rule system if they truly want to have peace and development in the country,” said Khuang Ling, a MP from Burma’s Lower House of Parliament.

On the issue of teaching ethnic languages in the school system, Khuang Ling who is also a member of Chin National Progressive Party believes the power lies with the government: “They [the government] are the people who hold the ultimate power. They can decide to have one primary language for one ethnic group if, for example, that ethnic group has more than one language.”

“Instead of doing this, they are trying to divide the ethnic groups in regards to language teaching, and they have even blamed ethnic groups themselves, for they claim they cannot allow ethnic people to study their own language because there are many ethnic groups and ethnic languages,” the Upper House MP concluded.

The issue of allowing the official teaching of ethnic languages at the government schools still remains silent, according to ethnic MPs who recently visited in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand.  The government has gone so far as to reiterate its faulty claim that it might encounter too many difficulties in allowing ethnic language teaching because there are 135 different ethnic groups in Burma.

Min Myo Thit Lwin, a MP in the Upper House of Parliament and representative from the All Mon Regions Democracy Party, said that the ethnic Mon have already begun upgrading their local curriculum, having finished 7 grades already.

“Our Mon do not have a problem with teaching our own language. We are already prepared for it,” he said.

The government has strongly developed their Burmese language curriculum while neglecting the ethnic languages, which has not allowed any space for the official teaching of any ethnic tongues.

“I have had a bad feeling about this because I am ethnic person,” said Khuang Ling.

Under the rule of the Burmese military regime, the teaching of the languages of the ethnic people to children was banned. Those who were taught an ethnic language were put in prison, a further plight in the oppression of ethnic people.

Various ethnic MPs in Burma have said that the Burmese government has ignored the rights of ethnic people by neglecting the participation of many ethnic representatives at the national government level, which is contrary to any claim that Burma has undergone recent change.

In early September, President Thein Sein appointed eleven new ministers as the Union-level of Parliament during a brief period of administration reshuffling, but failed to appoint a single ethnic MP.


More articles from issue 05/2 More articles from issue 02/3
More articles from issue 05/2
- Ethnic Political Party Alliance Calls for Federal Cooperation in Peace Process

- New Formed Mon Researcher To Protect Old Kingdom

- Seven Arrested in Lamine sub-Township Drug Bust

- US Delegation Meets Ethnic MPs in Naypyidaw

- Two Mon Parties Reaffirm Agreement to Unite

- A house divided will fail to win power for the Mon

- Questions Arise as Reports of Additional Military Training Surface

- Burma Tour Agency Offers Spiritual Travel Experience

- Reformist Burmese Government Continues to Use ‘Divide and Rule’ Colonial System

- Forty-Three Rohingya Boatpeople Walk Out Freely from Prison in Moulmein

- Federalism Agenda in Burma

- ‘Maintain and Be Proud of Your Ethnic Identity’ Say Suu Kyi amid Whirlwind Trip to United States

- Concerns Grows Over Threat of Increased Drug Use in Mon State

- Government Land-Seizure Investigation Committee Moves to Karen State

- Ethnic Mon in America Welcome Suu Kyi’s Visit With Words of Advice

- First Permitted Commemoration of International Peace Day Marks in Moulmein

- Ethnic Groups Issue Their Own Peace Plan

- Ethnic Mon Monk and Right Activists Make Donation to Insein Prison

- Ethnic Mon Monks Face Accusations of Partiality in Face of Difficult Political Talks

- Political Reform Comes at Cost of Ethnic Representation in Naypyidaw

- NMSP Outlines Party Objectives at 65th Mon Revolution Day

- NMSP maintains “wait and see” Policy

- Ethnic Mon MPs Meet Mon Migrants in Mahachai

- Pa-oh group agrees to a ceasefire with the Burmese government.

- Eight Thai Citizens Facing Prison in Burma

- Ethnic Languages to be Taught in Burmese Schools

- Ethnic Political Party Alliance Requests Reforms to Government Census Lists

- Initial Agreement Reached Between 88 Generation and Two Mon Political Parties

- Ethnic Conference Through to Find out Peace Hopefully (Interview)

- Starting Historic Journal, The Than Lwin Times (Interview)

- KNU says Burmese Government does not Want Real Political Dialogue

- Remembering Mon leader Nai Non Lar

- Mon Curriculum Brought to President Thein Sein

- Ethnic Mon Buddhist Doctor To Teach in Germany

- Mon Leadership at a Crossroads (Opinion)

- Ethnic Mon in Sangkhlaburi Join Buddhist Chanting to Celebrate the Buddhist Lent

- Educational Funding Possibilities Arise as Multi-Ethnic Curriculum Argument Increases

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