Q: Does the NLD party plan to accept those former party members who left the party for various reason back into the party? If they are to be accepted back again, could you tell us what kind of conditions will be placed to accept them?
A: The NLD headquarters will be, in the near future, laying down policies with regard to how it will deal with those former NLD members who left the party either on their own accord or because they have been expelled according to the rules and regulations of the party and would now like to rejoin the party.
Q: The number of political prisoners as compiled by the NLD is about 600 while it is 2,000 as compiled by those who are abroad. I would like to know the nearest estimate. This is because the matter of the release of political prisoners is related to the political temperature in Burmese politics. 200 political prisoners were released last month, which would relate to be one third of all political prisoners according to NLD’s figures, where as it would be only one-tenth according to those figures compiled from abroad. Therefore, the calculation of those numbers would greatly reflect the measurement of the political temperature in Burma. What do you think of that?
A: According to the statistics collected by the NLD humanitarian group which has been in contact with the prisons to help the political prisoners, the number of political prisoner as of now is 591. There could be those who are not on the NLD list. We are carefully verifying the list. After such verification we have also found that some of those political prisoners who are on the list compiled by those abroad have already been released. But we have not completed verification from all of the prisons.
Q: I was very happy to hear words of promise the American Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton gave saying that she would stand on the side of the Burmese democracy movement and also her words of encouragement. But next year, America will be staging presidential elections and if the Republican Party wins and a new government is formed, I would like to know what will happen to the promises that have just been made by the American Secretary of State.
A: Both the political parties in the United States have been supporting and encouraging the Burmese democracy movement for decades. That is why, that support has always been strong and stable even though there have been changes of Presidents. I believe that the support will continue to be strong and stable. When one gets involved in politics, it is normal practice to look for ways and means that will be in accord with the time and the existing situation.
Q: In Burma, over many eras, the economy has been controlled by the government and its economic culture has been to give preferential economic opportunities to those close to the government while the general populace is provided with very few employment opportunities leading to widespread poverty. What I would like to know is should the people try to create these economic and employment opportunities themselves or should the government create those opportunities.
A: Even in free and democratic countries like the USA and in European countries, the government has to be involved in creating such opportunities at times when the unemployment levels rise in their countries. So in a country like Burma where the economy is very shaky, it is necessary for the government to put forth correct policies and practical plans.
Q: What I would like to ask is regarding the explanation of the term “democratic opposition." I think that there has been quite a lot of misunderstanding and confusion with regard to the term “The Opposition” amongst the Burmese people. Could you please clarify the term?
A: In democratic countries there is the political party or some parties which form the government and a party or parties which cannot form the government. The party or those parties which are not part of the government are called the opposition forces. If that party or those parties win in another election and can form a government, then the parties which had to give up the government then becomes the opposition. The unusual thing about our NLD is that although we won the elections we were not able to form a government and for many years we had to stay as an opposition party. That is why; the term “opposition” does not have a clear meaning in Burma.
Broadcast on Dec. 16, 2011.