By Min Lwin
Agriculture and Irrigation Minister Myint Hlaing issued an apology to the country’s parliamentarians after coming under fire for calling them uneducated and thoughtless during an interview last month.
During an interview with the Hot News journal in late March, the minister said the representatives in the parliament have failed to graduate from high school and were making thoughtless decisions.
“The minister apologised in the parliament today. He said he made the remark in goodwill but didn’t intend to insult the parliament or the representatives,” said People’s Parliamentary representative Ye Htun, from Hsipaw, Shan state.
After the Hot News journal published the interview, 323 representatives in the parliament issued a complaint with the house’s speaker demanding an apology from the minister.
Ye Htun said Myint Hlaing also explained that he told the Hot News journal to publish the interview to balance out the media’s critical focus on the government’s cabinet.
“[The minister] said journals only write bad news about the government – attacking from different angles – same with other media platforms in the country and in exile,” said Ye Htun. “So he told the Hot News to write about government ministers [hard work] with their [development projects].”
Myint Hlaing made the remarks last month after the parliament decided to slash his ministry’s budget citing failures to successfully implement river and dam projects.
This is the first time in Burma’s history a government minister has issued an apology to parliamentary representatives.