Local People Worry Divided Election Will Divide The People in South and North in Rakhine State When People In North Are Attacked and Left Out From Casting Votes in November in Myanmar

Daw Malar Thein went back to Pha Yar Poung village 4 days after her house was burned down by Mynamar military and she found only aches of her property.

AN. Sittway. September 7, 2020

Myanmar army burned down 200 houses and killed two residents in Pha Yar Poung and Kyuak Gu villages in Kyauktaw township, northern Rakhine State, on September 3.


Local based DMG news reported 18,950 villagers have been fleeing from 9 villages and sought shelters in IDP camps since August 31.


Local based human rights documentation institute—Arakan Information Center (AIC) reports 6 civilians have been killed and 16 villagers injured by the Myanmar army’s gunshots and artilleries since the Covid-19 outbreak was reported on August 16.


“My house is gone. I see all the arches on the ground. I do not know where I and my children can live. We cannot live in the IDP camp forever,” said Daw Malar Thein, the resident of Pha Yar Poung village where her house was set fire by the Myanmar military several days ago.


She said, “I want the government to punish the perpetrators and rebuild my house.”


But the military denied the arson and accused AA burnt the houses.


Myanmar military spokesperson Gen. Zaw Min Tun said during the press conference on September 5, “Arakan Army burned down the village, and the two villagers killed in Pha Yar Poung village were members of AA.”


Neither state nor central government took responsibility and investigated the incident. The victims get justice and compensations from nowhere for their losses.


Even worse, they will not be allowed to cast the votes in the election in November.


Myanmar government spokesperson Zaw Htay told during the press conference in Naypyataw on September 5 that election commission would be able to hold full election in 5 townships in Rakhine State and the rest were not certain.


Union Election Commission told the press some townships in northern Rakhine State might be held elections partly. The commission said there were two constituencies in one township, but only one constituency might be conducted the election; some townships were still under consideration how the election would proceed; and further announcement would be made in October.


Arakan Army and Myanmar army have been actively fighting in Rakhine State since 2019, mostly in northern 7 townships as Buthedaung, Kyauktaw, Minbya, Mrauk U, Maybon, Ponnaygun, and Rathedaung  and Ann township in southern.


Local critics said the government is intending to hold full election in Kyaukphyu, Ramree, Manaung, Thandwe, Toungup, and Gwa, and some parts in Ann township.


They said Kyauktaw, Minbya, Mrauk U, Rathedaung, Maybon, and Ponnaygun township may not be able hold fully election, where AA and Myanmar army are clashing constantly.


“Sittway, Buthedaung, and Maungdaw townships are somehow lesser security concerned, but it is up to the government whether the election commission will conduct full election or not,” said a local analyst who does not want to print his name on media.

“What the most concern is that the partial election will divide the people, the regions (South and North), the representation, and the legitimacy of post election state parliament and government.”

He said people in northern Rakhine will feel they are left behind and discrimination when the people in south enjoy casting votes and electing for their representatives.


“NLD may think they will win in southern parts of Rakhine State so that they can form state parliament with 25% of military representation and set the state government in order to control the state power. It is totally wrong move, and the people will be divided as once in Ireland as northern and southern conflicts.” he said.

He said, “If this happen, people in northern are politically kicked to the corner and get no choice but armed fight for their freedom. Thus, more armed conflict is unavoidable.”

 Dr Aung Myo, a volunteer physician for Covid-19 preventive works in Sittway hospital, wrote on social media, “Rakhine State has many problems; one of the problems is the state government and the people. People do not trust the state government and that makes difficult to control the virus transmission due to lack of cooperation and coordination between these two factions.”


“Now the election will be held in some parts of Rakhine State when some parts are left out. So to speak, it is really huge problem mounting up. It had better the election would be held in every township or no election at all,” he wrote.


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