Chit Min Tun

CNI News

28 February 2024

we can see that in Myanmar, efforts are being made with a view to establishment of a democratic federal union. 

But it's not been clear up to now what kind of democratic federal union will be built. Frankly Speaking, basic principles have not been laid down. 

Here, there's something to think about. It is democratic federal government. What kind of democracy is it? While different kinds of democracy are interpreted in various ways, if it is attached to federalism and a democratic federal union is built, it might be really hard to think about it.

What kind of federalism will be built? Which country's federal system will it emulate? When it's hard to find an answer, it wouldn't seem to be easy if federal and democracy were mixed and a democratic federal union was built, it wouldn't be easy, just my two cents.

If you study international historical events, you can find there are complexities between democracy and federalism. Because of these complexities, some countries have disintegrated. 

For example, in spite of non-democratic countries, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia that were federal signs disintegrated under the complexities between democracy and federal.

Because these countries were not able to thoroughly clarify complexities between democracy and federalism and to implement the federalism or communism, they disintegrated.  

The people in Palitana Town, India are vegetarians according to Jainism, one of the world's oldest religions. Jain monks in that town do not allow the killing of animals. So, they demanded the government to close the slaughterhouses and the Indian government no longer granted licenses to slaughterhouses and closed the abattoirs. In terms of democracy, this is somewhat controversial. Moreover, there is an intertwining between religion and law. 

So, while efforts are being made to build a democratic federal union, it is very important to know what kind of situation will be shaped so as to build the democratic federal union. Otherwise, complexities between democracy and federal were shaped, it could be very difficult to become a union country that the people want.

There is another problem that needs to be solved here. Is it a democratic federal union or a federal democratic union that will be built in Myanmar? Because there are still different opinions between non-Burman ethnic people and Burman ethnic people, it is necessary to find a solution regarding what kind of union country. will be built.

Non-Burman ethnic people want to build a federal democratic union because if a democratic federal union was built, a party would win based on consensus and popular support. If so, it might be bullied without paying attention to the opinions or discussions of a minority or a person. ( In the current Myanmar politics, although the minority even pointed out what was wrong, most attack or blame or protest against the minority if it was not consistent with their desire. This is a lesson to be taken for the minority).

The union based on democracy and federalism will be built in accordance with the results from political discussion, said in the Basic Principles Clause (1-A) of the Chapter (1) of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). 

So, first of all, shall we build the democratic federal union or the federal democratic union or the union based democracy and federal? It's still necessary to discuss and find a solution to make it clear. The democratic federal union that is being dreamt of in Myanmar is one of the models used in the US, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and India.

One thing to be aware of here is that during the time when the Soviet Union was powerful, Myanmar politicians envisioned the Soviet model and drew up the 1947 Constitution. But later, the Soviet Union disintegrated and Myanmar has not been able to get out of the civil war as well up to now. And then, as the federalism of the US is successful, some politicians have started imagining the American model and others, models used in Germany, Canada, Switzerland and India.

In any case, taking the good things from these models, a union that will suit Myanmar will have to be built. The entire model cannot be taken. According to Myanmar's current existence, history and geographic situation, the Indian model seems to be the most suitable, said some people. 

But it's impossible to copy the whole model. The reason why the Indian model is the most suitable one is because Myanmar is made up of seven regions and seven states. Moreover, Naypyidaw Union Territory has been added as well just now.

What I mean is that Myanmar has states based on nationalities and regions based on geography. In the same way, India has states based on nationality such as Nagaland, Manipur and Assam and ones based on geography. Moreover, it has union territories as well. 

So, maybe some people consider Myanmar the closest to the Indian model. There are still a lot of other situations.

However, some do not like the Indian model because it is a little dominated by the central government. They like the models used in the US, Switzerland and Germany. The US doesn't use federalism that is based on both nationality and geography. It is just a federal system based on the country. Thinking and existence based on Myanmar's identity are not very close to that model.

However, we can take the good things from the federalism of the US and there are many good things in that federalism as well. In the federalism of Germany, the model of the tax system in which poor states are supported by rich states is a good example. 

According to the multiculturally valued policy in the federalism of Canada, the history of minorities and how they contributed to the country are included in the education curriculum. I think that it is a point that should be taken into account in building the future democratic federal union.

So, what kind of system the democratic federal union that will be built in Myanmar has to be watched. There are still some things to worry about. In any case, if a democratic federal union is built, because it has the word democracy, we can't develop by listening to the voice of the majority only. We also need to listen to the voices of minorities.

According to democracy and federalism, as there are also requests from some nationalities to establish new states for them, how will it be considered in building the democratic federal union in the future, how will the union be implemented and built, how will difficulties be solved and overcome? Regarding them, we still have many things to think about.

So, we need to carefully carry out so as not to face the kinds of crises that the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia experienced due to confusion between democracy and federalism because there are statements that some nationalities will build confederation and others, an independent state.

It's necessary to forget a lesson from the past. When many countries practiced socialism, Myanmar also did so.

Some countries were successful because of their existence and the way they applied socialism. But because their ways could not be replicated, U Ne win established a Myanmar-style socialism. But it wasn't a happy ending. So, when a Myanmar style democratic federal union or a Myanmar style federal democratic union is built, it is necessary to carefully consider and build so that the country can abstain from bad historical events.

Moreover, older people who are considering and discussing how the future union will be built should listen to the opinion, thought, attitude and desire of younger people with the evolving conditions in the 21st century people, I think, because most of older people are trying to build the future union tend to think based on historical events and they are weak to take into account the ideas and thoughts of today's youths. So, it's necessary to have a think in advance what will happen if the union system the current older people will build is not consistent with the conditions at the time when the current youths become older people.

To give one of many examples, according to the growing trend, rather than to preserve and learn mother tongue, traditions, and culture, today's youths are very keen on learning foreign languages and cultures and their willingness to experiment is growing.

At the same time, because older people are thinking about how to preserve their mother tongue and culture, it is necessary to create an equal situation between young and old.
Therefore, when establishing the future union, it is necessary to think about it from all sides, and to establish it in accordance with keeping abreast of the time. 

I am not saying that we need to forget the historical events. Historical lessons must be respected and modern time and at the same time, modern age must be studied and it is necessary to consider in order to unite the two things.

Rather than focusing on the advantages of a democratic federal union in relation to shaping the future Myanmar, if the future Myanmar is built based on collective leadership and collective strength that can combine democracy and federalism, the establishment of a democratic federal union will be successful, I think.

What kind of democratic federal union or federal democratic union will shape the future Myanmar? it will have to be watched.