The Union Election Commission on May 18 announced the termination of Dr. Aye Maung’s status as a Pyithu Hluttaw lawmaker for Arakan State’s Ann Township, and declared him ineligible to contest future elections.
A court on March 19, 2019, sentenced Dr. Aye Maung and author Wai Hun Aung to 20 years’ imprisonment under sections 122 and 505 (b) of the Penal Code, covering treason and criminal incitement, respectively. Their multiple appeals were rejected, including a last-ditch effort that went before the Supreme Court in January.
DMG reporter Win Nyunt compiled the opinions of political analysts and MPs on the latest blow to Dr. Aye Maung’s political fortunes.
Daw Aye Nu Sein (Arakan National Party spokesperson)
According to parliamentary procedure, a person who is convicted and serving a prison term after having had multiple appeals rejected is terminated from being an elected member of a parliament.
The declaration of the Union Election Commission includes barring a person who is punished for high treason from future election bids. I think the UEC announced it to let people know how much U Aye Maung suffers politically from this case.
The charge of high treason is a political case. According to political theory, the winner is crowned administrator or king, and the loser is named as ‘rebel’. It is a universal law.
High treason is committed by politicians and revolutionists. That’s why, I must say, excluding a politician who commits such a case from the parliamentary arena is a big restriction on all politicians and people who are involved in political affairs.
Mya Aye (Leading member of the Federal Democratic Force)
I think the UEC should not declare it during the time of war in Arakan State because it will not help to end the civil war.
I think politicians should not be in prison although they have different political ideas. Political prisoners should not exist these days if a politician dissents with us or the government.
We criticised for not releasing Dr. Aye Maung from prison. Now, the UEC announced that he is not allowed to contest in future elections. I think, if Arakanese people feel something on the declaration, there will be impacts on peacemaking and building the country from different sectors.
U Maung Maung Soe (Political analyst)
Personally I cannot accept the declaration banning a politician forever from contesting in future elections. It is acceptable if he is terminated and not allowed to contest in elections while he is serving a prison term.
However, barring from contesting all future elections is not good. The law and politics of the country has a problem, I think.
The high treason and incitement mean rebelling against the existing government or sedition against the existing government. Those who are now in the current National League for Democracy government and parliament were punished under the previous governments for high treason and incitement.
The State Peace and Development Council enacted the Pyithu Hluttaw Law on March 8, 2010. Section 88 of the law says a politician who served a prison term is not allowed to contest in two elections; the current term he/she is in prison or finished serving a prison term and the next term.
The Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law was amended in 2016 under the rules of the USDP. The law is not fair.
High treason means rebelling against the ruling government. If people who were sent to prison for rebelling in the country under the SPDC are elected now, politicians who are in a similar situation under this government should have the right to contest future elections.
The parliament, with a majority of members from the National League for Democracy, should amend Section 88(a) of the Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law. This problem cannot be solved until it is amended.
U Kyaw Lwin (Patron of the Arakan Front Party)
I think the UEC released the announcement unnecessarily. Dr. Aye Maung should not be charged for treason over his remarks at the literature talk.
Speaking at a public event is not high treason. If he contacts an armed group that rebels against the government or he tries to conduct armed struggle or provide financial support to the armed group, this is called treason. It is wrong to charge him with high treason over his talk at a public event.
He appealed at all levels, but his appeals were rejected and he was sent to jail. Now, he is terminated from being an elected Hluttaw representative. And the announcement said he is barred from contesting in future elections.
Issuing the announcement while the armed conflict is intensifying in Arakan State was not a good decision.
Saw San Nyein Thu (Chair of the Rakhaing Women’s Initiative Organization)
For me, I see Dr. Aye Maung as a leader for all ethnic people in Myanmar rather than a leader of Arakanese people. So, I had hoped that Dr. Aye Maung could give a lot of good suggestions for the development of the country if he was in parliament.
That’s why I must say barring Dr. Aye Maung from contesting in future elections is a loss for the whole country, not just a loss for Arakanese people.
The announcement that he has no right to contest in [future] elections is a kind of limiting politically.