DMG, 23 July
U Hla Thein, information officer for the Arakan State Administration Council, wrote on his Facebook on July 22 that a decision was made at a meeting of the Arakan State military council to distribute oxygen produced by an oxygen generator in Mrauk-U to public hospitals in accordance with the local government’s policy. Some people have since criticised the statement on Facebook, over whether the military council rightfully controls the oxygen production in Mrauk-U.
Officials from the Nang Yeik Karuna Free Oxygen Assistance Association, which owns the Mrauk-U oxygen plant, told DMG last week that the association was not yet aware of the Arakan State military council’s request for control of the oxygen produced at its facility. DMG asked members of respective Oxygen Implementation Committees for their views on how they would respond to requests by the military council for oxygen control in other Arakan State townships where oxygen plants are currently being built.
U Aung Kyaw Htwee || Secretary || Oxygen Plant Implementation Committee in Pauktaw Township
At this critical juncture, plants are being built in almost every township in Arakan State on a self-reliant basis. It is acceptable that the state military council will support the construction of an oxygen plant, but that does not mean that a form of control will not be undesirable.
Control does not mean that there will be no problems with the committees that are setting up the oxygen plants. Therefore, I think it is better to consult with the Arakan State [military] council than to use the term ‘control’. The Arakan State military council should coordinate with committee members in each township where the oxygen generators are being installed and coordinate as necessary. If the Arakan State military council gives unwanted instructions, the committee members will not accept them. Therefore, it is thought that unwanted situations may arise.
U Tin Aung Oo || Information Officer || Sittwe Township Oxygen Plant Implementation Committee
Since our Sittwe group is building an oxygen generator with donations, all donations are welcome without any discrimination. This is to ensure that the oxygen produced by the plant reaches patients in need. Another thing is that there are a lot of messages on social media about what the Arakan State military council will do if the oxygen plant in Sittwe produces oxygen. We do not know the official status yet.
It remains to be seen what the state military council will do. Should all the oxygen be given to their oxygen committee? It is a little difficult for us to say when we do not know the difference between sending a list and managing it by the council. We are still monitoring the situation, but construction of the plant will continue as before.
U Hla Myint || Chairman || Maungdaw Township Oxygen Plant Implementation Committee
We have to stand on our own two feet and not be under the control of them [the Arakan State Administration Council]. The Arakan State military council has come to discuss with us and will provide the necessary assistance. We will not accept any form of control. This is because building an oxygen plant is a must for any [Covid-19] infected person in our area. What Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing said is completely wrong.
Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing asked the Arakan State military council to cooperate with the local charities. U Hla Thein, spokesman for the Arakan State military council, told a media outlet yesterday that oxygen generators are being set up in nine townships in Arakan State. He has made it clear that if the oxygen plants are actually being built, the management committees in each township will study it, and if it is certain, the state military council will donate K10 million to each. We will accept cash donations from the state military council.
Ko Aung Chay || Information Officer and Member || Buthidaung Township Oxygen Plant Implementation Committee
We did not join the state military council from the very beginning of building the oxygen plant. We do not accept any accusations made by the state military council. If the state military council wants to cooperate with us, we will help as much as we can. We cannot do it under the control of the state military council. This much is clear.
The oxygen plant will be built with public donations, so no one, regardless of race, is under any organisation. This oxygen plant should be under the management of local people. Therefore, if the state military council comes to take control, we will not accept it and will stand on our own two feet.