Junta boss attempts to win favour of Arakanese people: political analysts

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has visited Arakan State three times this year, more than two years after he seized power in a coup on February 1, 2021.

By Admin 01 Apr 2023

Photo: Arakan Daily
Photo: Arakan Daily

DMG Newsroom
1 April 2023, Thandwe

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has visited Arakan State three times this year, more than two years after he seized power in a coup on February 1, 2021.

Min Aung Hlaing paid visits to Thandwe in January, Sittwe and Kyaukphyu in February and Sittwe again in March.

Political analyst U Pe Than told DMG that Min Aung Hlaing’s frequent visits to Arakan State may have included support for military family members and military preparations, as well as organising plans to gain the support of the Arakanese people.

“As the leader of the military, Min Aung Hlaing often visits Arakan State to encourage military families and win Arakanese people’s support. In addition, he will consult with military commanders about operations during his trips. Secondly, I see that he [Min Aung Hlaing] is trying to get the support of Arakanese people,” he said.

The coup leader most recently visited the Arakan State capital Sittwe on March 31 to consecrate a pagoda built by his predecessor in the role of Myanmar military dictator, Than Shwe. Min Aung Hlaing — together with his wife Kyu Kyu Hla, Arakan State military council members and junta officials — attended the consecration ceremony of the Lawka Nanda Pagoda in Sittwe on Friday morning. 

The regime is currently running parallel to the Arakan Army/United League of Arakan (AA/ULA), which has the support of the majority of the local population, in the administration and judiciary of Arakan State.

“The Arakanese people do not support the Myanmar military because of the presence of the AA/ULA in Arakan State. The Arakanese people only support AA/ULA, so he [Min Aung Hlaing] wants to depict an image to the Arakanese people that he is doing his best for the development of Arakan State,” U Pe Than added.

Min Aung Hlaing, who is also Myanmar’s self-appointed prime minister, said during his previous visits to Arakan State that he was visiting to provide what is necessary for the development and promotion of manufacturing activities in Arakan State.

Residents of Arakan State said the junta frontman’s frequent visits to Arakan State for various reasons aim to build political influence and show stability ahead of the junta-organised election. 

“The Arakan People’s Authority, formed by AA, and the regime became parallel governments in Arakan State,” said Ko Tun Kyi, a political analyst. “We see a situation where both sides have their own jurisdictions. In the current situation in Arakan state, we see that the political influence-building and power struggle has already begun.”

Min Aung Hlaing also visited Kandawgyi Lake and ViewPoint Beach in Sittwe. In addition, he met faculty members of the Sittwe University, talked about upgrading the university, and urged faculty members and students not to engage in politics.