Yangon, November (26)

Politicians and analysts have condemned the Military Council for attempting to persuade individuals by conferring honorary awards under the pretext of commemorating National Victory Day while illegitimately securing state power.

In honor of National Victory Day on November 17, the military leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, awarded orders, decorations, and medals to individuals who have performed excellent efforts.

Among the titles awarded by the Military Council, as of November 23, there are more than 90 PyidaungSu Sithu Thingaha and more than 380 outstanding performance badges.

The title of Agga Maha Thray Sithu, highest honorary label of PyidaungSu Sithu Thingaha, was awarded to the second military leader, General Soe Win, and U Kyaw Nyein, the Deputy Prime Minister who served the country from 1948 to 1962.

The “Sithu” title was awarded to the current members of the military council, including two officers under the State Law and Order Restoration Council၊, some military officers from the Ministry of Defense, and the Russian Minister of Defense.

Other awards, such as Military Distinguished Gallantry Medals, Myanmar Police Force Gallantry Badges, Myanmar Police Force Outstanding Performance Badges, Medals for Outstanding Performance in Economy and Subjects fields were also awarded to hundreds of individuals.

U Than Soe Naing, a political analyst, criticized the junta’s awarding of such titles as an effort to convince the people to side with the military regime in the upcoming election.

According to the 2008 Constitution, the two-year state of emergency will end on February 1 next year. After that, the military council said it would hold a general election in August to be officially recognized and hand over power to the winning party.

Colonel Sein Win, a leader of the ethnic armed force, pointed out that the military council’s awarding of the medal of honor was similar to that done under former dictator U Than Shwe.

Among those who received the medals of honor awarded by the military council were the prime ministers of various provinces and regions and the leaders of some ethnic armed organizations, political party leaders and mediators.

Veteran politician U Pe Than pointed out that awarding a medal while the country is in dire straits is not good for the country and this should not happen because it encourages the military regime.

Since the time when the military council seized state power by relying on weapons, there has been a tradition of awarding medals of honor to some deceased military personnel and some leaders of ethnic armed organizations to commemorate the special day.

General Zaw Min Tun, the spokesperson of the Military Council said at a press conference on November 18 that more than 2,300 honorary titles were awarded on Myanmar’s Independence Day, Armed Forces Day and Myanmar New Year’s Day.

The Military Council is currently fighting with ethnic armed groups and the Local Defense Forces (PDF) in almost every part of the country, and it is increasingly reliant on airstrikes.

In October, there were at least 57 airstrikes in 15 townships in Sagaing and Magway Regions, including Rakhine, Karen and Kachin States, killing more than 100 civilians, according to ISP-Myanmar.

News-Than Lwin Times

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