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Section VII, B. 543 ADDRESS TO THE NATION, 24 AUGUST 1988 Reproduced from Dr Maung Maung presidential speech, “Address to the Nation, 24August 1988”, published in The Working People’s Daily (28 August 1988), by permission of Daw Khin Myint, wife of the late Dr Maung Maung. People of the country, The emergency proclamation and the military administration orders that had been issued in Rangoon and Prome has been revoked since 1 pm today. It is the primary duty of the government of the State to safeguard the country, peace and security of life and property of the people. The people themselves, too, have the duty to collectively keep control of their own communities and go about their life and work in accord with law. In taking measures for the rule of law as of duty, the government has to exercise power in accord with the conditions. It is very difficult to accurately weight the extent of power to be exercised. If it is very violent, duty has to be assigned to the Tatmadaw to control the situation. 07B DrMaung.indd 543 1/25/08 10:28:01 AM Reproduced from Dr Maung Maung: Gentleman, Scholar, Patriot by Robert H. Taylor (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008). This version was obtained electronically direct from the publisher on condition that copyright is not infringed. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior permission of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Individual articles are available at 544 DR MAUNG MAUNG: Gentleman, Scholar, Patriot Leaders and members of the Tatmadaw, being offspring of the indigenous working people, loathe to confront the people. Just as there are many who demonstrate sincerely as prompted by their own feelings, there are also those who mingle in various guises to exploit the situation and perpetrate looting, destruction and violence and it is very difficult to differentiate between them. At such times it tends to so happen that things, which should not, happen, rage grows, and some further inflame this rage, so all that tend to fan the fires difficult to extinguish. So, now, the Tatmadaw after transferring back the military administration duties, will be able to resume its primary duties, going out to forward areas when the time comes, to crush internal and external dangers, the duties it has performed undauntedly and strenuously all along. We would like to have amity between the people and the Tatmadaw which was born out of supreme struggle for independence and brought up and nurtured with correct concepts of discipline by prominent leaders in the history of the country, which had stepped in and kept control in times of crises in the country and has shouldered all assigned duties. I would like to speak of the next important point — the matter of holding a referendum to determine whether to continue to practise the one-party system of change over to a multi-party system. It is a matter the Party Chairman opened for, at the Extraordinary Party Congress held in July. The primary objective of the Congress was to strive in all ways for resolving food, clothing and housing conditions of the people and bringing about economic development of the country. However, as it was feared that such concentrated endeavours might be hindered by political arguments, as it was doubted the holding of the referendum is appropriate at such a time when it is not easy to travel, and when the farmers are busy in the fields during the rainy season, and also as Party delegates were so attached to the one-party system that had been promulgated by the will of the people in the Constitution, the Congress did not accept the proposal to hold a nation-wide referendum to determine whether the people want the one-party system of the multiparty system. As it was not accepted by the Congress it would be difficult to get accepted by the Hluttaw made up of most Congress delegates even if it was submitted again at the Pyithu Hluttaw. 07B DrMaung.indd 544 1/25/08 10:28:01 AM Address to the Nation, 24 August 1988 545 So a way was opened by forming the commission for ascertaining the desires and aspirations of the people to tour the various States and Divisions and seek the desires and aspirations of the people and complete the work in September for considerations at the regular session of the Pyithu Hluttaw in October. In the meantime...


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