Sunday, 23 September 2018
Maungdaw, Arakan State: Deputy Home Minister, Phon Shwe, accompanied by 18 Rohingya businessmen visited Maungdaw on May 20, to monitor development of the border area, a close aide of the police from Maungdaw town said.
 
Earlier, the Deputy Home Minister, accompanied by a Rohingya delegation, comprising of seven members, had visited Northern Arakan from Rangoon, on March 31.
 
On May 21, Phon Shwe visited a mosque along with several Rohingya leaders and gave permission to renovate the mosque. The mosque is located at the center of Maungdaw Town. Earlier, the military government had not given the Rohingya community permission to renovate or build a new mosque or other religious buildings.
 
“This is the first time that a senior junta official has visited a Rohingya mosque in Maungdaw. We are very pleased about his visit to our mosque and for his consent for renovating it,” a Maulana from Maungdaw Town said.
 
Mosques and other religious buildings in Northern Arakan State were not given permission for renovation for a long time, after the junta seized power in1988.
 
According to a religious leader of Maungdaw, Deputy Home Minister, Phon Shwe, permitted renovation for 10 mosques and two monasteries in Maungdaw Township.
 
The money for the renovation has been reportedly contributed by Rohingya businessmen from Rangoon.
 
All Rohingya businessmen, including Abdul Hafez and Aung Zaw Win of Nga Khura village, who accompanied Phon Shwe, will give money for renovating the mosques and monasteries, said a local elder. 
 
Maungdaw is a Rohingya dominated area in Arakan, Burma, where many restrictions have been imposed by the ruling military junta. However, now the authorities are likely to reduce some restrictions on the Rohingya community, because of the forthcoming 2010 elections.
 
On May 21, in the morning at about 7:00 am, a meeting was held in Sri Magala Hall in Maungdaw Town with the Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) Chairmen and concerned local authorities. 
 
At the meeting, Deputy Home Minister, Phon Swe asked all the VPDC Chairmen whether the money was enough or not, which they had received earlier for schools, road construction and dam building for drinking water. Regarding this, some VPDC Chairmen said that some money would be needed to complete the project. As a result, the Deputy Home Minister said, “We have no money for supporting those projects continuously,” said one of the VPDC Chairmen, who attended the meeting.
 
This morning, the Deputy Home Minister accompanied by the Rohingya delegation held a meeting at Buthidaung Town regarding the development programs---, especially building of schools, renovation of religious buildings, communication, health care, and clean drinking water, a trader from Maungdaw Town said.