Maungdaw, Arakan State: Burma's Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Brigadier General Phone Swe visited northern Arakan on March 17, along with 18- Arakanese Rohingya businessmen from Rangoon for election campaign, said an aide of Nasaka from Maungdaw Town.

He met many Arakanese Rohingya leaders and some Union Solidarity and Development association (USDA) leaders in Maungdaw soon after he arrived in Maungdaw town from Sittwe.

The Minister held a meeting at the District Peace and Development Council (DPDC) office of Maungdaw town inviting 10- Arakanese Rohingya businessmen who came from Rangoon but all Maungdaw natives, 50 Arakanese Rohinhigya elders from Maungdaw Township without the Arakanese Rakhine community, 50 others of Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) members including Arakanese Rakhine and other government officials. 

The businessmen are identified as Aung Zaw Win, Htay Win alias Zaidur Rahman of Khairi Para, Sha Hin and his younger brother Alam Sha of Nurula Para, Nurul Amin of Lu Dine village, Jamil of Lu Dine, Naser son of Abul Alam, hailed from Bawli Bazar, Baser from Bawli Bazar, Musa from Ngwarondaung(Khorowdil) village and Jamal, son-in-law of of Kaml Beri Company. All the members from Maungdaw Township but other 8 members are from Buthidaung Township and Akyab (Sittwee), the capital of Arakan State, said a local trader from Maung Daw Town.

“In the meeting, the deputy minister said that majority of the people of the northern Arakan are Muslims along with Rakhines, Burman and others. We see all the people as one eye that has been living here. We have no difference. So, MPs of forthcoming elections will be Muslims from northern Arakan as they are the majority. The minister also asked the Arakanese Rohingyas to join USDA; it is separated for Arakanese Rohingya people though another USDA exists for Arakanese Rakhine people,” said   a businessman preferring not to be named.

The Minister also asked the Immigration Officer who also came from Rangoon to provide National Identity Cards (IDs), to Arakanese Rohingya people in a short time. It will cost Kyat 2,500 per ID card. Regarding the ID cards, Aung Zaw Win will bear all the expenditure.

The meeting started at 9 am and was wrapped up at around 10:30 am.  

Rumours are now spreading among the people in Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships that the two Arakanese Rohingyas from each of the town will contest the election in Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships.

The Arakanese Rohingya community will vote for their Arakanese Rohingya leaders and not junta associates, said a local elder.

The military authorities are now trying to mobilize the Arakanese Rohingya community to support pro-military government candidates in the election.

In villages of Maundaw Township, earlier the USDA provided only 50 forms of USDA to join USDA, but, at present, they have provided 300 forms to every village. 

Besides, five members from Maungadw and another five members from Buthidaung Town met Prime Minister Thein Sein on March 16, when the PM visited Buthidaung. The PM told the representatives that Arakanese Rohingya name and Arakanese Rohingya people are very popular abroad, said a school teacher who denied to be named.

Moreover, the District Peace and Development council (DPDC) Chairman Aung Swe Nyunt was dismissed from his position yesterday, but the reasons are not known.  People say that, DPDC Chairman is a good man and he was reluctant to take bribe.  But, the Nasaka Director Lt. Col Aung Gyi has an enmity with him because the Chairman did not give leverage to the Director’s henchmen, said an aide of the DPDC official.