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New Shan State chief sworn in

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Sao Aung Myat of Pwela, 47, and his ministers were sworn in at the former Office of the Shan State Peace and Development Council (SSPDC) yesterday morning by Brig-Gen San Oo, Commander of Eastern Region Command, according to sources.

The ministers include those responsible for:

Security and Border Areas - Col Aung Thu (military appointee)
Planning and Finance - Hkun Thein Aung (Union Solidarity and Development Party)
Economy - Thaung Shwe (Union Solidarity and Development Party)
Transport and Communications        
- Tu Maung, Tachilek (Union Solidarity and Development Party)
Agriculture Forestry - Sai Hsa Lu, Kutkhai (Union Solidarity and Development Party)
Health and Education - Dr Myoe Tun, Laogai (Union Solidarity and Development Party)
Electric Power - Sai Tun Yin (Union Solidarity and Development Party)
Technology and Mining - Sai Ai Pao (Shan Nationalities Democratic Party)
Construction - Sai Naw Kham (Shan Nationalities Democratic Party)

Apart from them, there are 7 other ministers each overseeing each ethnic community affairs: Burman, Kachin, Kayan, Lisu, Lahu, Akha and Inn.

A dinner party was held in the evening at the city hall in their honor.

“Sao Aung Myat speaks passable Shan,” said an MP. “His younger brother, who serves as his aide and driver, is even more fluent.”

Sai Ai Pao, leader of the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), meanwhile, was praised as an exemplary leader who sacrifices his wealth and time for the good of the people. “He was asked by some members to pass the ministership to some other member, as he was needed to lead the party,” said a party member. “He replied that as he had volunteered to serve the people in every way he could, he was happy to serve in both capacities.”

With SNDP, the largest non-USDP party, participating in the government, the ruling military junta had nipped a possible opposition in the bud, remarked Burma watchers in Thailand.

Pwela was one of the former 34 Federated Shan States which, with Independence in 1948, became the Shan State of Burma.

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