Suu Kyi faces detention until Feb 15

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Myanmar's new state council starts work, more emergency plans unveiled

  A military armored vehicle is seen on a street in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar, on Tuesday. AFP


  Myanmar's new state council starts work, more emergency plans unveiled

  Myanmar's newly installed State Administration Council, led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, began governing the country on Wednesday-two days after a yearlong state of emergency was declared.

  The new authority's start to work came as some officials were allowed to return home after being detained.

  Sources from the National League for Democracy, or NLD, and the military said State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint were in good health. They were among those detained on Monday.

  An NLD official said U Win Myint and Aung San Suu Kyi will be held in detention until Feb 15, Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

  Suu Kyi was charged under the Export and Import Law as handheld radios that were illegally imported and used without permission were found in a search of her residence in the capital city of Nay Pyi Taw.

  The military and the police have yet to make any statements in response to the information from the NLD, Xinhua said.

  Those officials allowed to go home included a number of regional and state chief ministers. The military indicated that more officials will be let out of detention.

  On Tuesday, the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services said the 11-member State Administration Council had been formed in line with Section 419 of Myanmar's 2008 Constitution.

  Chaired by Min Aung Hlaing as commander-in-chief of defense services, the council includes Vice-Senior General Soe Win, serving as deputy chairman. The council also set up a six-member Union Election Committee, in line with the Constitution, to prepare for elections promised by the military for the end of the yearlong emergency.

  Unlike with previous military takeovers in Myanmar, most of those appointed to what will serve as the cabinet are civil servants, said Min Zaw Oo, executive director of the Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security.

  In the first meeting of newly appointed ministers after a major cabinet reshuffle, Min Aung Hlaing unveiled further plans to be implemented during the state of emergency. These include the reopening of religious buildings and pagodas that had been shut because of COVID-19. Domestic travel networks will reopen along with hotels, and relaxations in curbs will help other affected industries.

  Key tasks

  Among the key tasks for the council are revitalizing the country's economy, providing job opportunities for the unemployed and repatriating Myanmar citizens who have been stuck overseas during the pandemic, Xinhua cited a statement from Myanmar's Military True News Information Team as saying.

  At the cabinet meeting, Min Aung Hlaing said it was inevitable that the army had to take power given the protests over alleged election fraud last year, according to the Myanmar Times. The electoral commission had dismissed such claims over the November poll, the newspaper said.

  Min Aung Hlaing said the military had carefully considered the effects of its actions and implemented them in line with the country's laws.

  Min Zaw Oo said the situation could have been resolved through dialogue, but noted that tensions had escalated.

  He said "the most important issue" facing the country will be the transition from military supervision to an elected government.

  The country should aim for a scenario in which the council can eventually hold the elections and enable the operation of a new government, he said. "That should be the strategic objective for all domestic and international stakeholders," Min Zaw Oo said.

  While the situation in the capital Nay Pyi Taw remained calm, supporters of the military-back parties were seen celebrating on the streets. However, in Yangon, the country's largest city, hundreds of people blared car horns and lit candles on Tuesday evening in a show of support for Suu Kyi's party.

  Xinhua and agencies contributed to this story.

  By YANG HAN in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2021-02-04 07:37