|"A Man who hated Rohingya so much and set up special hunting net to destroy Rohingya identity""|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 04 February 2012|
Former Burmse president Nay Win Speech related to "1982 Citizenship Law"
Translation of the speech by General Ne Win provided in The Working People’s Daily, 9 October 1982
Meeting held in the Central Meeting Hall, President House, Ahlone Road,
8 October 1982.
"Comrade Central Committee members: What I am going to speak today is about an important law, the Burmese Citizenship Law. if this law must be explained, what has happened in the past must necessarily be recalled. I have no desire to hurt anybody in recounting this recent history. However, the truth might perhaps hurt somebody sometimes. but I do not wish to hurt anyone and I will try not to do so.
I would like first to explain about conditions that prevailed in Burma as a subject nation. After a part of Burma had been
The Union Citizenship Act, 1948. This Act was promulgated on 4 January 1948, as Act No. 66. The Second Act was the Union Citizenship (Election) Act, 1948. This Act was promulgated on 3 May 1948, as Act No. 26. The aim of the first Act was first to define citizens and their rights. The Aim of the Union Citizenship (Election) Act was to solve the problem of immigrants I had mentioned. These people were already in Burma when we regained independence and they were to elect for Burmese citizenship if they so desired. They were to apply for it. Not that citizenship was to be granted without limitation. Certain qualifications were to be fulfilled. For this purpose the Act was promulgated.
I would like to explain certain significant points of this Act. Section 5 of the Citizenship Act provides that persons born after the Constitution had come into force were to be citizens of Burma (a) if born in the Union of Burma of parents one of whom is a Union citizen: where the father is a citizen of a foreign country, that person is to make a declaration within one year after reaching the age of majority that he renounced the foreign citizenship and elected to remain as a Union citizen. If he or she did not make such a declaration he or she cease to be a Union citizen at the end of that year; (b) if born outside of the Union of Burma of a Union Citizen father but had registered his birth in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed period at a respective Consulate of the Union; (c) born outside of the Union of Burma of a parent serving as a Government servant: where one of the parents is a foreigner he or she is to make a declaration within one year of having attained the age of majority renouncing foreign citizenship and electing to remain a Union citizen. If he or she failed to do so he or she is to cease to be a Union citizen at the end of that year.
Section 7 of the same Act states: (i) A foreigner may apply for citizenship certificate giving the following reasons. If the reasons are acceptable to the Minister a citizenship certificate may be issued to him. (a) Has completed the age of 18 years; (b) has lived continuously for not less than five years within the Union under the authority of the Union prior to submitting the application... I will read out only the relevant portion. There are many more points. What is meant here is that a foreigner who (a) had completed the age of 18, (b) had lived continuously for at least five years in the Union under the authority of the Union can apply for citizenship.
You might not have noticed what I had read out just now. It is mentioned that if the Minister accepts the reason given a citizenship certificate may be granted to the applicant. This means that a citizenship certificate may be granted at the discretion of the Minister, appointed and empowered by the President for this purpose. That is, the Minister acting alone, has full power to decide as he wishes.
In this same Act there are other points relating to those who had entered our country our country that I did not go into details to avoid hurting others. However I feel one point should be brought out. Section 13 of the Act states that a person who had served for at least three years either continuously or not may apply for citizenship during his service or within six months after termination of his service and may be granted citizenship if he fulfils requirements of the law even if he had given (i) no prior intimation of his desire to do so (ii) or had not resided within the Union. Of foreigners who came into Burma there were many who served the English, but of them extra care has to be taken of armed forces personnel.
I will say only this much about this Act. The next Act is the Union Citizenship (Election) Act, 1948. I will read out section 3 of that Act. Any person who fulfils the following qualifications may apply to the District officer concerned for Union citizenship. The qualifications are: (a) being born in a territory under the suzerainty of the British monarch.
The British Empire at that time was very extensive and it was then said that “the sun never sets on the British Empire” in
That same Section 3 has a sub-section (b) that states that those who have lived within the territory of the Union of Burma for eight years out of ten years prior to 1 January 1942 or 4 January 1948 are eligible to apply for Burmese citizenship. The qualifications therefore are that one must have lived within the territory of Burma for eight years out of ten years prior to 1 January 1942 or 4 January 1948. These, of course, are points of law.
There are actions to be taken under this law. For instance, those who are in Burma and who satisfy those conditions must
On the part of the Burma Government, personnel from the department concerned must scrutinise the applications and issue citizenship certificates. In this respect, certain foreigners were illiterate or were unaware of the existence of this law. They therefore have not made the applications up to now and if legal action were to be taken against them there would be no end. A lot of bother and a lot of trouble for them as well as for us. What is worse and what should not have happened is as we had been saying all along since our Party was founded: the giving of full powers to a single person. Power was however entrusted to a single person under the conditions that prevailed at that time. Decision taken by the person in power was final. There were some irregularities with regard to grant citizenship to persons before Independence; and have not persons arriving in Burma after Independence in 1948, also been given citizenship?
I will tell you an instance. Now let us use the term eh-naing-ngan-tha from now on. After the country gained independence, some of these eh-naing-ngan-tha left this country again, leaving behind some of their family members. Some of them -kalas to be frank- did not go back to their kala-pyi but went to Singapore, Hong-Kong or America. Some tayokes did not return to tayoke-pyi but went to Singapore, Hong-Kong, Australia, and America. They left behind a relative, say a brother, here. Thisbrother would contact his brother in Hong- Kong and his brother in England and would smuggle goods out of our country. We have actually seen such smugglings. We are aware of their penchant for making
Both came here in similar circumstances -before Independence, January 1948. The difference lies in whether they applied for citizenship or not. Those who have not yet applied for citizenship are, let us say, a bigger problem. Therefore, we have made a distinction between eh-naing-ngan-tha and naing-ngan-tha-pyu-khwint-ya-thu. According to the Union Citizenship (Election) Act, 1948, a person with Burmese blood who failed to make certain declarations and renouncements when he or she comes of age loses his or her citizenship. Under our present law, not only those persons both of whose parents are nationals but also those persons only one of whose parents is s national automatically becomes a citizen on coming of age, without having to make declarations or renouncements.
If the descendants of eh-naing-ngan-tha continue to be regarded as eh-naing-ngantha, they will never be in a position to enjoy the rights of citizens. I said earlier, that in view of what is happening at present, this eh-naing-ngan-tha is not trustworthy at present. As I said earlier one lives in Burma, one in Hong-Kong, and one lives in England and are engaged in bad business. However, this blood relation will more or less cease to exist at the time of his or her grandchildren. When the grandchild is given citizenship, he will, just like any other citizen, become a full citizen. Similarly, with the children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren of a naing-ngan-tha-pyukhwint- ya-thu continue to be a naing-ngantha-pyu-khwint-ya-thu? Will a naing-ngantha-pyu-khwint-ya-thu not be able to enjoy full rights? As I said earlier, his grandchildren will be given citizenship.Although there are three types of citizens at present -eh-naing-ngan-tha, naingngan-tha-pyu-khwint-ya-thu and pure citizens, the grand children of eh-naingngan-tha and naing-ngan-tha-pyu-khwintya-thu will become full citizens. Then there will be only one type of citizen.
As everybody knows, this law was drafted in consultation with the whole country and a lot of time has been taken in drafting it. I do not know how many drafts were drawn up at the lower level. After it came to me, six more revisions were had to be made because some terms and facts had been left out.
Even now I found one fact missing. I discovered that when I re-read it while writing this speech this morning. A clause about pure citizens. Citizenship is a person's birthright. Excepting for treason during war, nobody can strip him of
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 04 February 2012 )|