The chairman of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in Rangoon Division, Aung Thein Linn, denies that he made controversial comments during an interview with Chinese publication Southern Weekend, according to the party’s general-secretary Htay Oo who spoke to The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.
Aung Thein Linn, pictured in Naypyidaw. (PHOTO: THE IRRAWADDY)
Aung Thein Linn has been widely criticized in Burma after he was quoted by the liberal Guangzhou-based journal lambasting President Thein Sein, Aung San Suu Kyi, the US, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Htay Oo said that he had spoken to Aung Thein Linn, a central executive member of the USDP and a former mayor of Rangoon, who assured him that his comments had been misconstrued and mistranslated in Southern Weekend.
“He [Aung Thein Linn] didn’t really remember what he said. He said it was not an official interview. That these were just informal comments,” said Htay Oo.
“He told me that if it transpires that he said something offensive, then he would take responsibility for his comments, and that the party could take action against him,” the USDP general-secretary said.
In an interview with Popular Myanmar News Journal on July 23, Aung Thein Linn said that the Chinese newspaper “perhaps misinterpreted his words.”
“I said that it is necessary to conduct an assessment of the Myitsone Dam project—for transparency’s sake. If the project harms people’s property and livelihoods, then nobody will be contracted to work on it,” he said; though the published interview quoted him as saying he opposed President Thein Sein’s decision to suspend the Myitsone Dam project, and that construction on the dam must be resumed.
In the published interview in Southern Weekend, Aung Thein Linn is asked about the public support for the NLD and Suu Kyi in Burma. He is quoted as saying: “They [people] are crazy. OK, she [Suu Kyi] is popular, but only because she is the daughter of Gen. Aung San. He is our national hero.”
Aung Thein Linn is also quoted as saying, “I don’t trust Ban Ki-moon, nor the UN. They are all the same. All they think of is to interfere with other countries’ internal affairs.”
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