A government formed by the National League for Democracy would solve problems caused by drug trafficking and opium cultivation, party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said during a weekend visit to southern Shan State.
The NLD leader issued the pledge at a meeting with farmers in Hopong Township on September 6.
The NLD could not solve the problems at the moment because it had no power to do so, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said in response to questions from the farmers, some of whom cultivate opium poppy. The responsibility for dealing with drug trafficking and opium growing rested with the current government, she said.
“But if we can form a government after the election, I promise, the NLD will solve these problems,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said.
The pre-campaign trip to Hopong and Hsi Hseng townships ahead of the November 8 election was the NLD leader’s first to southern Shan State and provided her with opportunities to meet farmers who are growing coffee as an alternative crop to opium.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is supporting crop substitution efforts in southern Shan State, a major poppy growing region, but Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said rural development needed to involve more than only planting coffee.
“It should also involve health care services, education development, improvements in transport and communications and a reduction in the unemployment rate,” the NLD leader said in her speech at Hopong, in the Pa-O self-administered zone.
Hopong and Hsi Hseng are among five townships in the operational area of the Pa-O National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Pa-Oh National Liberation Organisation, the region’s strongest political force.