Phyo Min Thein pulls video touting accomplishments after backlash

By HEIN KO SOE | FRONTIER

YANGON — U Phyo Min Thein on Wednesday uploaded and promptly removed a video from Facebook discussing his achievements, after social media users heaped scorn on his claim to have successfully concluded reforms to Yangon’s bus network in three days.

In Wednesday’s video, published to showcase his last 11 months in office, the Yangon chief minister said he was proud to have systematically introduced the Yangon Bus Service last month and lauded the public’s cooperation in streamlining the city’s bus network.

“We did successfully solve the Yangon bus traffic problem and our success is growing more and more,” he said in the video.

But the video was removed an hour after it was posted to Phyo Min Thein’s Facebook page, following a litany of comments from users complaining about the new system.

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The Yangon government last month dissolved the decades-old committee administering bus transport in Yangon, known by its Burmese acronym Ma Hta Tha, replacing it with a system that consolidated the overall number of bus routes from over 300 to 79 and taking older vehicles off the road.

Reaction to the new service have been mixed. Some commuters have praised improvements to safety and service while others have been critical of continued overcrowding and profiteering.

Less than a month after the YBS commenced operations, nearly 400 formal complaints have been made, largely over inappropriate behaviour from drivers and conductors, and attempts to levy fares over the legal limit.

Phyo Min Thein has promised the addition of nearly 3,000 additional buses and the introduction of a smartcard payment system in April.

A volunteer group of around 800 people, largely drawn from National League for Democracy officers, assisted the public with the transition in the first days of the system.

With a by-election looming next month, senior members of the NLD have begun publicising the achievements of the party’s first year in office, both at the Union level and in most states and regions across the country.

Five Yangon constituencies for the Union parliament will vote on April 1, replacing lawmakers who resigned to take positions in the ministry. By-elections will be held in 14 other constituencies across Myanmar, including for six electorates which did not vote in the November 2015 election.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD members with executive posts are constitutionally barred from participating in election campaigns. Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker U Win Myint will lead campaign activities in Yangon from tomorrow.

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