The next Panglong: Should it be as good as, better or worse than Panglong?

Today, the signing of the 1947 Panglong Agreement is being celebrated all over the country, as it was for the past 65 years.

Since 2010, following the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the opening of peace talks with armed resistance movements, voices calling for “Panglong II”, “21st century Panglong” and “a conference even surpassing Panglong” have become louder.

A re-visit of the original Panglong Agreement is therefore necessary in order to decide whether we should keep it intact and all we have to worry is the implementation. Or whether we should find ways to improve on the original treaty.

The 9 point text, in a nutshell, give 5 promises to the non-Burman territories:

  • Executive authority over frontier (now known as border) areas (Point 1-4)
  • Full autonomy in internal administration (Point 5)
  • A separate Kachin “State” (Point 6)
  • Rights and privileges fundamental in democratic countries (Point 7)
  • Financial autonomy (Point 8-9)

Some critics have said “autonomy,” interpreted as “self rule”, is not enough, that a state should not only have self administrative powers, but also powers to make its own laws and administer justice in accordance with its own laws.

However, others have pointed out that the word “autonomy”, coming from Greek words “auto” (self) and “nomos” (law), together meaning “giving oneself one’s own law”, should be enough to include all the three powers demanded by the non-Burmans. Or even more, because “autonomy” is synonymous, in some cases, with “Independence”.

Therefore, this auspicious day marking the union forged by our forefathers should not only for joy seeking but also for deep meditation of how to make this country a union of heart and soul, and not one forged by sheer military prowess.
Long live Panglong!


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