Citing concerns about corruption and graft, representatives of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) have petitioned the central government to reconsider the status of a checkpoint in northern Shan State that was reopened on January 16.
A military checkpoint in Shan State
The Nam Oon Gate, located between Lashio and Hsenwi townships, was closed down during the tenure of the Thein Sein government because locals claimed they had been threatened by checkpoints guards and forced to pay bribes.
According to Sai Wan Leng Kham, an MP from the SNLD representing Lashio Township, 40 of the party’s MPs had signed the petition against the reopening of the checkpoint, and had submitted a letter to the union government on January 16.
“As we are the representatives of the people, we have to listen to their collective voice,” he told Shan Herald on Tuesday. “People are against this checkpoint, and we agree with them.”
He explained: “This gate will create more problems rather than solving them. There will be more traffic. People will not able to travel freely. Sometimes they have to travel at night, but if there is a checkpoint they cannot. If locals have an emergency, it could exacerbate the problem.”
The SNLD lawmaker added that local people are worried that they will be checked every time they pass the gate, and that this procedure could lead to a black market and an increase in drug problems in their area.
The Nam Oon Gate currently hosts officers from 11 different departments, including customs and finance.
Last Thursday, a group of traders in Muse Township also released a statement opposing the gate’s reopening. According to a report from Shan Herald on its Shan-language site, the traders cited concerns over delays and excess fees.
By Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)
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