Rathidaung: A former managing director of the Myanmar Textile Industries, Ministry of Industry One, U Thein Maung, will run in the 2010 election in a northern Arakan constituency as an independent candidate, said a close associate of his.
"U Thein Maung opened an office in Rathidaung last December for his election campaign. He is now conducting his organizing tours throughout Rathidaung Township for the 2010 election," he said.
Rathidaung is located 20 miles north of Arakan's state capital, Sittwe, where the National League for Democracy and the Arakan League for Democracy each won one seat in the 1990 election.
"U Thein Maung gave many donations to the local people in order to get support from Arakanese people in the election. Recently he donated over ten million kyats to poor people in northern Rathidaung Township in order to get votes from them," the source said.
Many villagers in Ray Soe Chaung, Amyat Taung, Kyauk Ran, Thin Ta Poke, Nga Ran Chaung, Thet Pe Kya, and Pae Tha Du in northern Rathidaung Township lost income in the last paddy season because their paddy farms were destroyed by rats.
U Thein Maung has capitalized on the situation to gain support for the 2010 election by donating money to the hard-hit villagers. He has also been distributing food, clothes, and blankets to many poor villagers around the township.
Another relative said, "He also donated ten million kyats to a festival for a monk's funeral in his native village of Zadi Daung to mobilize Arakanese people by showing he is a good Buddhist."
He is an Arakanese who is the son of U Saw Tha Kyaw, a native of Zay Di Daung Village in Buthidaung Township, which is close to the neighboring township of Rathidaung in northern Arakan.
A politician from Sittwe said, "U Thein Maung is a close associate of Industry One Minister U Aung Thaung, and he is also pro-military junta. He came to Rathidaung to contest in the 2010 election under the instruction of U Aung Thaung."
In Arakan State, candidates from the National Unity Party, formerly the Burma Socialist Party Programme led by General Ne Win and some pro-junta individual candidates are now organizing Arakanese people to support them in the 2010 election.
"Most of the candidates who are pro-junta as well as from pro-military parties will contest in the forthcoming election because many other opposition political parties and ethnic parties will not be able to run in the election due to severe restrictions imposed on them by the junta authority with the new election laws," the politician said.
6 months ago