I am personally in favor of enacting legislation requiring the milling of “lone-dee” rice only, so that the people will have no other choice but to eat it. But I know there will be strong protests. I am, however, not afraid of such protests, because my measure will be in the public interest. It is like “forcibly lifting a man up to heaven, seizing him by the neck,” as our Burmese saying goes.
I attempted to get the necessary legislation passed, but I found myself one against many. As you all know, “Lord Buddha could not prevail against the collective wish of the Sangha.” The public should first be educated to the virtues of “lone-dee,” I was told. Such proposals, of course, do not fit in with my temperament, as I have a weakness for quick decisions and immediate action. But for practical purposes I have to give in…
We have determined to save the poor masses by all possible means…The Government will purchase vitamins from foreign firms, while steps are being taken to set up state-owned plants which will manufacture these tablets by the million.
ON GOVERNMENT IN BUSINESS
(From a speech on the new Four-Year Plan, June, 1957)
In order to step up production in the economic field, the operation of all industrial and mining enterprises, except certain key projects, should not be entrusted solely to those who are only interested in getting salaries. They should be entrusted also to those who have profit motives.
If the Government continues to operate these enterprises, the salary-earners in charge of operations will go to their jobs as if going to picnics, without achieving results, like the Burmese proverb, “Mauing Pon cannot yet play the harp although silk strings are no more.” The result will be just squandering public funds.
From practical experience, I no longer like to see the Government’s finger in all sorts of economic pies. If it is allowed to go on unchecked, then due to lack of proper supervision and efficient management, the state enterprises will sooner or later only line the pockets of thieves and pilferers…In the circumstances, from now on, the Government will only concentrate on key economic projects.
As a second step, with a view to Union solidarity, facilities must he given to the people of the country – and especially to Government servants and workers in industrial factories – to buy shares in these enterprises. Such participation will encourage their interest in the stability of the Union.
ON NEGOTIATING WITH THE REBELS
(Further extracts from the same speech)
Since the insurgents are also among those who can help in the creation of a Pyidawtha (Happy Land) let me once again take this opportunity to beckon to them to come out of the darkness into light.
There has been, unfortunately, no perceptible progress in this matter of multicolored rebels coming into the light. As all of you are aware, they have rejected four offers of amnesty. In the last amnesty offer, in 1955, we even offered to legalize their political parties and allow them to contest in the general election if they wanted to, if only they would surrender their arms. But the rebels and their aboveground allies continue to press for negotiated settlement. This would provide them with the breathing space they need so much and thereby pave the way for further rebellions. The Government is averse to the idea of any negotiation. The situation therefore is static…