Military intelligence chief to become next home affairs minister

Myanmar’s military intelligence chief Lt-Gen Soe Htut is set to become the next home affairs minister after being chosen by commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing.

He was tipped last week as most likely to replace Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, who will now return to serve in the army.

Lt-Gen Soe Htut, 59, is chief of Military Security Affairs, a role created to replace former intelligence chief Khin Nyunt after he was arrested and his department purged in 2004.

He is a former Judge Advocate-General, the top legal counsel for prosecutors at courts martial, and served in southern, eastern and central commands before becoming the intelligence chief in 2016.

He often accompanies commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing on trips to foreign countries, including China, India, Russia and Japan.

Soe Htut’s late father Brig-Gen Lun Maung was a minister under the former military junta and was killed in a 2001 helicopter crash along with 15 other people including other senior military officials.

This is the second time Soe Htut has taken over a role Kyaw Swe served in since; Kyaw Swe was also the military intelligence chief until 2014, two years before becoming home affairs minister.

Another former intelligence chief, General Mya Tun Oo, is now the current chief of General Staff for the defense services.

President Win Myint on Thursday submitted Min Aung Hlaing’s proposal to appoint Soe Htut to parliament, which will discuss it next Monday, though in practice this is merely a formality.

Home affairs is one of three ministries – the others being border affairs and defense – that are controlled by the military, which wrote the 2008 constitution to ensure it would maintain its grip on power even after allowing a largely civilian government to rule.

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