Who is Ye Htut?

ASEAN+ July 31, 2014 00:00

By Myanmar Eleven

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President Thein Sein's spokesperson Ye Htut has had extensive years of service before his nomination as the information minister was signed on July 30. He will replace Aung Kyi who voluntarily resigned a day earlier.

               Ye Htut was moved to civilian administration from the military in 2005. He served as a director general of information and public relations under former information minister Kyaw Hsan. He was made deputy information minister after President Thein Sein took office. 

               When the former information minister Kyaw Hsan and deputy ministers were reshuffled to other ministries, Ye Htut was promoted to presidential spokesperson in January 2013 where he earned the title of “Facebook Minister” for his voracious and controversial use of social media to promote government policy and propaganda. 
               He often resorted to Facebook to criticise journalists and the non-government press while singing praise for state media and endorsing various laws that ensured more controls over press freedom.  
               The former spokesperson has also been linked to various aliases accounts, such as Dr Sate Phwar. The alias account was accused in a parliamentary probe for posting misinformation and defamatory statements about opposition figures, such as Aung San Suu Kyi.  
               In June Ye Htut apologised to the NLD chairperson after his wife, Khin Sandar Tun, shared a fake and defamatory photo of Suu Kyi on Facebook. 
               Also nominated as the health minister, Dr Than Aung, likewise is a retired military major, who served as a director in a medical staff unit. He became a member of the Nay Pyi Taw Council in Thein Sein’s new government.  
               In July 2013, he was appointed to deputy minister for health. He is also close to former military general Than Shwe.