The Opposition Leader was on a six-day tour of the south

Politics: Bhutanese should stop spreading rumours or ‘ma denpi tam’, the Opposition Leader (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said to the people of Gelephu and Tsirang during his six-day tour in the south.

Although he did not provide any specific examples, the Opposition Leader said that the rumour culture has picked up among Bhutanese and could lead to serious problems.

He also pointed out that more people are making negative use of social media applications such as WeChat, Viber and WhatsApp to share rumours and questionable images.

He said that when information is shared with instructions to “not tell anyone” it is enough indication that it is not true. However, he said that people still spread the information with family and friends. “If anyone tells you something that concludes with ‘do not tell anyone’, verify the information with local leaders before telling someone else,” the Opposition Leader said. “It is not good for yourself or for the country’s stability, unity and peace.”

(Dr) Pema Gyamtsho also explained the roles and responsibilities of the opposition party. He said that the Bhutanese system of democracy is exemplary in that it functions peacefully. The opposition’s role, he said, is to remind the government if they are heading in a wrong direction but not to hamper their work.

“Opposition’s role is also to help the government make plans and policies and to monitor the progress,” he said.

With its peace, unity and stability, the country is a potential destination for MICE (meetings, information, conferences and exhibitions) in the near future, he said. Becoming a destination for MICE would mean a boost in tourism, more job opportunities, business opportunities for hoteliers and transportation as well.

Bhutan can also become a financial hub. Given the same attributes, Bhutan has unique selling points to attract financial institutions. “We need to think about all these potential areas of growth to make Bhutan self-reliant,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Oposition Leader said that the Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal (BBIN) transport agreement could have a negative impact on the country’s peace, stability and unity. He urged people to discuss the consequences should the government agree to pass the agreement through parliament.

He explained that according to the BBIN agreement, vehicular movement will be free in the four countries. This may not make much difference to other countries such as Nepal, Indian and Bangladesh but it would seriously impact Bhutan, he said. “All our vehicles on their roads would not make a difference but their few vehicles will fill our roads,” he added.

(Dr) Pema Gyamtsho added that before the agreement is discussed in parliament, public opinion, specially of those residing in the border towns should be conveyed through their Members of Parliament.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Gelephu