Suu Kyi lays down law on party dis­ci­pline to new MPs


Aung San Suu Kyi has warned newly minted MPs she will not tol­er­ate poor dis­ci­pline or wrong­do­ing, party mem­bers said yes­ter­day, as Myan­mar’s democ­racy cham­pion be­gan mar­shalling her op­po­si­tion for gov­ern­ment amid sky­high expectations.

Suu Kyi’s Na­tional League for Democ­racy party took nearly 80 per­cent of con­tested seats in the Novem­ber 8 elec­tion, promis­ing change af­ter decades of cor­ro­sive and cor­rupt army con­trol of the coun­try. But she can­not be pres­i­dent un­der the junta-scripted con­sti­tu­tion.

In­stead the party leader has vowed to rule from “above the pres­i­dent”-via a proxy who will be se­lected by the NLD­dom­i­nated leg­is­la­ture in the new year. Ob­servers say the NLD, a party of op­po­si­tion for 25 years, will strug­gle to match the soaring hopes of a long-suf­fer­ing peo­ple who crave reme­dies to the na­tion’s deep eco­nomic and so­cial prob­lems.

New MPs will also have to learn the nuts and bolts of power and pol­icy making as well as de­liver on the party’s change nar­ra­tive. Yes­ter­day NLD law­mak­ers said Suu Kyi used a party meet­ing to call for unity and warn new­com­ers to of­fice that poor dis­ci­pline or con­duct will be pun­ished. She doesn’t want any­one to build a small build­ing in­side the big one,” said Thet Thet Khine, an elected NLD MP in Yan­gon and a prom­i­nent party fig­ure.

“Any MP who wants to build his or her per­sonal group in­side the NLD ‘build­ing’ will not be ac­cepted,” she said. An­other new law­maker said Suu Kyi cau­tioned the party against “be­tray­ing the peo­ple” who over­whelm­ingly shunned the army­backed rul­ing party at the polls to give the NLD con­trol of both par­lia­men­tary houses.

“She said she will not tol­er­ate any breach of party reg­u­la­tions... and she will take ac­tion un­der the law if MPs make a mis­take,” Tun Myint, elected for the lower house from Ba­han town­ship in Yan­gon, told AFP.

He said NLD MPs also face a 25 per­cent salary cut as a ges­ture to the na­tion’s poor pop­u­la­tion. De­spite pub­lic eu­pho­ria at the sweep­ing elec­tion win, the mil­i­tary re­tains a ma­jor stake in Myan­mar’s pol­i­tics. It has 25 per­cent of all par­lia­men­tary seats gifted to it by a char­ter that it penned. But so far it has taken the elec­tion re­sult grace­fully, pledg­ing to en­sure a smooth tran­si­tion of power to the NLD.

The gov­ern­ment will not be formed un­til next year, with a long tran­si­tion pe­riod be­tween elec­tions and the han­dover of power.

The cur­rent par­lia­ment is due to sit un­til at least Jan­uary. This has raised con­cerns of po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, dead­lock or mis­chief-making by los­ing law­mak­ers.

The NLD won a sim­i­lar scale land­slide in 1990 polls, only to see the mil­i­tary an­nul the re­sult and dig in for an­other two decades. —AFP

YAN­GON: Elected can­di­dates of the Na­tional League For Democ­racy (NLD) meets in Yan­gon yes­ter­day. Suu Kyi is due to meet new law­mak­ers from her party af­ter a land­slide elec­tion win ear­lier this month which may ease the mil­i­tary’s decades-long hold on the coun­try. —AFP

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