Daw Nyo Nyo Thinn

‘I de­rive great sat­is­fac­tion from my role’

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS -

Yan­gon Re­gion par­lia­men­tar­ian Dr Nyo Nyo Thinn was of­ten in the head­lines in 2014, over com­ments rang­ing from cor­rup­tion to in­ad­e­quate flood con­trol mea­sures. The out­spo­ken MP, who stud­ied and taught law in Ja­pan, rep­re­sents con­stituency two in Ba­han Town­ship as an in­de­pen­dent. She sat down with Mizzima's Juliet Sh­we­gaung for an in­ter­view.

What kind of a year did you have in in 2014?

I re­ally had to strug­gle in 2014, es­pe­cially after the mid­dle of the year when I be­gan to draw at­ten­tion to the weak points of the Yan­gon Re­gion par­lia­ment. A big is­sue in 2014 was the ma­noeu­ver­ing by the Yan­gon Re­gion gov­ern­ment to re­strict the work of the par­lia­ment. The re­gional gov­ern­ment was openly dis­ap­prov­ing of moves to form par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees. I of­ten clashed with mem­bers of the re­gional gov­ern­ment over this is­sue.

Pro­vide an ex­am­ple of a weak­ness in the re­gional par­lia­ment.

The Yan­gon Re­gion par­lia­ment ap­proved an an­nual bud­get for the Yan­gon gov­ern­ment of K400 bil­lion [about US$388 mil­lion]. But it has not been pos­si­ble to check whether the work was done or the bud­get spent wisely be­cause there is no par­lia­men­tary af­fairs com­mit­tee. When I urged the cre­ation of a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee to over­see the man­age­ment of the bud­get I was crit­i­cised by the re­gional gov­ern­ment.

Yan­gon re­gional MPs are not al­lowed to ask ques­tions about con­tro­ver­sial is­sues in par­lia­ment. Do you think this will change in 2015?

There will be no change to the sit­u­a­tion in 2015. I am pre­par­ing to be ha­rassed and threat­ened over my views on trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity again this year. I have al­ready re­ceived threats that I am not yet ready to dis­close. De­spite need­ing to be aware about my per­sonal safety, I de­rive great sat­is­fac­tion from my role. I have a duty of re­spon­si­bil­ity to my con­stituents and I will not let them down.

Has your cam­paign against cor­rup­tion yielded any re­sults?

I have re­ceived many let­ters com­plain­ing about cor­rup­tion. We have a lot of ev­i­dence. How­ever, in the in­ter­ests of not want­ing to dis­rupt the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the re­gional par­lia­ment and gov­ern­ment there is much I have not done be­cause I thought the time was not right. It is sig­nif­i­cant that although at­ten­tion was drawn to many sus­pected cases of cor­rup­tion dur­ing 2104 the gov­ern­ment did not take ac­tion in a sin­gle case. The Yan­gon Re­gion gov­ern­ment is not tak­ing ef­fec­tive ac­tion to pre­vent cor­rup­tion.

Was the pub­lic­ity you re­ceived from speak­ing out ex­pected?

It was never ex­pected. I do not have a po­lit­i­cal party back­ground and I do not reg­u­larly use so­cial me­dia. How­ever, I did per­form well in a pop­u­lar­ity poll on the BBC Burmese ser­vice on which I was placed ninth. This ex­pres­sion of support from the pub­lic gave me great en­cour­age­ment. It has been support such as this that has given me the strength to stand for the peo­ple in 2014.

Do you plan to seek elec­tion to the Union par­lia­ment?

No. I en­joy be­ing a mem­ber of the Yan­gon re­gional par­lia­ment be­cause it means I can be near my con­stituents. I be­lieve that politi­cians should stay close to the peo­ple they rep­re­sent. As a re­gional MP I can re­spond in­stantly to the need of the peo­ple.

What are your weak points?

I am weak at lob­by­ing. I should lobby the mem­bers of par­ties other than the Union Sol­i­dar­ity and De­vel­op­ment Party. I am weak at telling the par­ties what ques­tions I plan to raise in par­lia­ment or lob­by­ing them to give me support.

[Juliet Shwe Gaung]

Photo: Hong Sar

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