Lower house ac­cepts de­bate on com­mis­sion

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by San Layy and Khine Thazin Han

An Arakan Na­tional Party MP suc­cess­fully lob­bied the Pyithu Hlut­taw to de­bate the com­po­si­tion of an ad­vi­sory com­mis­sion for Rakhine.

FORMER par­lia­men­tary Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann re­vealed yes­ter­day that he is keep­ing a sharp eye on how the govern­ment han­dles the peace process and the on­go­ing in­ter-com­mu­nal trou­bles in Rakhine State, and said he will not hes­i­tate to re­lease a tor­rent of crit­i­cism if he deems that those ef­forts have de­vi­ated from ben­e­fit­ting the coun­try’s cit­i­zens.

He made the re­marks at a meet­ing of the Com­mis­sion for the As­sess­ment of Le­gal Af­fairs and Spe­cial Is­sues, which he chairs. The meet­ing was called in Nay Pyi Taw in re­sponse to re­cent ac­cu­sa­tions on so­cial me­dia that the com­mis­sion was not con­duct­ing its af­fairs in a trans­par­ent man­ner.

“I have posted in­for­ma­tion on­line about the com­mis­sion’s ac­tiv­i­ties, but peo­ple keep post­ing these ac­cu­sa­tions. They say the com­mis­sion is a fair­weather friend,” Thura U Shwe Mann said.

“I called this meet­ing and in­vited the me­dia be­cause I want the pub­lic to know what the com­mis­sion is and what we are do­ing. I also want those cow­ards who post ac­cu­sa­tions but do not show them­selves to know about com­mis­sion.”

The 35-mem­ber com­mis­sion was formed ear­lier this year to re­view laws and as­sist hlut­taw com­mit­tees as re­quested. It is em­pow­ered to pro­pose the amend­ment or abo­li­tion of ex­ist­ing laws and of­fer ad­vice as re­quested by the par­lia­men­tary Speak­ers or com­mit­tee chairs.

Thura U Shwe Mann said at yes­ter­day’s meet­ing that although the govern­ment is car­ry­ing out po­lit­i­cal changes, the econ­omy has been slow to de­velop be­cause the coun­try’s new lead­ers have failed to prop­erly im­ple­ment mar­ket-ori­ented strate­gies.

With the govern­ment so fo­cused on the peace process and Rakhine State, it has also ne­glected to shape “good ad­min­is­tra­tive ma­chin­ery”, he said.

“The com­mis­sion is closely watch­ing the new govern­ment, and if there are ad­di­tional re­quire­ments or de­lays in per­form­ing du­ties in the in­ter­ests of the Union or the pub­lic, we will point this out and give ad­vice on how to im­prove. If the govern­ment works against the in­ter­ests of the Union or the pub­lic, we will also point this out and we will protest,” he said.

Thura U Shwe Mann lauded the govern­ment for form­ing a com­mis­sion ear­lier this month for re­view­ing and scru­ti­n­is­ing hy­dropower projects along the Aye­yarwady River, in­clud­ing the con­tro­ver­sial My­it­sone dam in Kachin State.

On the peace process, he said, “Peace will not be won eas­ily. If it was easy, we would have had it a long time ago. Now we need the good­will of lead­ers of all the par­ties in­volved in the peace process … We also need to sym­pa­thise with those who live in ar­eas where fight­ing is oc­cur­ring, and with those who are fight­ing as sol­diers in the eth­nic armed groups. If we re­ally sym­pa­thise with them, we have a good chance to achieve peace.”

He said the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence, which starts to­day in Nay Pyi Taw, was an im­por­tant step in the process.

“It is im­por­tant that par­tic­i­pants will be able to sub­mit their opin­ions and talk about how they can con­trib­ute to the peace process,” he said.

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