Lower house accepts debate on commission
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.