Calls to fill YCDC seats as mayor shirks poll
ALTHOUGH the Mandalay Region government plans to hold a Mandalay City Development Committee election later this month, Yangon’s mayor does not see a pressing need to do likewise to fill vacant seats on MCDC’s counterpart in the commercial capital.
The 2013 Yangon City Development Committee Law constitutes the municipal body with nine members: four elected and four directly appointed by the mayor, who serves as the committee’s ninth member.
YCDC’s eight elected and appointed members were removed from their seats in May after a change to by-laws governing the committee saw their terms truncated to coincide with the five-year term of the previous Union government, which ended on March 30.
Yangon Mayor U Maung Maung Soe appointed four interim members in June to take up the committee’s duties in the interim.
He has sought to pass responsibility for arranging a municipal poll.
“I don’t know yet the date and it would be arranged by the [regional] government and parliament. I’m busy doing other YCDC activities,” he said.
But regional MP Daw Sandar Min (NLD; Seikgyi Khanaungto 1), chair of the Financing, Economic and Planning Committee, told The Myanmar Times that she did not think the committee’s four interim members could handle all its responsibilities, urging the mayor to hold an election to fill the empty seats as soon as possible.
“We already asked the government about the election and they answered that they will arrange the election soon. Now, it’s been a long time. The YCDC election law mentions that the committee is to be formed with nine members. The mayor should study the law – the election does not involve our parliament,” she said.
Under the law, the mayor, in his dual role as minister for city development, is responsible for organising the YCDC election.
When The Myanmar Times interviewed Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein in April, he said the government would amend the election law to grant suffrage to all residents 18 years of age or older. A vote in late 2014 was restricted to one adult member of each household in possession of government-issued residency documents.
The limitations meant that out of 5.2 million people under YCDC’s jurisdiction, only 401,000 were able to cast ballots.
U Khin Maung Tint, a former committee member elected in that poll, this week offered support for broadening the electorate, and urged a swift vote.
“If the government doesn’t hold the election as soon as possible, YCDC’s duties won’t be completed by four members. The election should be held for the sake of Yangon residents,” he said.
The surprise change to the YCDC by-laws, which effectively forced the previously elected members from office against their will, has not been explained to the regional legislature.
“We are still monitoring whether the mayor will explain or not about the amendment of the by-laws. They can amend the by-laws directly but it is necessary to inform the parliament,” said Daw Sandar Min.