Rakhine State as­sem­bly to de­bate new com­mis­sion

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page -

Rakhine hlut­taw MPs will get their chance to de­bate the state ad­vi­sory com­mis­sion formed last month and chaired by Kofi An­nan, with an ur­gent pro­posal sub­mit­ted yes­ter­day in ob­jec­tion to it.

A RAKHINE State law­maker forged ahead yes­ter­day with an ef­fort to con­tinue stok­ing con­tro­versy over the re­cent for­ma­tion of an ad­vi­sory com­mis­sion for the state chaired by for­mer UN sec­re­tary gen­eral Kofi An­nan.

At the first day of the state leg­is­la­ture’s sec­ond ses­sion, U Kyaw Zaw Oo (Arakan Na­tional Party; Sit­twe 2) sub­mit­ted a pro­posal ob­ject­ing to the Rakhine State Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion formed by the Union gov­ern­ment last month, urg­ing the hlut­taw not to recog­nise the body.

He ar­gued that the com­mis­sion lacked le­git­i­macy be­cause it was cre­ated with­out the con­sent of eth­nic mi­nori­ties, in­clud­ing his state’s Rakhine ma­jor­ity in par­tic­u­lar.

Law­mak­ers in the state leg­is­la­ture voted to con­tinue de­bate on the pro­posal, likely later this week.

U Kyaw Zaw Oo ac­knowl­edged the de­feat of a sim­i­lar mo­tion in the Pyithu Hlut­taw last week, but con­tended that the Rakhine State par­lia­ment de­served its own dis­cus­sion on the com­mis­sion, given that its work will fo­cus on con­di­tions in the state.

“Par­lia­ment [in Nay Pyi Taw] re­jected the pro­posal on Septem­ber 6. How­ever, we sub­mit­ted one again in the state par­lia­ment be­cause the de­ci­sion of the state par­lia­ment is the most im­por­tant as the is­sue is mainly re­lated to Rakhine State,” said U Kyaw Zaw Oo.

The pro­posal, among other points, raises con­cern about pos­si­ble ad­verse ef­fects of the com­mis­sion and its rec­om­men­da­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to state hlut­taw MPs, dis­cus­sion on the ob­jec­tion pro­posal could take place at a ses­sion as soon as to­mor­row.

“We ab­so­lutely agree with the pro­posal as it con­cerns all Rakhine eth­nics,” said law­maker U Aung Win (ANP; Mye­bon 1). “Al­though the pro­posal failed in the Union-level par­lia­ment, we asked the Speaker of the state par­lia­ment to sub­mit a [sim­i­lar] pro­posal about the Rakhine com­mis­sion.”

The nine-mem­ber Rakhine State Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion was formed on Au­gust 23 via a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing be­tween the Min­istry of the Of­fice of the State Coun­sel­lor and the Kofi An­nan Foun­da­tion.

In ad­di­tion to the Ghana­ian Mr An­nan, it in­cludes for­mer UN of­fi­cials from Le­banon and Nor­way, as well as six Myan­mar na­tion­als, in­clud­ing both Bud­dhists and Mus­lims.

The com­mis­sion has been tasked with find­ing so­lu­tions to ease in­ter­re­li­gious ten­sions that linger af­ter vi­o­lence be­tween Bud­dhists and Mus­lims in 2012, as well as propos­ing de­vel­op­ment strate­gies for the state, which is one of Myan­mar’s poor­est.

Op­po­nents of its com­po­si­tion have ar­gued that the pres­ence of for­eign­ers on the com­mis­sion risked un­der­min­ing the coun­try’s sovereignty and en­cour­aged out­side in­ter­ven­tion in Myan­mar’s do­mes­tic af­fairs.

A protest against the com­mis­sion by Bud­dhist na­tion­al­ists on Septem­ber 11 turned vi­o­lent as lo­cals and par­tic­i­pants con­fronted one an­other in Yan­gon.

– Trans­la­tion by Win Thaw Tar

Photo: Aung Myin Ye Zaw

Bud­dhist na­tion­al­ists stage a protest against the Rakhine State Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion in Sit­twe on Septem­ber 6.

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