Draft law seeks to up­date YCDC with elected of­fi­cials

The Myanmar Times - - News - YE MON yeemon­tun@mm­times.com

A DRAFT up­date to the 2013 Yan­gon City Devel­op­ment Af­fairs Law could see nearly all mem­bers of the mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­ity elected, ac­cord­ing to a draft sub­mit­ted to the re­gion par­lia­ment last week. But crit­ics say other leg­isla­tive up­dates are needed to en­sure all res­i­dents over the age of 18 are given the right to vote in the fu­ture mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

The bill com­mit­tee for the Yan­gon Re­gion Hlut­taw said its fo­cus in re­draft­ing the devel­op­ment af­fairs law was on re­duc­ing cen­tral­i­sa­tion of city pow­ers and re­form­ing Yan­gon City Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee.

U Thein Myint, chair of the bill com­mit­tee, told The Myan­mar Times on Oc­to­ber 14 that in the draft law the YCDC mem­bers are elected, rather than half be­ing ap­pointed by the city mayor.

“Cen­tral­i­sa­tion di­rectly op­poses the demo­cratic sys­tem of gover­nance in our coun­try. That’s why we drafted an amend­ment of this law,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2013 Yan­gon City Devel­op­ment Af­fairs Law, the mu­nic­i­pal body is con­sti­tuted of 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 in­clud­ing a sec­re­tary po­si­tion to take up the com­mit­tee’s du­ties in the in­terim.

Former re­gional MP U Kyaw said that par­lia­ment should amend both the 2013 Yan­gon City Devel­op­ment Af­fairs Law and the elec­tion law to en­sure that all adults can cast a bal­lot. Cur­rently, vot­ing is re­stricted to one adult per­son per house­hold.

“The cur­rent law was drafted in a one-sided way. When I was in par­lia­ment we ob­jected to it, but were not suc­cess­ful in amend­ing it,” he said.

When The Myan­mar Times in­ter­viewed Yan­gon Re­gion Chief Min­is­ter U Phyo Min Thein in April, he said that the Na­tional League for Democ­racy-backed gov­ern­ment would amend the elec­tion law so that ev­ery city res­i­dent over the age of 18 is el­i­gi­ble, and that the mayor would han­dle the up­date be­fore the next mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

The 2014 Yan­gon mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion was widely crit­i­cised for sidelin­ing the ma­jor­ity of the city’s pop­u­la­tion. The first such poll in 50 years al­lowed 401,000 el­i­gi­ble vot­ers to cast a bal­lot among the city’s pop­u­la­tion of 5.2 mil­lion.

The Yan­gon Re­gion Hlut­taw is sched­uled to de­bate the draft revi­sions of the 2013 Yan­gon City Devel­op­ment Af­fairs Law on Oc­to­ber 21.

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