Par­lia­ment re­turns from re­cess

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - thanhtoo@mm­ HTOO THANT – Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

Six new Tat­madaw MPs were sworn in yes­ter­day, switch­ing out with other rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the mil­i­tary’s bloc at the start of hlut­taw’s first day back. The third reg­u­lar ses­sion has 11 bills still to be ap­proved, eight pro­pos­als to re­view, and 105 starred ques­tions to dis­cuss.

LEG­IS­LA­TION must rep­re­sent the best in­ter­ests of the peo­ple, the Speaker of the lower house has urged, call­ing on MPs to en­sure the law serves to pro­tect the coun­try’s cit­i­zens.

Pyit­thu Hlut­taw Speaker U Win Myint made the plea yes­ter­day while ad­dress­ing MPs in Nay Pyi Taw.

“Un­less the laws en­sure pro­tec­tion for the peo­ple, the peo­ple don’t be­lieve in the laws and don’t fol­low them,” he said.

“We have to com­plete our tasks in ac­cor­dance with the par­lia­men­tary pro­ce­dures … so that rule of law will come into ef­fect,” he said, as par­lia­ment re­sumed its third reg­u­lar ses­sion af­ter a month-long re­cess.

There are 11 bills that re­main to be ap­proved, he said, and MPs must also sign off on ad­di­tional bud­gets for Union-level de­part­ments and min­istries in a sup­ple­men­tary ap­pro­pri­a­tions bill for the 2016-17 fis­cal year put for­ward by the gov­ern­ment.

U Kyaw Soe Lin from the Pyithu Hlut­taw Bill Com­mit­tee pointed to an amend­ment bill for the Ward and Vil­lage Tract Ad­min­is­tra­tion Law, as well as the Bill on Pro­tect­ing Cit­i­zens’ Per­sonal Free­dom and Se­cu­rity, and the Le­gal Pro­tec­tive Bill, as leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties for this ses­sion.

The Ward and Vil­lage Tract Ad­min­is­tra­tion Law, with its “mid­night in­spec­tions” clause, has proved par­tic­u­larly con­tentious in par­lia­ment, swapped back and forth be­tween houses with pro­posed changes. Elected MPs and mil­i­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tives have tus­sled over a re­quire­ment for house­hold­ers to no­tify au­thor­i­ties of any non-fam­ily mem­ber stay­ing in their home overnight.

As par­lia­men­tar­i­ans get back to work, eight pro­pos­als are ready for dis­cus­sion, while a fur­ther seven pro­pos­als are be­ing sent to the gov­ern­ment for con­sid­er­a­tion. U Win Myint said 105 starred ques­tions – those that are per­mit­ted for dis­cus­sion dur­ing the ses­sion – are also ready, in­clud­ing 72 holdovers from the pre­vi­ous par­lia­men­tary sit­ting. So far, par­lia­ment has al­ready sent for­ward 63 starred and 113 un­starred ques­tions to the gov­ern­ment.

In a democ­racy, U Win Myint said, de­ci­sions are made on the ba­sis of the will of the ma­jor­ity. How­ever, he added, there must also be re­spect paid to the mi­nor­ity’s de­sire, with par­lia­men­tary pro­ce­dures to be car­ried out in ac­cor­dance with demo­cratic norms.

“To en­sure jus­tice, free­dom and equal­ity, it is es­sen­tial to en­act laws firmly,” he said.


Photo: EPA

U Win Myint (cen­tre), Speaker of the Pyithu Hlut­taw, at­tends the open­ing day of the lat­est par­lia­men­tary ses­sion in Nay Pyi Taw yes­ter­day.

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