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