Speaker in­sists on time limit for ques­tions

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - PYAE THET PHYO pyae­thet­phyo@mm­times.com

Hop­ing to cut down on ram­bling com­men­taries and ver­bose pro­nounce­ments dur­ing ques­tion and an­swer ses­sions, the up­per house Speaker told law­mak­ers to keep their queries within the three-minute mark.

LENGTHY and spe­cific ques­tions have be­come a headache in the up­per house, with the Speaker is­su­ing a three-minute time limit for MPs when they take the floor.

Speak­ing yes­ter­day in Nay Pyi Taw, Amyotha Hlut­taw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than said any­thing north of three min­utes was prob­a­bly ex­ces­sive.

“[Af­ter in­stat­ing the three-minute limit], MPs asked ques­tions in un­der three min­utes and I was very glad for that be­cause I have seen our rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ abil­i­ties are higher than be­fore,” he said.

How­ever, not all were so quick to adapt to the new rule, with six rep­re­sen­ta­tives tak­ing more than their al­lot­ted time.

“[Yes­ter­day] I saw ques­tions that were more than three min­utes. A ques­tion is not a pro­posal dis­cus­sion. There is no need to in­clude laws when they are ques­tion­ing. [They should] ask only the points of the ques­tions,” he said.

The level of de­tail many MPs in­sert into their lines of ques­tion­ing was also time-con­sum­ing, the Speaker said.

“Rep­re­sen­ta­tives can make ref­er­ences to laws if they are dis­cussing pro­pos­als, but re­fer­ring to le­gal statutes when ask­ing ques­tions length­ens the ques­tions, so I called on them to avoid it [the le­gal par­tic­u­lars],” he said.

Union Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Live­stock and Ir­ri­ga­tion U Aung Thu com­plained that hlut­taw MPs’ illinformed and mis­di­rected ques­tions were “an­noy­ing” for the min­istry.

He was re­spond­ing to ques­tions from MP U Kyaw Than Tun (NLD; Man­dalay 3) about Pyin Oo Lwin town­ship farm­lands that were con­fis­cated for a mul­berry tree plant­ing project and later re­turned to the orig­i­nal own­ers.

“Th­ese vague ques­tions are very an­noy­ing for the min­istry,” said U Aung Thu. “Ask a spe­cific ques­tion and I will an­swer cer­tainly. If it is nec­es­sary to take ac­tion, then ac­tion will be taken.”

U Aung Thu ex­plained that an­other min­istry staff mem­ber was as­signed to the is­sue at hand, and if he had been pre­sented spe­cific ques­tions from the hlut­taw ahead of time, he could have passed those ques­tions along to the ap­pro­pri­ate staffer.

“This in­for­ma­tion is not com­piled by me but I make thor­ough checks,” he said. “You will have to en­sure speci­ficity for all of your ques­tions … like ‘How many acres have been leased out?’ or ‘How many acres were seized?’” he said.

In Oc­to­ber, se­nior NLD law­mak­ers told their more ju­nior col­leagues to stop ask­ing ques­tions or tabling pro­pos­als that made the govern­ment look bad. – Trans­la­tion by San Layy, Zar Zar Soe, Win Thaw Tar

and Khine Thazin Han

Photo: Pyae Thet Phyo

MPs min­gle in the par­lia­men­tary com­plex’s foyer.

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