Speak­ers re­ject ANP’s ur­gent Rakhine pro­posal

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTOO THANT thanhtoo@mm­times.com

AN Arakan Na­tional Party MP has twice been blocked from sub­mit­ting an ur­gent pro­posal on se­cu­rity in Rakhine State to par­lia­ment and was told by the Speak­ers of both houses to re­for­mu­late it as a ques­tion.

The pro­posal was ini­tially put for­ward to the Amyotha Hlut­taw by U Kyaw Kyaw Win (ANP; Rakhine 8). Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than said the sub­ject could be broached only as a ques­tion.

“If we choose an ac­cept­able ti­tle and re­send it to the lower house, I think the hlut­taw Speaker will ac­cept it,” MP U Ba Shein (ANP; Kyauk­phyu) had said on Novem­ber 21.

But when Pyithu Hlut­taw law­mak­ers from the same party tried their luck, they were given the same ul­ti­ma­tum.

The pro­posal would have called on the govern­ment to ur­gently pre­vent ter­ror­ism in north­ern Rakhine State and to re­store peace. The pro­posal was drafted dur­ing an ANP cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing ear­lier this month.

“Ac­cord­ing to the hlut­taw di­rec­tor gen­eral’s ac­count this morn­ing, I can­not submit this pro­posal to the hlut­taw be­cause the govern­ment is al­ready deal­ing with this is­sue,” U Ba Shein told me­dia out­side of par­lia­ment yes­ter­day.

He added that the is­sue of ter­ror­ism in Rakhine State dates back be­fore the re­cent up­surge in vi­o­lence af­ter the Oc­to­ber 9 at­tacks in north­ern Rakhine State and sub­se­quent se­cu­rity force de­ploy­ment.

“The Tat­madaw is pur­su­ing to erad­i­cate these acts. These [clear­ance op­er­a­tions] will ter­mi­nate when all dan­gers that threaten na­tional se­cu­rity have ended,” he added.

U Ba Shein said that while he un­der­stands the mil­i­tary side of the op­er­a­tion, he sees the govern­ment’s re­sponse as in­ad­e­quate.

Fel­low ANP mem­ber U Hla Saw voiced his dis­plea­sure with the re­jec­tion of the pro­posal, say­ing it was not fu­elled by hate but in the in­ter­ests of the Union.

“This is not only Rakhine’s prob­lem. This is a very large chal­lenge for a fledg­ling demo­cratic coun­try and all peo­ple want to know about this,” said U Hla Saw.

“We feel this ban is not fair,” he said.

The re­cent ANP pro­posal was far from the only one to be jet­ti­soned by the Speak­ers. Rakhine MPs have sub­mit­ted five pro­pos­als to the lower house, which is held by a Na­tional League for Democ­racy ma­jor­ity. Of these, just two pro­pos­als have been cleared for dis­cus­sion.

One pro­posal urg­ing a na­tion­wide cit­i­zen­ship scru­tiny ex­er­cise in line with the 1982 Cit­i­zen­ship Law was given the green light, as was one on the com­po­si­tion of the Kofi An­nan­led Rakhine State Com­mis­sion.

The pro­pos­als that were scut­tled cen­tred on help­ing Rakhine peo­ple dis­placed by the mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions in the state’s north­west, as well as one on the for­ma­tion of stu­dent unions.

The Speak­ers of both house of par­lia­ment are NLD mem­bers.

ANP MP for Mye­bon U Pe Than cried foul on the pick­ing and choos­ing of is­sues for dis­cus­sion, say­ing the rul­ing party’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives were given more air time.

“As far as I re­mem­ber, there were about 15 pro­pos­als at the last reg­u­lar ses­sion. Mat­ters like de­vel­op­ment have been sub­mit­ted and dis­cussed as pro­pos­als,” he said.

– Trans­la­tion by Win Thaw Tar

Photo: Aung Khant

U Win Myint, Speaker of the Pyithu Hlut­taw, en­ters a ses­sion of the lower house in Nay Pyi Taw on March 31.

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