Speakers reject ANP’s urgent Rakhine proposal
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
U Win Myint, Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw, enters a session of the lower house in Nay Pyi Taw on March 31.