Hluttaw representatives expressed surprise – and some concern – after learning that voting in parliament is not secret, and the results of their deliberations are clear for all to see.

The revelation came after U Pe Than, a representative from Myebon in Rakhine State, asked about the voting system in the Pyithu Hluttaw on June 13.

He said MPs feel unsecure when they vote on a proposal or bill, as a light system on their desk enables everyone to see how they voted. The light turns green if they vote yes, red if they vote no and yellow if they abstain.

“Can’t we switch off the light so it doesn’t come on after we’ve voted?” U Pe Than asked.

But what MPs had believed was a “secret” voting system is in fact “open” voting, a Hluttaw Rights Committee member clarified.

“The secret voting system has not been used in parliament yet,” said committee member U Soe Yin.

He said the parliament has two systems: secret, whereby all lights come on after an MP votes, and open, whereby a coloured light comes on to designate how they voted.

U Pe Than said this should have been explained earlier to MPs, as some thought their votes were secret.

“We’ve been in parliament three years but this is the first we’ve heard about secret voting,” he said.

He then asked when secret voting would be used, to which speaker Thura U Shwe Mann replied that the decision was up to him.

“It depends on the speaker’s decision. [I can] use the system if it is necessary. At that time, all MPs must follow the speaker’s decision,” Thura U Shwe Mann said.

Daw Khin Htay Kywe, a National League for Democracy representative from Mawlamyine, said prior to U Pe Than’s question she had thought her votes were secret.

“I only found out now that everyone can see,” she said. “But I’m not worried about others knowing how I voted.”

Link: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/10674-mps-express-surprise-over-not-so-secret-voting.html