Parliament


Opposition MPs have baulked at an instruction issued by Lower House Speaker U Win Myint which requires all MPs to seek his approval before holding meetings with local and international civil society organisations.

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Lower House Speaker Win Myint has appealed to parliamentarians to inform him of workshops, meetings and trainings beforehand in order to gain official approval for such events; the request applies to sessions to which MPs have been invited by non-governmental and civil society organizations.

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Fresh from a stint back in their constituencies, members of parliament have now returned to Nay Pyi Taw for the second hluttaw session since last November’s elections. As the new session opens today, they face a range of issues, starting with a proposed revision of the budget law.

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As a former legal advisor to the now ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), lawyer Ko Ni has played a prominent role in helping to shape legislation to address a variety of issues. In 2013, he proposed a new law to deal with the growing problem of religious discrimination and hate speech, but it went nowhere under the government of former President Thein Sein. Now, with the NLD in power, he believes that there is a real possibility that a new law could be adopted before the end of the year. He recently spoke to DVB about his thoughts on the prospects for a law that could help to stem the tide of hate crimes in Burma.

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There was a revealing moment at a recent gathering of newly elected lawmakers in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw, when talk turned to their many training sessions with “international experts” and Western politicians on lofty subjects such as “building democracy” and being good legislators.

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Speaking at a public meeting in Rangoon’s Tamwe Township on Monday, Lower House speaker Win Myint said the National League for Democracy (NLD) government is unable to carry out reforms to its full capacity due to financial difficulties caused by the mismanagement of previous administrations.

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During its most recent session, Parliament received more than 2,000 new complaints of farmland seizure in less than five months, according to parliamentary committee chairs.

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Lower House MPs from Nay Pyi Taw Council area are trying to set up a university in the area, the MPs told Mizzima this week.

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An election tribunal on Monday heard statements in an appeal by a Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) lawmaker who is likely to lose his seat to a National League for Democracy (NLD) parliamentary hopeful in an election reversal.

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U Win Myint has rounded out the end of the latest parliamentary session by quashing suggestions of constitutional reform in the near future, telling reporters that the government acknowledged that it did not have the power to amend the charter for the time being.

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Today – day 73 of the government’s 100-day initiative – members of parliament are taking a break. In session since February 1, Pyithu Hluttaw will “pause”, said U Hla Moe, secretary of the body’s Hluttaw Rights Committee.

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Amending the Constitution will not be possible unless national reconciliation and peace are achieved despite the efforts of the National League for Democracy (NLD), said Win Myint, speaker of the Lower House, on Friday.

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The Speaker of parliament has been criticised for apparently trying to dissuade MPs from asking questions that show the government in a poor light. Rakhine State MP U Pe Than compared current Speaker U Win Myint unfavourably with his predecessor, Thura U Shwe Mann, adding, “It looks like the Speaker is putting pressure on MPs not to criticise the government.”

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Myanmar’s Union Parliament has approved Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), parliament sources said Tuesday.

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Women’s rights activists urged legislators to enact a gender quota system to increase women’s representation in political leadership at a panel discussion in Naypyidaw on Saturday.

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When the National League for Democracy took control of Myanmar’s national parliament after its electoral triumph last November, a fundamental rebalancing of Myanmar’s legislative landscape was expected. Most observers thought that the military representatives, who hold an allocation of 25% of all parliamentary seats, would serve as the main opposition to the NLD, which controls about 58% of the Union parliament, as the bicameral legislature is known.

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A bill amending and repealing provisions of Burma’s colonial-era Ward or Village Tract Administration Law—which required citizens to register overnight guests—was approved in the Upper House of Parliament on Friday.

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In Thursday’s session of the Lower House of Parliament, an Arakan National Party (ANP) lawmaker asked whether the government intends to establish legal definitions for “political prisoners” and “political offenses.”

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The Burmese government’s proposed logging ban must be matched with robust implementation, stressed environmentalists, following the announcement from the Minister of Resources and Environmental Conservation Ohn Win that a nationwide ban would be in full effect before the end of Burma’s fiscal year, in April 2017.

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The politics of alliance has never been defined in its own narrative within the ethnic writer and scholar in modern political literature in English. However, it has been well written in Burmese and other ethnic languages in the country. It is a complex issue to be explored by a non-ethnic writer in depth, to understand its rhetoric and substance due to the hidden agenda of political interests within the ethnic political factions in the country. It is far more complex than a simple word like ‘democracy’. As widely used as it is in modern Burmese political literature, at least the subject is not an isolated matter to many journalists and writers in Burma, also known as Myanmar, regardless of their/our insightful knowledge on the issue.

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