Parliament


The United States has said it is deeply concerned about the legislative passage of the Health Care for Population Control Bill in Myanmar, paving the way for it to be enacted into law according to an official statement dated 19 May.
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The MOFA stated that Myanmar shares the concerns of the international community over the refugees drifting at sea and will keep a close watch over the issue as it develops.
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A Union Parliament lawmaker from Kachin State has called for an urgent overhaul of mining in Hpakant, home to the world’s most lucrative sources of jade, over local concerns about the environmental impact of the industry. (more…)

Myanmar is moving towards a general election later this year which, while likely to bring about significant changes to the government and parliament will essentially not change the underlying power structure of the land. The country has been under military rule or military-run civilian rule for the past 53 years and nobody should expect this institution, arguably the strongest, best-financed and best-managed in a country that has precious few institutions, to fade away quickly. “The military are not ready to give up power,” said one veteran western observer in Yangon who preferred to remain anonymous. “They are not yet convinced that the country is ready to handle democracy without their guidance.”
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During his recent visit to the United States, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann said at a meeting in Washington that it would be possible to form a coalition government. National League for Democracy chair Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was later quoted as saying she welcomed his cooperation.
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Burma’s Information Minister Ye Htut on Monday said that Burma will repatriate any so-called ‘boat people’ – so long as they can show evidence of Burmese citizenship.
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Burma’s army chief, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing will step down within the next two months and enter the country’s political scene, according to informed sources. The current second in charge, Vice Snr-Gen Soe Win will replace him within weeks, according to sources close to the general. The official order was signed earlier this month.
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President Thein Sein pledged to take the concerns of Burma’s dozens of political parties into “serious consideration,” but urged patience in addressing the country’s challenges as he met representatives of those parties on Monday in Rangoon.
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Burma’s government announced on Monday that millions of cellphone users in the country will need to pay a 5 percent tax on all mobile top-ups starting from June 1.
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Burma’s President Thein Sein has invited political party leaders to a meeting on Monday afternoon at the Rangoon government office.
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Constitutional amendment will not happen without agreement at the six-party talks, according to Upper House MP Dr Aye Maung, the chairman of Rakhine National Party.
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There are 137 bills waiting to be enacted by Parliament, according to Tun Tun Oo, the deputy attorney general.
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Thousands of Rohingya refugees from Burma lie starving in boats off the coasts of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Dehydrated and desperate, they are forced to drink their own urine in sight of countries which should be offering them sanctuary.
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Burma’s deputy foreign minister Thant Kyaw told Voice of America (Burmese Service) on Thursday that the government was not prepared to discuss the flood of migrants from Bangladesh and Burma’s Arakan State if it was framed as a Rohingya issue.
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Parliamentary Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann has urged the government to speed up drafting of a bill to “protect” the 2008 constitution – legislation opposition MPs fear could hinder campaigns to amend the charter.
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The enactment of the Banks and Financial Institutions Law of Myanmar has been delayed in parliament due to its complexity, sources said.
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Myanmar’s President Thein Sein on Thursday requested the country’s parliament to extend martial law by three months in Shan state’s Kokang region, where fierce fighting between ethnic insurgents and government troops has displaced tens of thousands of civilians since February.
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Burma’s Ministry of Transportation on Wednesday said the government plans to compensate the families of passengers who died when the Aung Takon 3 ferry boat sank off the coast of Arakan State in March – but only to the fixed sum covered by the insurance included on each ticket: just 500,000 kyat (US$500).
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An official from western Myanmar’s Rakhine state on Wednesday denied reports by the international media that up to 2,000 boat refugees rescued off the coasts of Malaysia and Indonesia earlier this week are ethnic Muslim Rohingyas who fled persecution in his region.
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Two controversial sections of the Myanmar Constitution cannot be amended before general elections expected in late October or November, says Lower House MP Thura Aung Ko, a Central Executive Committee member of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
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