This Week in Parliament (July 3 – July 7)

By The Irrawaddy 8 July 2017

Monday (July 3)

In the Lower House, Thabaung Township lawmaker U Thein Htun asked about land use permits issued by central committee for management of vacant, fallow and virgin lands. Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Hla Kyaw said that the committee has issued permits for a total of 2.33 million acres of land, but found that over 1.3 million acres remain inactive and would be taken back.

In the Upper House, lawmaker U Maung Maung Latt, from Sagaing Division urged the Union government to crack down on insurgents of Meitei decent (Kathe)—a majority ethnic group of the northeastern Indian state of Manipur—saying that the insurgents pose grave threat to security of Sagaing’s border town Tamu.

Tuesday (July 4)

According to the report of the Public Accounts Joint Committee submitted to the Union Parliament, the total tax revenues for 2016-17 fiscal year amounted over 7 trillion kyats, exceeding the targeted amount by 600 billion kyats. In 2011-12 fiscal year, the tax revenues accounted for 26 percent of the Union revenues, and the percentage has increased to 42 percent in 2016-17 fiscal year, according to the report.

Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win put forward a bill to amend the 2016 special commodities law which imposes a higher tax rate on tobacco, liquor, teak, jade and gems, natural gas and fuel.

Wednesday (July 5)

There was no parliamentary session.

Thursday (July 6)

In the Lower House, regarding the question of Kyauktan Township lawmaker Daw Aye Mya Mya Myo, deputy commerce minister U Aung Htoo said that a total of 68 households in Zone A of Yangon’s Thilawa Special Economic Zone have been relocated to Kyauktan Township, and vocational training in tailoring, furniture making, electrical wiring, electronics repair, driving, and other skills were provided to them; a total of 91 households in Zone B would also be relocated.

The deputy minister, regarding the question of Kyaukphyu Township lawmaker U Ba Shein, said that information about Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone could be sought through the Ministry of Commerce and China’s CITIC Group, and that the SEZ management committee was still holding detailed discussions on share proportion, bank loans, and environmental and social impact assessment with CITIC and a local public company.

In the Upper House, in response to a question from U Okkar Min of Tanintharyi Region, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation replied that his ministry applied harsh penalties against offshore fishing trawlers that violate the three-month fishing ban during the monsoon, including permanently revoking the offenders’ licenses.

Friday (July 7)

In the Lower House, deputy education minister U Win Maw Htun, in response to question of Thanatpin lawmaker U Myint Oo, said that his ministry promoted a total of 5,099 schools across the country to higher levels in 2017-18 academic year, with some primary schools becoming middle schools, and some middle schools being designated as high schools.

The Upper House approved a discussion of a proposal submitted by lawmaker U Aung Thein of Pegu which urged the Union government to take actions against illegal gambling machines which businessmen are operating across the country on the pretext of ‘amusement’ for children.