Environmentalists’ Objections Convince Shan Parliament to Reconsider Building Site

By San Yamin Aung 16 August 2016

RANGOON — The speaker of the Shan State legislature has pledged to reconsider the location for the construction of a new regional parliamentary building after environmental activists voiced objections to the proposed site in the state capital of Taunggyi.

Those in opposition to the plan launched a signature campaign over the course of the last week to stop the new structure from being built, as more than 80 trees are slated to be cut down to make way for the building.
The activists have described the proposed site as a “landmark area” in Taunggyi.

Cherry Kyaw, a Taunggyi-based environmentalist who chairs the local Living Earth Green Network, said that the state parliament’s speaker Sai Loon Seng from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) met with the activists on Saturday regarding their objections.

“He said that they will reconsider using a place which has been objected to by the public and he will [consult] the regional government about a new location,” she said.

She said that the network collected over 3,000 signatures from August 11-14. On Monday, the network sent the official objection, along with the petition, to the state government and legislature.

“We are not objecting to the construction of a new parliament. We only reject the [proposed] venue, as it will have a lot of impact on the local ecology. We won’t stop them if their next location doesn’t have as much impact on the enviornment,” said Cherry Kyaw, adding that during the meeting with Sai Loon Seng, the speaker had asked for their input regarding an alternative location.

Nang San San Aye, a Shan State parliamentarian from Hsipaw Township and one of four lawmakers appointed to the tender selection committee for the new parliamentary building, told The Irrawaddy that she had heard that the building would not longer be constructed on the site originally proposed. There is not yet a decision regarding a new location, she said.