Former Security Ministers Become Upper House Lawmakers

By Htun Htun 24 August 2017

YANGON — Seven former security and border affairs ministers have become military representatives to the Upper House.

Former security and border affairs ministers of Chin, Shan, Karen, and Rakhine states and Yangon, Magwe and Mandalay regions Col Kyaw Kyaw, Col Soe Moe Aung, Col Aung Lwin Col Htein Lin, Col Tin Aung Tun, Col Naing Oo and Col Myo Min Aung took the oath as military representatives to the Upper House on Wednesday.

They were appointed by the military as security and border affairs ministers of regions and states after the National League for Democracy (NLD) government assumed office last year.

According to the military-drafted 2008 Constitution, the military holds three important ministries: defense, border affairs, and home affairs.

One year after taking the ministerial positions, the army chief replaced them on June 29. They were then appointed to the Upper House to fill the seats left vacant by military representatives who had retired, been promoted, or resigned.

“They should have been assigned back to the military, but they were appointed to Parliament. Since they served in the administration they have more experience than ordinary military representatives,” a military representative told The Irrawaddy on condition of anonymity.

NLD Upper House lawmaker U Ba Myo Thein viewed the move as a military attempt to use their experience in security and border affairs in parliamentary matters. Some of the appointees served in areas that experienced ongoing clashes and violence.

“Maybe the military appointed them for their administrative experience or their experience in engaging with the civil administration. At least, they’ll be able to provide suggestions to Parliament,” said Upper House lawmaker U Khin Maung Latt of the Arakan National Party. (ANP).

Recently, in the Upper House, lawmakers have been debating an urgent proposal to take action against suspected militants in the north of Rakhine State under the 2014 Counter-Terrorism Law, and support locals who have fled their homes because of recent killings in the area.