Lawmaker Proposes Secretariat Be Returned to the Public

By San Yamin Aung 25 July 2016

RANGOON — A Rangoon divisional lawmaker will submit a proposal that would return the city’s historical Secretariat building—which has been leased to a private company—back to the public.

Aung Htoo, a National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmaker representing Rangoon’s Botahtaung Township, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that he will ask the government during the upcoming parliamentary session to give back to the public the 120-year-old Secretariat building, which is located in his constituency and is the site where independence leader Gen Aung San and eight of his colleagues were assassinated 69 years ago.

“I was really happy to see thousands of people enter the building on Martyrs’ Day [last week]. It is a historical place and part of our heritage. It shouldn’t be privatized. Instead, it should belong to the public,” he said.

The Secretariat is currently undergoing renovations supervised by local developer Anawmar Art Group, which was selected as winner of the Secretariat tender in 2012. After submitting a detailed plan of renovation methods and planned building use, a 50-year lease was awarded to the developer.

Le Yee Soe, director at Anawmar Group, told The Irrawaddy last year that the group planned to convert part of the dilapidated colonial structure into an art museum and would spend an estimated US$50 million on the renovation.