The Irrawaddy

NLD Cabinet Begins Reshuffle

U Han Zaw, construction minister appointee.

The first of the Union government’s cabinet reshuffle this year came on Monday, following regional and state minister resignations earlier this month.

On Tuesday, President U Htin Kyaw proposed U Han Zaw as the minister of construction at the Union Parliament and lawmakers will have to accept or reject the proposal within a week.

U Han Zaw, 72, a professional engineer, was a central executive committee member of the Myanmar Engineering Council (MEC), a Union-level regulatory and statutory authority, formed in 2014.  From 2014-17, he was chairman of the committee of accreditation and scrutinizing of company quality, under the MEC.

He served as the president of the Myanmar Engineering Society from 2008-10. Prior to that, he was the managing director of the Ministry of Construction under the military regime.

U Win Naing, a chairman of the Naypyitaw chapter of the Myanmar Engineering Society, told The Irrawaddy that the presidential appointee U Han Zaw was best suited to the ministerial position, as he is “an honest and respectable man in engineering society.”

“He is a good man and the position fits him,” commented U Win Naing.

After 22 months in power to date, the NLD administration currently runs 23 ministries with 21 ministers and 15 deputy ministers. It now awaits the approval of the new Ministry of Construction appointee.

A Presidential Order on Monday stated that U Win Khaing, the Union minister for Construction, and for Electricity and Energy, was transferred to take responsibility solely for the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.

On the same day, the president appointed former journalist U Aung Hla Tun as a deputy minister of information.

Nine of the government’s 23 ministries do not have a deputy minister, while the Ministry of Planning and Finance hosts two.

The National League for Democracy-led cabinet started with 19 ministers for 21 ministries in the beginning of its administration in order to reduce government expenditure. It had only one deputy minister, for the Ministry of Defense. There were 96 ministers and deputy ministers for a total of 36 ministries under former President Thein Sein’s administration.

In May 2016, the State Counselor Office’s was created and then there were 20 ministers for 22 ministerial institutions. At that time, there were eight deputy ministers: Commerce, the State Counselor’s Office, Border Affairs, Finance and Planning, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, the President’s Office, and Transport and Communication.

The last extension of the cabinet happened in November 2017, when the NLD created the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government.