NLD Dismisses Outspoken MP for Hurting Party’s Image

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 27 January 2020

YANGON—The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) dismissed outspoken party lawmaker U Kyaw Zay Ya of Yangon’s Dagon Township constituency on Jan. 21, saying he hurt the image of the party.

NLD spokesperson Dr. Myo Nyunt told local media during the weekend that the party dismissed Yangon parliament member U Kyaw Zay Ya because he shared information that was only meant to be discussed within the party. The spokesperson didn’t elaborate about the disclosure.

”I don’t know why I was sacked from the party,” U Kyaw Zay Ya told The Irrawaddy on Monday. He insisted that he didn’t receive any warnings prior to his dismissal.

The former military officer joined the NLD in 2013 and was elected to the Dagon Township seat in the Yangon regional parliament in 2015. He is one of a few NLD lawmakers well known to the public for their critical views of the Yangon government’s controversial policies and performance.

U Kyaw Zay Ya told The Irrawaddy that he guessed the NLD’s move to revoke his party membership was connected to his comments in parliament last week. Last Tuesday, he raised questions in the regional parliament about the Yangon government’s spending of a 64-billion-kyat budget (US$43.6 million) that was approved for housing, as the housing project has yet to be implemented and the Yangon government was found to have misused budgets for other projects.

He explained that he raised the question officially in parliament because the Yangon Region chief minister had refused to answer it earlier in recent meetings with the government, parliament and the NLD.

Prior to his dismissal, U Kyaw Zay Ya was suspended from party membership by the NLD in August 2018, along with Union Parliament Lower House member Daw Thet Thet Khaing, for allegedly violating the party’s rules.

Daw Thet Thet Khaing subsequently resigned from the NLD in November 2019, saying she faced restrictions from the party that violated the standards of democracy and that the party tried to restrict her rights as an elected member of Parliament. She told the media at the time that the party censored her questions for discussion in Parliament. Since her resignation late last year, she has founded the People’s Pioneer Party (PPP).

As he has been dismissed by the NLD but retains his seat in the Yangon parliament, U Kyaw Zay Ya said he has now applied for membership in the People’s Pioneer Party (PPP).

The Irrawaddy reached out to the NLD spokesperson on Monday for further comment, but he was unavailable.