NLD Leadership Instructs Lawmakers to ‘Avoid Questions that Could Harm the Govt’

By Htet Naing Zaw 5 October 2016

National League for Democracy (NLD) senior leaders have reportedly instructed the party’s lawmakers to avoid behavior and questioning that could mar the image of the NLD government, and to focus on polishing public perception of the party.

At a meeting between NLD senior leaders and lawmakers at Zabuthiri Hall in Parliament on Tuesday evening, party spokesperson U Win Htein and Lower House Speaker U Win Myint gave instructions to lawmakers on how to best conduct themselves as party members, parliamentarians present at the meeting told The Irrawaddy.

“They asked us to avoid asking questions that could harm the government, since the government is our [NLD] government. [Party] leaders do not want us to say things that are critical of the government,” said an Upper House lawmaker from Rangoon on the condition of anonymity.

Some speculated that the meeting was brought on by an incident that took place during a parliamentary session in the Lower House in September. Lawmaker U Aung Naing Win, of Rangoon’s Mingalardon Township, pointed out loopholes apparent in the disbursement of loans by the Agricultural Development Bank under the Ministry Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. When confronted, Minister Dr Aung Thu could not give a satisfactory reply.

On this occasion, “Ko Aung Naing Win underlined a good point,” said another Rangoon Lower House lawmaker who preferred not to be named. “But the thing is that the government is our [NLD-led] government. If we were the opposition, we could say we did a good job [in that case]. But, the government is our government, and so its image was impacted.”

He added that it is unlikely that the NLD-dominated parliament would be able to carry out proper checks and balances on the NLD-led government until after 2020.

NLD spokesperson U Win Htein told media that Tuesday’s meeting held no particular purpose, and was just a reminder to keep NLD lawmakers on the right track as the party leadership tries to understand their problems.

“The parliament is taking good shape and so is the executive branch. So, we urged the lawmakers to help the government through the parliament with its actions, to fulfill the wishes of people,” he said.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.