NLD Spokesperson Reminds Lawmakers to Act ‘With Dignity’ Following a Recent Incident

By Nyein Nyein 24 April 2017

The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party spokesperson reminded lawmakers to behave appropriately and in line with the law, following an incident two weeks ago in Tenasserim Division.

A video of a Tenasserim divisional lawmaker slapping a villager during a dispute went viral on Facebook on Saturday.

NLD spokesperson U Nyan Win told The Irrawaddy on Monday that the party has requested that the concerned lawmaker submit a report.

U Nyan Win said he could not comment on the incident until a report was filed and deliberated, adding that laws did not permit the lawmaker’s actions.

“Everyone must be treated equally under the law and that applies to the lawmakers,” he said. “Thus, parliamentarians must behave better and with dignity.”

The incident happened on April 8 when Tenasserim divisional lawmaker U Ye Myint Swe went to inspect a new school building in Pawa village, more than an hour by boat from Tenasserim town, according to U Aung Thu Ra, a Tenasserim lawmaker.

Two weeks later, the short video was posted, widely shared and criticized on social media.

U Ye Myint Swe slapped villager Ko Tun Hla when he allegedly harrassed a woman while a debate regarding school building materials carried on around him.

“As you can see in the video, Ko Tun Hla sexually harrassed a woman and [U Ye Myint Swe] slapped him, but Ko Tun Hla blocked the slap,” said U Aung Thu Ra.

The lawmaker later apologized to the villager and they settled the matter.

This incident has raised larger criticisms online regarding the actions of lawmakers.

In early 2014, U Ohn Myint, the former minister of livestock, fisheries and rural development, was under fire in Union Parliament after issuing a verbal threat that he would slap anyone who insulted or opposed the [former] government.