Parliament Rejects Arakan MPs’ Proposal

By Htet Naing Zaw 25 November 2016

NAYPYIDAW —Arakan National Party (ANP) lawmakers criticized parliament after their urgent proposal regarding violence in Arakan State’s Maungdaw Township was rejected by the Lower House Speaker on Wednesday.

The proposal urged the government to adopt plans to eliminate violence in Maungdaw, calling recent attacks on border police outposts a threat to national security and sovereignty.

Lower House speaker U Win Myint replied via the director-general of the parliament that the government was already taking action and that the proposal did not need to be submitted to Parliament, ANP lawmaker U Ba Shein told the press.

“But we don’t know what the government is doing,” U Ba Shein said. “All we know is the military is carrying out clean-up operations; we think the government should also draw up plans that address our proposal.”

Director-General of the Lower House U Tin Win Aung said he is not directly responsible for urgent proposals and told the media to ask the concerned lawmakers about the issue.

Lower House lawmakers U Ba Shein, U Oo Hla Saw, U Pe Than and Daw Khin Saw Wai from the ANP met the press after the Lower Hose session on Wednesday, saying that they feel they are being faced with inequality over the frequent rejection of ANP’s proposals.

U Oo Hla Saw from Mrauk-U Township said that the proposal should not be rejected because the problem not only concerned Arakan State but also the entire Union.

“Rejection of our proposal in the Parliament means rejecting the voices of Arakanese people as well as the Union. So, we feel the rejection is not fair,” said U Oo Hla Saw.

“It is not of the Parliament’s business to give answers on behalf of the government,” he added. “But it is our duty to ask questions to the government through the Parliament.”

The ANP has put forward four proposals to Parliament. Two were rejected outright and two were accepted for debate, said lawmaker Daw Khin Saw Wai from Rathedaung Township.

“Proposals of lesser importance such as local development issues are allowed for debate, but not proposals like ours,” criticized U Oo Hla Saw.

According to parliamentary procedure, proposals are submitted to the speaker in advance, who then decides whether or not to accept them for debate and to inform the concerned ministries to address the matter.

Lower House lawmaker U Win Myint told the media on Oct. 7 that he handled the submission of proposals and questions to the Parliament fairly and without bias but that he had to manage the proposals depending on availability of the ministries.