Rakhine Parliament Rejects Formation of New Ministry

By Min Aung Khine 27 June 2019

SITTWE—The Rakhine State Parliament voted down President U Win Myint’s proposal to form a new ministry in the Rakhine State government on Thursday.

At the Monday session of state parliament, the speaker presented to the parliament the President’s proposal to form a new immigration and human resources ministry.

As some lawmakers raised objections to the proposal, it was put to vote in parliament on Thursday. Thirteen members of parliament voted in favor while 22 others voted against, decisively rejecting the proposal.

While mostly lawmakers from the Arakan National Party (ANP) voted against the proposal, mostly military-appointed lawmakers and the National League for Democracy (NLD)’s lawmakers voted in support of the proposal.

“I don’t think there is a need to form a new ministry. Other ministries are taking charge of various departments [so they can take charge of a few more],” ANP lawmaker U Tun Aung Thein of Buthidaung Township told The Irrawaddy.

“The State Counselor also said that she reduced the number of deputy ministers in order to cut expenditure. If we are to form a new ministry out of the limited budget for the Rakhine State government, the money to be spent for the salaries and allowances will need to be taken from rural development funds, so that’s why I raised the objection,” he said.

Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) lawmaker U Zaw Zaw Myint of Buthidaung Township said he thinks lawmakers raised their objections out of concerns that the formation of a new ministry may further complicate the Rohingya issue in northern parts of Rakhine State.

“I assume lawmakers rejected it because the formation of that ministry may negatively impact the sovereignty of the country and the perpetuity of race and religion,” he told the media.

“I think the [Union Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population] wants to form a new [local] ministry out of necessity. By forming a ministry, it will be able to work more effectively on connected issues. That’s why we supported its formation,” military-appointed lawmaker Lieutenant Colonel Min Thu told reporters.

President U Win Myint has proposed forming an immigration and human resources ministry in all regions and states, and some have already been formed.

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