This Week in Parliament

By The Irrawaddy 23 February 2019

Lawmaker U Thaung Aye of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) criticized the Mandalay Region government’s filming of his meeting with residents in his constituency of Pyawbwe Township. He said the meeting was to explain the functions of Parliament to local people. But the regional government reportedly sent instructions to the Pyawbwe Township General Administration Department to film the meeting and submit it to the government along with a report. The lawmaker complained that filming was in violation of parliamentary laws.

Tuesday (Feb. 19)

Parliament voted to form a 45-member committee to draft amendments to the Constitution with representatives from 14 parties: 18 from the ruling National League for Democracy; eight from the military; two from the USDP; two from the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy; two from the Arakan National Party; one each from the other political parties; one independent; and the Parliament speaker and deputy speaker.

Brig. Gen. Maung Maung, who leads military-appointed lawmakers in Parliament, warned of national instability if any one political party amends the Constitution with only its goals in mind.

Wednesday (Feb. 20)

The Lower House approved a proposal by lawmaker Daw Zinmar Aung urging the government to draft a plan to promote digital literacy in Myanmar, which has been suffering from the negative impacts of false content on social media.

Thursday (Feb. 21)

In the Upper House, lawmaker U Kyaw Toke, of Mandalay Region, claimed that farmers do not have access to agricultural loans under the rural development plan of the Co-operatives Department. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, the department received $100 million from the Export-Import Bank of China five years ago in order to lend money to farmers. Co-operatives Department Director U Myo Aung insisted that the loans are being provided to farmers only.

USDP lawmaker U Nyan Tun, who served as a vice president under former President U Thein Sein, submitted a proposal to Parliament urging the government to respond effectively to international organizations that attempt to divide the country. He said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, European Union and UNHCR adopted a resolution at the U.N. General Assembly on the human rights situation in Myanmar, and accused them of jeopardizing the country’s democratic transition and setting a trap that risked splitting Myanmar apart. Parliament agreed to debate his proposal.

Friday (Feb. 22)

The Lower House voted down a proposal by lawmaker U Sein Win urging the government to keep reserves of rice and crop seeds in preparation for climate change-inflicted disasters.