This Week in Parliament (August 22-26)

By The Irrawaddy 27 August 2016

Monday August 22
In the Upper House, Sai Aung Htun of Shan State Constituency 2 asked if by-elections would be held in Shan State’s Mong Hsu and Kyethi townships, since polls were not held in those townships during the 2015 general election due to conflict. Aung Myint, member of the Union Election Commission (UEC), replied that when by-elections are held in early 2017, polls will be organized in those townships in line with election laws and by-laws on the condition that the two townships meet the requirements to host free and fair polls.

Tuesday August 23
In the Union Parliament, lawmakers discussed the draft law to amend the 2016 Union Budget Law. The parliamentary by-vote approved the draft law, which cuts ministry budgets, except for the ministries of education, health, ethnic affairs, defense and the state counselor’s office. About 470 billion kyats (US$400 million) were slashed from a 20 trillion kyats ($16.5 billion) government budget.
Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance Maung Maung Win elaborated on the signing of the second revised Asean comprehensive investment agreement by Burma.
Lawmakers discussed the president’s proposal to ratify the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and Nuclear Facilities.

Wednesday August 24
In the Lower House, lawmakers debated Dr. Hla Moe’s proposal, which urged the Ministry of Education to adopt a system that could properly assess the educational qualifications of students at a basic level in order to contribute to the educational policy and objectives of the government. Parliament documented the proposal.

In the Upper House, lawmakers debated the science, technology and innovation draft law. In response to the discussions, the Speaker of the Upper House asked the bill committee to review the discussions.

The Union Parliament passed a bill to amends the 2016 Union Budget Law.

Thursday August 24
In the Lower House, lawmakers debated the amendments proposed by the Upper House to the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law, and approved a draft law to amend it.
In the Upper House, Min Naing of Sagaing Division Constituency 12 asked if the government had a plan to appoint ethnic language teachers during the 2016-17 academic year. Union Minister for Education Dr. Myo Thein Gyi replied that his ministry did not have a plan for the time being, but that textbooks in 49 ethnic languages for grades 1, 2 and 3 had been distributed to 540,000 students in 187 townships, and a budget had been allocated for ethnic language teachers.
In the Union Parliament, lawmakers continued discussing the ratification of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and Nuclear Facilities, and Parliament approved the ratification of the convention.

Friday August 26

In the Lower House, Win Myint Aung of Dabayin Constituency asked if the government had a plan to form committees to supervise prisons and take care of inmates. Deputy Home Affairs Minister Maj-Gen Aung Soe replied that the Myanmar Human Rights Commission, Supreme Court judges, local authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross make visits to prisons and leave recommendations, and that his ministry acts on those recommendations and therefore has no plan to form such committees.

In the Upper House, Pe Chit of Rangoon Constituency 9 asked if the government had a plan to sign the Ottawa Treaty and whether there was mine detection and clearance plans in place to help save the lives of rural people in current and former conflict zones. The deputy defense minister  replied that it was currently impossible to sign the treaty given the ongoing clashes in the country. He added that his ministry was clearing mines in some areas of Karen State.

The Upper House also approved the territorial sea and maritime zone draft law.