This Week in Parliament (July 25-29)

By The Irrawaddy 30 July 2016

July 25 (Monday)

The second regular session of Parliament resumed on Monday. The Union Parliament put on record President Htin Kyaw’s attendance at the Asean-Russia Commemorative Summit to mark the 20th anniversary of the Asean-Russia dialogue partnership; the declaration of bylaws related to electricity and chemicals; the appointment of a State Counselor’s Office deputy minister, a Naypyidaw council member and the chairman of the Danu Self-Administered Zone in Shan state, and the resignation of a member of the Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission.

The deputy minister of planning and finance, Kyaw Win, explained the amended Union budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year and the draft law to amend the Union budget law.

The chairman of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission explained the commission’s 2015 annual report.

The Lower House approved the draft law to revoke the Rangoon and Mandalay municipal laws.

In the Upper House, Sai Wan Hline Kham of Shan State Constituency-3 submitted a proposal urging the government to take a tough stance on drug production and distribution across northern Shan State, conduct an awareness campaign and implement rehabilitation policies. The Upper House approved his proposal.

July 26 (Tuesday)

In the Lower House, lawmakers debated a proposal previously submitted by Aye Zin Latt, a National League for Democracy lawmaker from Shwebo Township in Sagaing Division. His proposal urged the health ministry to expand its rural care service and address the shortage of doctors and medicines at hospitals. The health minister replied that his ministry was implementing a five-year health plan that would upgrade all 25-bed hospitals to 50-bed ones and within two months hire 2,000 new doctors and medical staff.

In the Upper House, Okkar Min from Tenasserim Division asked about plans to protect migrant workers’ rights. Labor, Immigration and Population Minister Thein Swe replied that his ministry was holding multilateral talks with Asean members to ensure safe workplaces free from discrimination and exploitation. His ministry is also trying to bring back Burmese migrant workers who have been detained in Malaysia and Thailand.

Zaw Min Latt from Shan State Constituency-1 asked if the ministry had a plan to improve the minimum wage—3,600 kyats for an eight-hour day, or 450 kyats per hour. Thein Swe replied that his ministry currently had no such plan but would monitor the overall situation and consider it in the future.

Regarding a question by Khin Ma Gyi from Kachin State Constituency-8 about foreign workers in Burma, the minister replied that taxes are levied on them according to related laws, bylaws, visas and bilateral agreements. The ministry is drafting a law to enforce regulations on foreign workers employed in Burma.

July 27 (Wednesday)

Twelve lawmakers debated Aye Zin Latt’s proposal to expand the public health department.  Health Minister Myint Htwe responded to the discussion and Parliament agreed to monitor the department’s performance.

In the Upper House, Than Soe from Rangoon Constituency-4 asked if Burma’s Agriculture and Rural Development Bank would release its annual financial statement for 2015-16, and agriculture minister Aung Thu said work was underway to release the financial statement.

In Burma, the government confiscates lottery prizes that are not claimed within a year. Htein Win from Irrawaddy Division Constituency-4 asked if the government had a plan to increase the prizes instead of confiscating them. National Planning and Finance Deputy Minister Maung Maung Win said his ministry was drafting the State Lottery Law, under which the government would use unclaimed lottery money toward public spending.

Aung Myo from Sagaing Division Constituency-2 asked what the government does with the vehicles it confiscates in connection with criminal and civil cases. Maung Maung Win replied that these vehicles were sold to buyers under an open tender system as instructed by the Union government and vehicles beyond repair were transferred to the National Planning and Finance Ministry as state property.

July 28 (Thursday)

In the Union Parliament, lawmakers debated the joint public accounts committee’s report of its review and remarked on the Union government’s targeted taxation goals and actual taxation amounts for the second half of the 2015-16 fiscal year. The Union Parliament approved the report.

Sixteen lawmakers discussed the 2015 annual report of the National Human Rights Commission and the commission chairman responded. The Union Parliament put the discussions on record.

July 29 (Friday)

Ten lawmakers debated a proposal by Yin Min Hlaing from Gangaw Township of Magwe Division that urged the Union government to address deforestation and environmental degradation in western Magwe Division. Resources and Environmental Conservation Minister Ohn Win responded to the discussion and the Parliament approved monitoring of the situation.