This Week in Parliament (June 6-10)

By The Irrawaddy 11 June 2016

June 6 (Monday)

The Union Parliament approved the President’s proposal for Myanmar’s ratification of the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the Association of Asean. Under the agreement, Myanmar diplomats assigned to the Asean Secretariat will receive exemptions and privileges while they are performing their duties, said U Kyaw Tin, deputy minister of foreign affairs.

 June 7 (Tuesday)

The Lower House approved lawmaker Khin Nyo’s proposal which called for the establishment of mangrove swamps in the Irrawaddy Division’s Dedaye Township.

The Upper House approved the electricity laws sent to it by the Lower House with their proposed amendments. It also approved the bylaws for prevention of dangerous chemicals and related materials sent to it by the Lower House with their proposed amendments.

In the Lower House, Myint Oo of Thanatpin Township asked if the new government would follow through with the former government’s plan to pay for half of the electricity supply costs in some of the villages in his township. Lower House Speaker Win Myint warned, “You are asking about a thing of the past, which was not clearly explained. You need to review you question first to see if it is relevant to the present time or not.”

June 8 (Wednesday)

The Lower House approved the proposal of lawmaker Tin Maung Win of Seikkan Township to halt the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) approved jetty project being carried out by Kaung Myanmar Aung shipping company on land owned by the Myanmar Port Authority. The lawmaker said that construction work would block the waterway, negatively affect the nearby Botahtaung Pagoda and increase traffic congestion on Strand Road.

The Upper House approved the draft law to amend the Anti-Corruption Law sent to it by the Lower House. The law has been amended once already.

 June 9 (Thursday)

Lower House lawmaker Phyu Phyu Thin asked how long it would take to rebuild the Mingalar Market. The Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement replied that the Rangoon Division Parliament would seek the approval of the divisional government to rebuild the market. The market caught fire in January this year and the damage toll was estimated at over 36 billion kyat (US$27.8 million), according to the Fire Services Department.

In response to a lawmaker’s question about whether the government planned to reopen the border trade post at Three Pagoda Pass in Karen State on the Thai-Burma border, Minister of Commerce Than Myint replied that it would only be considered after border disputes were settled and the border was demarcated according to international law.

June 10 (Friday)

Lawmaker Htay Win Aung of Dawbon Constituency asked if the government had a plan to disseminate information about the International Declaration of Human Rights at schools and through state media. Education Minister Myo Thein Gyi replied that the Information Ministry would publish photos, articles and interviews about human rights as a priority if they were sent to state newspapers. The Ministry of Education will cooperate with the National Human Rights Commission to provide information about human rights, the education minister said.

The first regular session of the Lower House convened on Feb. 1 and came to an end on June 10. Four standing committees and 15 affairs committees were formed. Nine of 16 bills were debated, seven remain up for debate and two by-laws were approved. Over 6,000 observers visisted Parliament.

The first regular session of the Upper House convened on Feb. 1 and concluded on June 10. Four standing committees and 12 affairs committees were formed.

Nang Than Than Lwin of Hpa-an Constituency asked if the government had a plan to allow instruction of ethnic languages in schools in order to preserve and promote language, culture and literature of the various ethnic groups. The education minister replied that the Union government would continue to cooperate with divisional and state governments to promote the teaching of ethnic languages at state schools.