What Our Readers Say
By The Irrawaddy 25 August 2012
That’s the problem with Myanmar democracy. It hasn’t even started yet and they want to impeach here and there. Why do you never learn from history—bickering among MPs, and between MPs and the government, gave Ne Win a chance to launch a coup in the late 50s. Do you want this repeated?
The 2008 Constitution guarantees the military 25 percent of the seats in Parliament. It also has complicated rules for amendments that give the military veto power over any proposed changes.
While minor constitutional changes may be considered by Parliament if 20 percent of MPs submit a bill, a total of 104 clauses cannot be amended without the prior approval of more than 75 percent of all MPs. Given that 25 percent of all seats are reserved for the military, elected MPs alone are unable to enforce major changes. Furthermore, even if approved by Parliament, a nationwide referendum must be held in which more than half of all eligible voters cast ballots to approve suggested amendments.
This intentionally complicated procedure, combined with the generals’ appalling record of holding rigged referendums, makes it all but impossible to change those clauses, which in various twisted ways “legally” safeguard the military’s now indirect hold on power.
Poorly drafted constitutional law is now becoming a laughing matter. People who drafted the Constitution were not our representatives but handpicked by Than Shwe. Now, the Constitutional Tribunal judges and representatives are at odds. Than Shwe wanted them to draft the Constitution to protect his life and his family from being prosecuted. But his people are fighting against each other. Crooked person’s agenda is ending up so ugly that we the people will watch and enjoy it.
An end to censorship with the drafting of a new media law by current U Thein Sein’s administration is a good start to move Burma forward to become more open society.
—A Burmese Freedom Fighter
Freedom of press must be free from all kinds of bondage including the government. Let them write freely. Let them speak freely. Let them publish freely. We the people must be given a chance to choose whatever we want to read and whatever we want to hear. The government must not impose on us what to read or what to listen to. It is none of the government’s business. We know what to choose. But we the people need to have freedom of choice.
The Constitution is to be clear. If it contradicts itself, the constitutional judges and the representatives will have to argue a lot. Executive branch vs judicial branch vs legislative branch will be a big problem. We the people have to watch the fight. Since the beginning it was not right, because the right people did not draft our Constitution. Than Shwe was the one who drafted the Constitution. Than Shwe is the one we can blame.
Every tourist who visits Myanmar can tell the standard of our country as soon as he/she arrives our airport terminal. The facilities are substandard and the hospitality is also substandard. About 50 years of neglect has left Myanmar almost in the Stone Age compared to other countries in the world. Even Cambodia has much better facilities to host tourists. The legacy of Ne Win and Than Shwe is our shame.
—Khin Win Kyi
If it is a true “path to democracy” as the Parliament is touting and would have the world believe, then all this should not be an issue. It is still all about control and greed, for a few, and not people at all. Burma needs to be free of all brutality and control by ignorance. It still has heart, and people who want their freedom. Its people just want to get on with rebuilding their schools and hospitals. Are you listening, China, and the uncomfortable “parliamentarians” who so recently (and some still) wear hated, loathed uniforms?
“The ‘Muslimization’ of Burma.” Who needs any further proof that, for many, this is a religiously motivated campaign of hatred against Muslims; all that we heard a month or so ago—that this is not an ethnic or religious issue but about illegal immigration—was stuff and nonsense. How very sad.
—Spoon & Fork