With $40k Fine, ANP Tells Legislators to Speak Up or Pay Up

By Moe Myint 1 April 2016

RANGOON — The Arakan National Party (ANP) has told its legislators that if they accept a state-level ministry position from the National League for Democracy (NLD) without informing the party, they will be fined more than US$40,000.

On Friday, ANP central executive committee (CEC) member Aung Mya Kyaw told The Irrawaddy that ANP lawmakers had verbally agreed to this arrangement more than a month ago, placing a seemingly unenforceable fine of 50 million kyats ($42,000) on violators.

ANP Lower House lawmaker Khin Saw Wai said that over the past few weeks, ANP’s regional lawmakers assembled in Arakan State’s capital Sittwe and agreed not to accept any offer from the NLD government without first informing the party.

But there are legal challenges to this deal.

“What can the ANP do if someone accepts an offer?” Khin Saw Wai asked. “They need a contract. With just a verbal agreement, they can’t do anything.”

Aung Mya Kyaw said that if someone breached this agreement, they would be kicked out of the party and taken to court.

Last week in Naypyidaw, NLD chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi held a meeting with ANP lawmakers to discuss formation of the state government. Four days later, ANP lawmakers in the state legislature walked out on a session upon learning that an NLD member of the chamber had been appointed to the Arakan State chief minister post.

The ANP won 23 of 47 state parliament seats in November’s election, but as the national winner of the election, the NLD selected the state minister post, as is the party’s prerogative under the country’s 2008 Constitution.

According to Sittwe-based media outlets, the NLD-appointed Arakan State Chief Minister Nyi Pu said ANP members would be included in the state cabinet, but that the NLD would select them.