Kachin Chief Minister's Proposal to Split Ministry Disrupts Emergency Parliament Session

By Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint 29 January 2019

YANGON — The speaker of the Kachin State Parliament on Monday adjourned an emergency session early after some lawmakers vigorously objected to a proposal by the chief minister to split the Ministry of Transportation, Electricity and Industry.

Chief Minister U Khet Aung proposed dissolving the existing ministry and replacing it with a Ministry of Construction and Transportation and a Ministry of Electricity and Industry. He said he submitted the proposal in line with Section 248 (c) of the Constitution, which says the president can make changes and additions to the ministries with the approval of the region and state parliaments.

But four lawmakers objected, arguing that those powers were reserved for the president, not the chief ministers.

“Chief ministers are not authorized to make changes and additions according to the Constitution. It says the president, and only when the president submits a proposal, can the agenda proceed,” said U Zaw Win, who represents Tanai Township.

He said they had to abide by the Constitution whether they liked it or not.

Speaker U Tun Tin said he summoned the emergency session because President U Win Myint instructed him to do so over the phone.

“I was ordered to summon Parliament within three days. So I had to summon Parliament urgently. The chief minister must have received the order from the president,” he said.

But due to the objections to the chief minister’s proposal, U Tun Tin decided to adjourn the session to await further instructions from the president.

Sumprabum Township lawmaker Je Htu Yaw said she heard that the chief minister was told to propose the ministry shakeup by the president.

The session’s agenda also included nominations for three new state ministers, but the meeting was adjourned before they could be discussed, said lawmaker U Tin Aye, of Mohnyin Township.

Last week U Khet Aung told three state ministers to resign their posts without giving a reason other than to say that the instructions came from State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

While two of the ministers capitulated, Natural Resources Minister U H La Aung refused, insisting that he would not resign until he knew the reasons for the request.

The President’s Office later issued two statements, one announcing the retirement of the two ministers who resigned and another announcing U H La Aung’s dismissal.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.