Lawmaker Files Slander Complaint Against NLD Spokesman

By Kyaw Myo 26 October 2018

NAYPYITAW — A former member of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) has filed a complaint against a spokesman for the party under the Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens.

Upper House lawmaker U Tin Aung Tun, from Magwe Region, said NLD spokesman U Myo Nyunt’s statement to the media about his resignation from the party sullied his name.

The lawmaker filed the complaint with police in Magwe’s Minbu Township on Tuesday under Article 10 of the law.

Following an NLD central executive committee meeting in Naypyitaw on Sept. 23, U Myo Nyunt told reporters that the party had accepted the resignation of U Pe Chit of Yangon Constituency 9 and U Tin Aung Tun of Magwe Constituency 5.

“They said that party rules were too strict and they were also not happy that they had to make cash contributions to the party,” the spokesman said when reporters asked him why the two men had resigned.

According to party sources, NLD lawmakers have to contribute 25 percent of their monthly salaries — 250,000 kyats ($158) — to the party.

“I filed the complaint because I believe what he said breached this law. I am filing the complaint because what he said is not true and damaged my reputation,” U Tin Aung Tun told reporters.

U Tin Aung Tun said he left the NLD simply because he no longer wanted to be a party member. He denied having given the reasons U Myo Nyunt claimed.

U Myo Nyunt said he did not specifically name U Tin Aung Tun in his remarks on Sept. 23.

“I just said it generally to refer to that group,” he said, referring to the lawmakers who had submitted resignation letters. “I didn’t mean to defame like he said.”

He said U Tin Aung Tun filed the complaint out of anger with public criticism.

“People voted for them not because of who they are, but because they were from the NLD. And people are angry because they resigned from the party after becoming lawmakers,” the spokesman said.

The Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens has rarely been used to file defamation charges since it was enacted in March 2017, said lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw.

Article 8 (f) of the law bars anyone from unlawfully interfering with a citizen’s personal or family matters or from acting in any way to slander or harm a citizen’s reputation in the absence of an order, permission or warrant issued in accordance with existing laws or permission from the president or a Union-level government body.

Article 10 states that those who violate Article 8 will be sentenced to between six months and three years in jail and fined between 300,000 kyats ($190) and 1.5 million kyats ($950).

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.