President Proposes New Ministries To Better Oversee Domestic and Foreign Affairs

By Tin Htet Paing 20 November 2017

YANGON — A presidential proposal to establish two new government ministries was submitted to the Union Parliament on Monday, a move that would raise the number of ministries to 24.

The two additional ministries proposed by President U Htin Kyaw were a Government’s Office and a Ministry of International Cooperation, which would be overseen by National Security Advisor U Thaung Tun and Deputy Foreign Minister U Kyaw Tin, respectively.

Lawmakers will discuss the proposal and seek parliamentary approval on Thursday. No additional government staff will be employed for the two additional ministries. Instead they will be staffed with existing officials currently assigned to the Union government and the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s International Organizations and Economic Department.

The move aims to allow the government to better manage domestic administration and international affairs, Union Attorney General U Htun Htun Oo told Parliament on Monday.

While State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is also foreign affairs minister, has been overseeing diplomatic affairs, the newly proposed international cooperation minister would administer affairs related to international organizations from an economic viewpoint, in addition to the usual political perspective, U Htun Htun Oo said.

Meanwhile, another presidential proposal to replace the existing commissioners of Myanmar’s anti-corruption body, which was formed under the previous U Thein Sein government was also submitted to Parliament on Monday. The anti-corruption commission mandated by the anti-graft law was formed in March 2014.

The proposal named former information minister U Aung Kyi, who is currently in charge of the government’s peace commission, to replace existing chair U Mya Win. U Aung Kyi has served in the military and government administration for more than 50 years.

Former police chief Maj-Gen Zaw Win, who retired from the force in May this year, was also proposed as a commission member. Other proposed members include retired officials of the Attorney-General’s Office and Special Investigation Bureau and legal experts.

According to unconfirmed sources, the government also plans to split the Ministry of Electricity and Energy into two ministries to be led by one minister each. Under the previous U Thein Sein government, Myanmar had 36 ministries.

Htet Naing Zaw contributed to this report from Naypyitaw.