This Week in Parliament

By The Irrawaddy 15 September 2018

Monday (Sept. 10)

In the Union Parliament, Union Education Minister Dr. Myo Thein Gyi said his ministry would build around 44,000 school buildings and appoint 84,000 teachers at basic education schools over the next five years.

In the Lower House, lawmaker Sai Thant Zin of Hsipaw Township called for the suspension of a 280-megawatt hydropower project on the Myitnge River some 20 miles to the south of Shan State’s Kyaukme Township, citing public opposition.

Tuesday (Sept. 11)

The Union Parliament approved the national planning bill for fiscal 2018-19.

Parliament voted in favor of a proposal of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation to provide an additional 14 billion kyats for the implementation of the Myit Tha Reservoir project in Gangaw Township, Magwe Region, over the opposition of some lawmakers.

The cost of the project was estimated to be around 55 billion kyats when it was proposed in fiscal 2002-03. However, around 300 billion kyats have been spent on the project so far, which lawmakers pointed out is against financial rules and regulations.

Wednesday (Sept. 12)

While discussing the report of the Parliament Rights Committee in the Lower House, lawmaker U Pe Than of the Arakan National Party complained about the condition of the rooms provided for lawmakers at the municipal guesthouse in Naypyitaw. According to lawmakers, they have to pay 100,000 kyats a month to lodge there.

“Respected persons,” said U Pe Than, referring to the legislators, “should not be accommodated at a municipal guesthouse for a long time as if they were orphans.”

In the Upper House, Deputy Home Affairs Minister Major-General Aung Thu admitted that his ministry has not done enough to control smuggling of illicit drug precursors into the country.

Thursday (Sept. 13)

The Union Parliament approved the budget for fiscal 2018-19 starting Oct. 1 after slashing around 230 billion kyats from the initial 25-trillion-kyat proposal.

Lawmakers discussed the draft taxation law for 2018-19 fiscal year, calling on the government to reduce tariffs on vehicle imports and re-impose taxes on diamonds, emeralds and gold bars.

Friday (Sept. 14)

In the Union Parliament, lawmakers continued their debate on the president’s proposal to obtain a $298.9-million loan from the Asian Development Bank to be used to improve the electricity network in seven of the country’s states and regions.

The loan will be used to fund a six-year project (2019-2025) to be implemented in Yangon, Irrawaddy, Tanintharyi and Bago regions and Mon, Karen and Rakhine states.