News

This Week in Parliament (August 14-18)

By The Irrawaddy 19 August 2017

Monday (August 14)

In the Lower House, in response to a question by Dr. U Saw Naing of South Okkalapa Township, Deputy Minister for Education U Win Maw Tun replied that his ministry, in accordance with the national education strategy (2016-2021), will provide greater access to free compulsory primary education for children across the country depending on the funds available in the years to come.

The Lower House also approved the proposal of Tanai Township lawmaker U Lin Lin Oo, urging the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation and the Kachin State government to confront illegal gold and amber mining in the Kachin townships of Tanai and Hpakant.

During the discussion, military parliamentary representatives defended the army’s planned operations targeted at gold and amber mines operated by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

In the Upper House, in response to a question by U Khin Maung Latt of Arakan State (3) about two missing villagers in Rathedaung Township, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Maj-Gen Aung Soe, replied that the Tatmadaw, border police and local police force have stepped up clearance operations in the Mayu mountain range.

The Upper House approved a proposal by U Aung Thein of Bago (12) urging the Union government to take legal action against gambling centers operating disguised as amusement centers in major towns across Myanmar.

Tuesday (August 15)

There was no parliamentary session on Tuesday.

Wednesday (August 16)

In response to a question from Salingyi Township lawmaker U Win Thein Zaw, Deputy Defense Minister Maj-Gen Myint Nwe replied that his ministry had no plans to relocate the controversial sulfuric acid factory in the township. The factory supplies acid for the China-backed Letpadaung copper mines.

The Lower House approved a consideration of the proposal of Paung Township lawmaker Daw Mi Kon Chan to abolish community-based rural electrification committees, formed under previous governments to help villages generate electricity on a self-reliant basis, after she claimed that there have been many cases of committee members misappropriating funds raised for supplying electricity.

In the Upper House, lawmakers discussed the proposal of Arakan National Party MP U Khin Maung Latt which urged the Union government to identify and take action against militants active in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships under the 2014 Counter-Terrorism Law.

State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been holding talks with military leaders about whether to label the militants in northern Rakhine State as “terrorists,” according to government spokesperson U Zaw Htay.

The Upper House approved amendments to 1993 Narcotic and Psychotropic Substance Law. The amendments include replacement of jail sentence with 240 to 360 hours of community service.

Thursday (August 17)

There was no parliamentary session on Thursday.

Friday (August 18)

In the Lower House, Loikaw Township lawmaker Daw Khin Sithu asked if the government would find alternative sources of livelihoods for poppy growers as a national duty concerning drug elimination in the country. Deputy Home Affairs Minister Maj-Gen Aung Soe said that a pilot project to provide alternative sources of livelihoods for poppy growers is being implemented until 2020 in the Pa’O Self-Administered Zone. He added that social and economic development projects will be carried out in states as part of a national development plan to help poppy growers find other sources of income.

The Lower House approved consideration of a proposal from Daw Khin Saw Wai of Rathedaung Township which urged the Union government to implement better administrative and security measures in northern Rakhine State in response to killings in the area.

In the Upper House, lawmakers continued their debate on U Khin Maung Latt’s proposal which urged the Union government to identify and take action against militants active in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships under the 2014 Counter-Terrorism Law.

The Upper House also approved the bill amending the Telecommunications Law, which allows for bail to be granted for the defendant.

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