The Irrawaddy

This Week in Parliament (Feb. 19-23)

Monday (Feb. 19)

Upper House lawmaker U Myat Nyana Soe submitted draft amendments to the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law. The new provisions would require protest organizers to inform authorities of the estimated cost of their event and to identify the person or organization paying for it.

Tuesday (Feb. 20)

Seventeen Lower House lawmakers discussed a motion calling for the union government to adopt transparent long- and short-term projects designed to ensure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of northern Rakhine State and to fulfill the needs of local people to lead secure lives. The motion was submitted by lawmaker U Aung Thaung Shwe, of Rakhine’s Buthidaung Township.

A representative of Myanmar’s military said security forces were also troubled by the Arakan Army, accusing it of being unpatriotic and of launching an armed struggle to disrupt the peace process.

Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Win Myat Aye added that it was necessary to handle the situation in Rakhine State cautiously and with foresight. He said the government’s actions in Rakhine State were meeting the locals’ needs and desires.

The motion was added to the record.

Wednesday (Feb. 21)

Upper House lawmaker Siang Awi asked the union government when it would release its figures on the country’s ethnic makeup. Union Minister for Population and Immigration U Thein Swe said the figures would be released after further negotiations and consultations with ethnic community leaders and representatives, historians, anthropologists and cultural experts in order to finalize the terminology and classifications of the ethnic groups.

Thursday (Feb. 22)

Parliament approved a proposal from the president to borrow 14.95 billion yen ($140 million) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung said would be used to issue loans to small and medium enterprises.

During the same session, Union Minister U Kyaw Lin sought approval for the president’s proposal to borrow 15 billion yen to develop housing for low-income families.

Friday (Feb. 23)

The Upper House Bill Committee advised replacing the phrase “the schedule for peaceful procession” with “the complete schedule for peaceful procession” in the Peaceful Assembly Law and the phrase “money or materials with a motive to damage the interest of public morality or to do so knowing of such damage to the interest” with “money or materials with the motive to damage the interest of public morality.” The committee recommended approval of the bill.

Translated from Burmese by Myint Win Thein.