This Week in Parliament (March 12-16)

By The Irrawaddy 17 March 2018

Monday (March 12)

U T Khun Myat, deputy speaker of the Lower House, submitted a report on the Myanmar parliamentary delegation to the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in October 2017. The IPU Assembly “urges the global parliamentary community to take concrete steps to put an end to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya from Rakhine state, and to end further human rights violations.” U T Khun Myat said that the Myanmar delegation raised objection to the resolution and responded to accusations of ‘ethnic cleansing.’

Tuesday (March 13)

In the Lower House, the defense ministry refused to hand over to farmers more than 100 acres of land it confiscated in Shan State’s Kyethi Township in the 1990s, citing security reasons and farmers’ lack of ownership documents.

In the Upper House, six lawmakers discussed the bill amending the Anti-Corruption Law. Khun Win Thaung of Kachin State Constituency (11) called for rewriting the law, saying that corruption is still rampant in the country despite the fact that the law came into effect in 2013. More lawmakers are set to debate the bill on March 20.

Wednesday (March 14)

In the Lower House, Dr. Maung Thin of Meiktila Township urged the government to explain in detail the repatriation of Muslim refugees from Bangladesh. Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung replied that Myanmar and Bangladesh signed the ‘Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State’ on Nov. 23, 2017, and that the repatriation process would be carried out according to the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law and 1993 agreement between the two countries.

In the Upper House, lawmaker U Kyaw Htwe of Yangon Constituency (8) asked about private banks and Vice Governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar U Soe Thane replied that there are currently 24 private banks in the country. The Central Bank of Myanmar is considering the applications of five new private banks and has suspended accepting new applications.

Thursday (March 15)

In Union Parliament, lawmakers discussed the report on the Myanmar parliamentary delegation to the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in October 2017. Dr. Than Win of Mandalay Constituency (1) said that an IPU resolution to urge governments to put diplomatic pressure on Myanmar exaggerates the issue and does not solve the problem.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications sought approval from Parliament for a 56.622 billion yen ($536 million) loan from Japan to upgrade the country’s rail system.

Friday (March 16)

Four lawmakers discussed the report of the Government’s Guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings Vetting Committee in the Lower House, which agreed that there is a need for greater checks and balances to make sure government-funded projects meet standards and deliver value to the public