This Week in Parliament

By The Irrawaddy 8 February 2020

Monday (Feb. 3) 

In the Upper House, Dr. Sai Seng Kyauk Sam asked if the government has a plan to return the site of Kengtung Haw—the residence of Kengtung Saopha (the feudal Shan ruler)—to the rightful heir. The residence has been leased out on 70-year contracts for businesses to operate hotels.

Deputy Minister for Hotels and Tourism U Tin Latt said his ministry would consider returning it to the heir when the contracts expire. The haws, together with residences of other Shan Saophas, were confiscated by the military regime during the time of military dictator U Ne Win.

Tuesday (Feb. 4) 

In the Union Parliament, Deputy Electricity and Energy Minister U Maung Maung Win presented the President’s proposal to obtain a US$113 million loan at an interest rate of 0.01 percent from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund of the Korean government in order to replace old gas pipelines in Magwe and Bago regions with new pipelines.

Wednesday (Feb. 5)

In the Lower House, lawmaker U Sai Tun Aye of Mong Hsu Township asked a question about how the arms law is being exercised in Shan State. In response, Deputy Home Affairs Minister Major General Aung Thu said the Myanmar police force is designing a new arms law that will take effect across the country.

There are three existing laws in Myanmar regarding weapons—the Arms Act 1878, which is an Indian act, the Arms Act (Temporary Amendment) 1951 and the Arms Emergency Punishment Temporary Act 1949.

In the Upper House, lawmaker U Hla Oo of Sagaing Constituency 4 asked whether the government has plans to provide training for school canteens and roadside eateries to ensure the safety of foods they sell and to require them to undergo training by refusing to issue licenses unless they undergo training. Deputy Minister for Health and Sports Dr. Mya Lay Sein replied that her ministry still needs the cooperation of other relevant agencies to be able to do so.

Thursday (Feb. 6)

Union Parliament Speaker U T Khun Myat announced that President U Win Myint has proposed appointing Chief of Military Security Affairs Lieutenant-General Soe Htut as the new home affairs minister. He will succeed Lieutenant General Kyaw Swe, who is retiring as he has reached the retirement age for civil servants.

As the National Education Policy Commission submitted its report on its activities from April to October last year, Rathedaung Township lawmaker Daw Khin Saw Wai called for adopting a sensible policy for the schooling of children living at internally displaced person (IDP) camps. She stressed the need to conduct fieldwork in designing the policy.

Upper House lawmaker Daw Htoot May of Rakhine Constituency 11 also called on the Education Ministry to reduce centralization and support autonomy in universities and colleges. Upper House lawmaker Cin Khan Pau of Chin State Constituency 6 also called for a change in the education policy to support teaching ethnic languages from primary school to university. Currently, ethnic languages are only taught at primary school level.

Friday (Feb. 7) 

In the Upper House, lawmaker U Tun Tun Oo of Mandalay Region Constituency 2 complained that many phone subscribers have reported telecom operators charging money from their top-up credit for services the customers did not purchase. He asked if the government has any plan to effectively stop telecom operators from doing so. Deputy Minister for Transport and Communications U Tha Oo said that in these cases, complaints can be filed with the Consumer Affairs Department and the Posts and Telecommunications Department, and that action will be taken against the companies in line with communications and consumer protection laws.

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This Week in Parliament