This Week in Parliament

By The Irrawaddy 15 February 2020

Monday (Feb. 10) 

The Union Parliament approved President U Win Myint’s proposal to appoint the military-selected Lieutenant General Soe Htut as the home affairs minister, succeeding Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, who has reached retirement age. Lt-Gen Soe Htut was previously the chief of military security affairs.

Some military appointees raised objections when the parliamentary Joint Bill Committee proposed merging the military’s constitutional amendment bills with those submitted by the National League for Democracy (NLD) for discussion by Parliament. The NLD has submitted two bills and the military and its allies in the Union Solidarity and Development Party have submitted five.

Tuesday (Feb. 11) 

Lower House member Dr. Sein Mya Aye asked about government measures to prevent a coronavirus outbreak in Myanmar, as the virus has killed more than 1,000 people in neighboring China. The health minister, Dr. Myint Htwe, said there were still no infections in Myanmar and the government had earmarked 300 million kyats (US$207,000) for emergency measures and formed a national-level committee to address the virus.

U Saw Tha Le asked whether the government will return property confiscated under the 1963 Nationalization of Business Law to the rightful owners and heirs who have made claims. The deputy attorney-general of the Attorney-General’s Office U Win Myint said the Defense Ministry had rejected claims because they did not comply with the ministry’s regulations.

Wednesday (Feb. 12)

Parliament took a day off to mark the 73rd annual Union Day.

Thursday (Feb. 13)

The deputy minister for planning, finance and industry, Dr. Min Ye Hein Paing, said the ministry’s report on tax revenue for the second half of the 2018-19 fiscal year stressed the need for greater efforts to ensure taxes are collected in full. He said the ministry had failed to collect its target amount in stamp and customs duty and land use taxes.

Friday (Feb. 14) 

U Khin Co asked the Lower House about the Thilawa, Kyaukphyu and Dawei special economic zones (SEZ). The deputy commerce minister, U Aung Htoo, said 112 companies from 19 countries had invested US$1.9 billion (2.8 trillion kyats) in the Japanese-backed Thilawa SEZ.

The Kyaukphyu SEZ and port in Rakhine State would be implemented by China International Trust and Investment Company (CITIC) and the Myanmar Kyaukphyu SEZ Consortium Public Co., Ltd, which includes 42 private companies, he said.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is conducting a survey for the Dawei SEZ in Tanintharyi Region, which would be implemented jointly by Myanmar, Japan and Thailand, he said.

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This Week in Parliament