Parliament

This Week in Parliament

By The Irrawaddy 22 February 2020

As the Union Parliament discussed findings from the Joint Public Accounts Committee on the report by the Union Auditor-General’s Office for the period from April to September 2018, military lawmakers urged the government to improve its accountability and not to waste public funds.

Colonel Naing Oo objected to National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmaker U Hla Hsan’s claim that the ministers for defense, home affairs and border affairs – which are controlled by Myanmar’s military – worked with minimum effort just to maintain their positions.

The NLD’s U Than Soe said state-run enterprises, that used around 20 percent of the Union budget, were making losses while 21 businesses that operate in partnership with ministries were not making a profit at all.

Tuesday (Feb. 18)

The Judicial and Legal Affairs Committee submitted a bill to amend the Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens, suggesting bail be granted for offenses under the law. Committee chairman U Tin Htwe said amendments were necessary because the law, which is intended to protect citizens, was being increasingly abused to target individuals.

Athan, an advocacy group for freedom of expression, said more than 100 individuals had been prosecuted under the law since March 2017.

Wednesday (Feb. 19)

The Union Parliament approved President U Win Myint’s proposal to obtain US$113 million (164 billion kyats) from South Korea to enable the Ministry of Electricity and Energy to replace the Magwe-Shwedaung gas pipeline.

Thursday (Feb. 20)

The Lower House voted to approve an amendment to electoral law to require military personnel and their relatives to vote outside military barracks. The voting was 257 in favor and 125 against with three abstentions.

Friday (Feb. 21)

The Union Parliament announced that the debate on amendment bills to the 2008 Constitution would begin on Feb. 25. A total of 149 lawmakers — 50 each from the military and the NLD, and 49 from ethnic parties — are allowed to take part in the debate with each lawmaker given eight minutes to present their argument.

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