This Week in Parliament (June 19-23)

By The Irrawaddy 24 June 2017

Monday (June 19)

In the Lower and Upper Houses, lawmakers discussed regional development tasks in their respective constituencies. The Lower House also discussed the issue of land confiscation.

Tuesday (June 20)

Regarding the government’s policy of mid-term debt management until the 2019-20 fiscal year, Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win told the Union Parliament that the government would seek low-interest loans and development policy loans for projects and plans that would support the country’s economic policies. As of December 31, Myanmar was nearly US$9 billion in debt, required to pay back US$100-700 million annually until 2053, according to the minister.

Wednesday (June 21)

Lawmaker Daw Khin Sithu of Loikaw Township lamented in the Lower House that children born to Myanmar citizens illegally working in foreign countries are losing their rights, and asked if the government would grant such children Myanmar citizenship.

Union minister for labor, immigration and population U Thein Swe said that the government would grant such children Myanmar citizenship if birth proof can be submitted. He added that his ministry was adopting plans and strategies to issue birth certificates in these cases.

The Parliament approved the proposal of Lewe Township lawmaker U Myo Zaw Oo which urged the Union government to provide crop insurance for farmers across the country.

In the Upper House, U Kyaw Kyaw of Arakan State Constituency (4) urged the government to release all political prisoners behind bars. Deputy Minister Maj-Gen Aung Soe said the government has still no plan to define the terms “political prisoner” and “political offense.”

Thursday (June 22)

Lower House lawmakers debated Yekyi Township lawmaker U San Shwe Win’s proposal encouraging the Union government to provide universal health coverage for citizens of the country.

In Upper House, regarding the 5 percent taxation on mobile top-ups, Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win said that the government spent 7.455 billion kyats in revenue on the education sector in the 2016-17 fiscal year. The Education Ministry currently provides cash assistance for outstanding graduates and university students with its own funds, and has no plans for the time being to set up a separate fund from mobile top-up taxation to assist impoverished students.

 Friday (June 23)

The Lower House documented Paung Township lawmaker Mi Kon Chan’s proposal urging the Union government to review long-term projects permitted under successive government to determine if they are against the interests of people.

Dr. Kyaw Ngwe of Magwe Constituency (10) asked in the Upper House of Parliament whether the government would increase the meal and uniform allowances for midwives, which currently amounts to less than 100 kyats per month. Union minister for health and sports, Dr. Myint Htwe, said that the Union government had already agreed to increase meal allowances to 20,000 kyats per month and uniform allowances to 20,000 kyats per year.