This Week in Parliament (June 26 – June 30)

By The Irrawaddy 1 July 2017

Monday (June 26)

In the Lower House, Daw Nan Kham Aye of Namtu Township asked the Union government to share five percent of the profits of the China-backed Shwe natural gas pipeline for the development of Shan State. Deputy Minister of Electricity and Energy Dr. Tun Lwin replied that State-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) has invested in the project through Chinese loans and is still paying the loans, and therefore has not received profits.

The Lower House recorded the proposal of Nyaungshwe (Yawnghwe) Township lawmaker U Win Myint Oo which urged the Union government to adopt inclusive plans for the sustainability of Inle Lake, which is a landmark in Shan State.

In the Upper House, in response to a question by Dr. Kyaw Than Htun of Mandalay Constituency (3) about Myanmar traditional herbal medicines sold across the country, Health Minister Dr. Myint Htwe replied that his ministry would standardize the botanical names of herbs and raw materials used in making traditional medicines to ensure their safety and effectiveness.

Tuesday (June 27)

Dekkhinathiri Township lawmaker U Thant Zin Tun asked the Lower House if the Naypyidaw Development Committee would take back inactive lands earmarked for projects and implement new villages and wards on them. Naypyidaw Council member U Aung Myin Tun replied that the council currently had no plans to build new wards or villages.

Tanai lawmaker U Lin Lin Oo urged the Myanmar Army to stop blocking commodities from being transported to his township in Kachin State. Deputy Defense Minister Maj-Gen Myint Nwe explained that more rice and fuel were being sent into Tanai than necessary, and that the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) was receiving the surplus and benefitting from imposing taxes on rice and fuel shipments.

In the Upper House, lawmaker Dr. Zaw Lin Htut of Mon State Constituency (9) asked what services and medicines the Ministry of Health and Sports were providing free of charge to people. Minister for Health and Sports Dr. Myint Htwe replied that while his ministry was providing free medicines depending on the budget, it was also implementing a national health plan (2017-2021) which aimed to provide basic health care services for citizens at a low cost across the country by the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Wednesday (June 28)

In Union Parliament, lawmakers urged the government to re-consider loans obtained from China because of the high interest rates involved. According to the mid-term debt management strategy report submitted by the Ministry of National Planning and Finance to the legislature, Myanmar owes a total of US$9 billion, of which 44 percent is obtained from China. The interest rate of China’s loans is also the highest at 4.5 percent. Lawmakers urged the government to negotiate with the Chinese government to reduce the interest.

Thursday (June 29)

In the Lower House, lawmaker U Hla Htay Win urged the government to firmly reject a UN fact-finding mission and use of the word ‘Rohingya.’ Deputy Foreign Minister U Kyaw Tin replied that the Myanmar representative dissociated Myanmar from the UN resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in March, in which it was decided that a fact-finding mission would be sent to investigate human rights violations in Rakhine State and elsewhere throughout Myanmar, and that countries like India and China also disagreed with the resolution.

The Lower House also approved the proposal of Waw Township lawmaker U Tin Htwe to draw sports calendars at high schools, universities and colleges for the development of Myanmar’s sports.

In the Upper House, Dr. Khun Thaung Win of Kachin State Constituency (11) asked about the government’s plans for the building and land where the national convention was held to draft the 2008 Constitution in Nyaungnabin in Yangon’s Hlegu Township. Deputy Construction Minister U Kyaw Lin replied that an industrial area, a research and development center, industrial training school, and residential and business buildings would be implemented on those lands.

Friday (June 30)

The Lower House recorded the proposal of Gangaw Township lawmaker Daw Yin Min Hlaing to introduce reforms to nursing for the improvement of health care service delivery.

In the Upper House, U Ye Htut of Sagaing Constituency (5) asked if the government would provide land rent and crop compensation for farmers who refused to accept compensation after their farmlands were fenced in by China’s Wanbao Co. at the Letpadaung Copper Mine. Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation U Ohn Win said that the Sagaing Division government collected the name lists of farmers who refused to accept compensation and would closely supervise the Chinese company to see that compensation is provided as soon as possible.