This Week in Parliament (March 6-10)

By The Irrawaddy 11 March 2017

Monday (March 6)

In the Union Parliament, ministers of labor, immigration and population, construction, defense, transportation and communications, and the Chin State divisional government explained the spending of more than 18 billion kyats from reserve funds of the 2016 Union Budget for natural disasters.
The Joint Bill Committee and Joint Public Accounts Committee submitted their legal assessment report and financial assessment report on the 2017 Union budget draft law.

Tuesday (March 7)

The Lower House voted on a proposal to fix what lawmaker U Tin Htwe described as a corrupt judicial system, in spite of objection from of Burma’s Supreme Court judge U Soe Nyunt. Lawmakers who discussed the proposal suggested adopting a jury system to improve the judiciary.

In the Upper House, lawmakers asked questions about development works in their respective constituencies. Deputy Minister for Electricity and Energy Dr Tun Naing, in response to a question by lawmaker U Kyaw Kyaw of Arakan State (4) Constituency, said 519 million kyats would be spent from the Arakan State government’s 2017-18 budget to connect all the villages in Mrauk-U Township to the national grid.

Wednesday (March 8)

In the Lower House, lawmakers discussed a proposal by U Kyaw Min of Letpadaung Township urging the Union government to adopt a clear land reclamation policy on pastures nationwide. Parliament did not approve the proposal, but Speaker U Win Myint promised that Parliament would monitor the works of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation in that regard.

In the Upper House, lawmakers asked questions related to electricity supply in their respective constituencies.

Thursday (March 9)

In the Lower House, U Tin Ko Ko Oo of Bilin Township asked who would take responsibility for buildings and structures built by tender winners if they do not meet the quality agreed to in the contracts. Union minister for construction U Win Khaing replied that tender winners of state-funded projects had to repair the structures if they sustained damage because of poor workmanship during a warranty period. The government’s quality control team who assesses the quality of the construction would also be held responsible, he said.

In the Upper House, lawmaker U Htay Oo of Rangoon Division (2) asked if the courts would hear the professional testaments of DNA experts at trials, noting that the Burma Police Force had established a department specializing in DNA in Naypyidaw. The chief justice of the Supreme Court replied that courts accepted chemical and medical reports as evidence.

Friday (March 10)

In the Union Parliament, lawmakers discussed the president’s proposal to spend 400 million kyats (US$292,188) from the 2016 Union Budget’s reserve funds on works for the sustainable development of Shan State’s Inle Lake.

Parliament approved the president’s proposal to establish diplomatic ties with Liberia, Vatican City, Guinea, Malta, The Seychelles, and Ecuador.