Friday, September 22, 2017

Bringing parliament to the people

Nay Pyi Taw’s halls of power have never been closer, thanks to a new app from the Open Myanmar Initiative.

The lower house of parliament gathers for a session. Photo: StaffThe lower house of parliament gathers for a session. Photo: Staff

The Myanmar MPs app, available now on android in Myanmar language, allows citizens to search for the contact details for members of parliament.

While the app’s official debut was on June 24, the team behind Myanmar MP say building the app to its full potential will be an ongoing process.

“Currently, we have 12 representative’s facebooks” and have requested contact information for 50 others, said U Soe Thiha Naung, head of the tech development team at OMI.

As U Soe Thiha Naung explained, MPs would only be included in the app’s catalogue of Facebook profiles and email addresses if they

volunteered their information. Speaking to The Myanmar Times last week, U Soe Thiha Naung said he was optimistic that OMI would eventually have all 664 total members of parliament.

OMI also confirmed that they would be releasing both an English-language version and iOS compatable versions later this year.

Possibly looking towards the elections next year, some MPs are already enthusiastic, “If the public send questions and ideas to me by email, phone and Facebook, I am ready to reply to their questions and ideas immediately,” said U Aung Zin, representative of Pazundaung constituency.

The Open Myanmar Initiative, or OMI, is a non-profit organisation dedicated to government transparency and freedom of information. Its members include teachers, activists, and former political prisoners.