Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Military MPs providing check and balance on committees

Military representatives have been nominated for positions in all parliamentary committees so far, and MPs have welcomed their participation.

“We can share our opinions if committees included representatives from different parties. We can discuss more about the army when military representatives are included. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of representatives from the winning party as well,” said U Sai Thiha Kyaw from the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, a member of the Pyithu Hluttaw Public Accounts Committee that was appointed last week.

The military appointments under the NLD are a departure from the previous system under the Union Solidarity and Development Party majority where military MPs had only observer status. Analysts have suggested the shift is part of the NLD’s broader move to foster stronger ties with the military.

The nominees for the Bill Committee and Public Accounts Committee for both houses were approved on February 5. U Tun Aung, also known as U Tun Tun Hein, will serve as chair of the Pyithu Hluttaw Bill Committee with U Steven serving as secretary. U Zaw Min and U Myat Nyan Soe will fulfil these positions for the Amyotha Hluttaw.

“We participated in this committee in the previous hluttaw and it is good to participate once again. We will co-operate,” said U Ba Shein of the Arakan National Party, a member of the Pyithu Hluttaw Bill Committee.

Military representative Brigadier General Maung Maung was also appointed to the committee. Today, parliament will consider approving two more committees, the Hluttaw Rights Committees and the Government’s Guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings Vetting Committee.

According to the submitted list, deputy speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw U T Khun Myat, a USDP member thought to be associated with drug trafficking – allegations he denies – is nominated as chair of the Pyithu Hluttaw Rights Committee and U Hla Moe, an NLD incumbent for Aung Myay Tharzan township in Mandalay Region, is being considered as secretary.

Amyotha deputy Speaker U Aye Thar Aung of the Arakan National Party was put forward for the chair position of the house’s Rights Committee and U Min Oo, NLD representative for Bago Region constituency 6, for the position of secretary.

Nominees from the USDP have also been put forward for the Scrutiny Committee for the Government’s Guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings Vetting Committee. The NLD promised to form “inclusive” committees and not take all leadership roles despite winning November’s elections by a landslide.

Translation by Emoon and San Lay