Thursday, September 21, 2017

Medical association vote delayed until September: CEO

Myanmar Medical Association members will not know until next month when they will get the chance to vote on a controversial plan to lease the association’s Yangon headquarters.

The vote was originally scheduled for July 13 but was delayed because there was not enough time to prepare, central executive committee officials said.

They will be asked to decide whether the association should lease its Mingalar Taung Nyunt headquarters to a foreign property developer, a move advocates say is needed to generate income for the association’s activities.

However, not all members will have the right to vote. Each of the 88 association branches across the country will select one or two delegates to take part who will then vote on their behalf.

Association general secretary Dr Myint Thaung said the new date for the vote would be set at a central executive committee meeting in the second week of August.

“We hope we can hold the vote shortly after August but we have not confirmed the exact date yet,” he said.

“We are not able to collect votes from all members, of which there are more than 18,000. Instead, representatives will be elected by the members of each branch.”

He said there was nothing untoward in the decision not to take the vote on July 13.

“We delayed the original plan because we want all representatives across the country to have a chance to take part so the vote will be fair. We decided more time was needed,” Dr Myint Thaung said. “It is not because some members are against our plan.”

The issue has divided the association, with members opposed to the plan forming a temporary Land and Building Protection Committee. It has threatened to launch legal action to stop any property deal for the headquarters from going ahead.

Committee president Dr Aung Khin Sint said the group would wait to see the result of the vote before deciding whether to head to the courts.

“We will look at how transparent the voting process is and will proceed based on the result,” he said.

Some members said they were concerned that the voting system would allow the central executive committee to control the result and called for all members to be given the chance to vote.

“The representatives are chosen by them and it’s not transparent,” said Dr Maung Maung Soe, who is a member of the Land and Building Protection Committee.

Dr Myint Thaung rejected these concerns.

“The members say they want us to vote so we organised it and then they said they are against the vote. We don’t really understand what they want,” he said, adding that the central executive committee did not recognise the Land and Building Protection Committee because it had not been formed according to the association’s rules.

The central executive committee says it wants to use the additional revenue that the deal would bring to conduct research, sponsor doctors for further study, improve association facilities for members and expand its public health activities.