Hundreds o armers rom Yangon, Bago and Ayeyarwady regions protest outside City Hall in downtown Yangon on July 9. The armers were protesting against land grabs by the military and government ministries and what they described as the “ineectiveness”o a parliamentary commission set up to investigate land disputes.
– Noe Noe Aung
Hluttawignorespresidenton CentralBank Law
A PROMINENT MP has accusedhis counterparts o “bullying”ater the Pyidaungsu Hlut-taw rejected both o PresidentU Thein Sein’s recommendedchanges to the Central Bank Law on July 8.Pyithu Hluttaw representa-tive U Kyi Myint o Latha saidthe ailure o the hluttaw to ac-cept one o the president’s rec-ommendations was a “loss orthe public”.“The amendment was cor-rect and should have passed but the hluttaw voted againstit. Now people are saying thatthe hluttaw is bullying” becausethey are all voting together without properly consideringthe issue, said U Kyi Myint, whoseconded the president’s recom-mended change.“I’m not going to complain i MPs all vote or something thatis correct but it is a loss or pub-lic when they vote together likethat on something o which they have a limited understanding.”The president had recom-mended that the wording o sec-tion 27 be changed rom “gen-eral special money” to “generalspecial account”.“I agree with the president’susage because there are someother clauses, such as ‘put inmoney’ or ‘take out money re-peatedly’, in the bill. To do this you need to have an accountand i there an account then asa consequence you can do audit-ting and bookkeeping,” U KyiMyint said.U Kyi Myint said he disagreed with the president’s other recom-mended change, however, which would have seen the phrase “se-quential discount” in section2(n) changed to “discount”.Following parliament’s de-cision on July 8, the law wassigned by President U TheinSein on July 11, a spokespersonor the President’s Oce said.Details o the new legislationhave not yet been published butocials say the central bank will have more autonomy and will no longer operate as part o the Ministry o Finance.“The signicant thing is thatthe central bank will be an in-dependent body,” a central bank ocial said.The main role o the CentralBank o Myanmar up to now,experts say, has been to printmoney to und the government’s budget decit.
– With AFP, translated byThiri Min Htun
NGOs in dilemma over NKorean hostages in Shan State
SOUTH Korean NGOs ace a dilemma over how to rescue 64 North Koreansheld by Myanmar rebels and orced to work on a drug arm, an activist saidlast week.The North Koreans have beentaken to a rebel camp northeast o Tachileik, a town along the border be-tween Myanmar and Thailand, overthe past nine years, Pastor Kim Hee-Tae said.The reugees were caught whileattempting to travel on their ownthrough rebel-held territory to Thai-land in order to deect to South Korea ater feeing their poverty-strickenhomeland.“We’re in a great dilemma over how to rescue them,” Mr Kim said, addingthe rebels are asking or US$5000 ran-som or each o the hostages.He said NGOs are unable to launcha campaign to raise the money orto ask or Seoul to intervene as thehostage-takers were extremely public-ity shy.“We need very quiet negotiations topull it through,” he said. About 80 percent o the NorthKoreans are women and are orcedto work at alcohol manuacturing ordrug processing plants. “Some o themare orced into prostitution,” he said.Male captives are used to grow poppies. A South Korean oreign ministry ocial said the ministry was investi-gating the case.Myanmar is the world’s secondlargest producer o opium – theraw ingredient or heroin – ater Aghanistan, accounting or 10pc o global production, according to UN data.Since the end o the Korean War in1953, some 25,000 North Korean reu-gees have escaped and settled in theSouth.Most begin their journey by cross-ing into China, where they ace repa-triation i caught.They then try to reach a secondcountry, with Thailand the most popu-lar choice, rom where they generally seek permission to resettle in SouthKorea.Those who are caught and de-ported back to the North ace severepunishment, including being sent to a labour camp, rights groups say.
MPs slam governmentfor delaying on land grabs
THE head o a parliamentary com-mission investigating land disputeslast week called on the government tospeed up implementation o the com-mission’s recommendations on landconscations.U Tin Htut, the representative orZalun, submitted the proposal to thePyidaungsu Hluttaw on July 8.“This proposal does not mean thatthe ministries and departmental or-ganisations are not paying attention toland seizure issues,” U Tin Htut said.The aim, he said, is to make surethe government is aware that armershave high expectations that the gov-ernment will act to compensate themor their losses.During the discussion on July 12and 13, many MPs expressed supportor the proposal.“I the authorities are slow toresolve the cases examined by thecommission then they might inviteunnecessary problems,” warned U Win Myint, the Pyithu Hluttaw repre-sentative or Pathein.He said that although the recom-mendations have been submitted tothe relevant government bodies arm-ers are still suering and unrest isincreasing.“This is the direct result o the dis-obedience o these bodies, which aredelaying their tasks,” he said.“The local authorities have toundertake [the commission’s recom-mendations] i they are approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.”He also urged the government toensure the process o returning theland was not used or political gain.“When armland is given back the local authorities should directly transer it to the original owners andnot transer it through particular or-ganisations or political reasons. Wecan understand that the authoritiesare taking some time to make surethe disputes are resolved correctly but we need to be careul to makesure the delays are not political,” hesaid.U Win Myint was one o 14 MPs who discussed the commission’s ac-tivities on July 11, while another eightdebated it on July 12. The remaining23 MPs will give their thoughts onJuly 15 and 16.The investigation commission sub-mitted two reports to the PyidaungsuHluttaw earlier this year, with oneocusing on military seizures and an-other on conscations or industrialzones and urban development.The reports detail the commis-sion’s eorts to negotiate compensa-tion or the original owners o cons-cated land, a process that U Tin Htutsaid was ongoing.“The commission will completeurther negotiations or compensa-tions … between armers and author-ised companies,” he said.The reports also acknowledgedthat “some persons or organisations”are “exploiting these land seizuresor personal or political gains by re-leasing the pent-up rustration o thearmers”.“The commission knows thatthere are people exploiting armers by asking or money to help them with these land issues,” he said.
– Translated by Zar Zar Soe
MPs say delays in implementing land dispute investigation commission’s recommendations are uelling unrest
‘[The unrest] is a direct result of thedisobedience of [government] bodies, which are delaying their tasks.’
U Win Myint
Pyithu Hluttaw representative for Pathein
WIN KO KO LATT
SOE THAN LYNN
SOE THAN LYNN
PHOTO: AUNG HTAY HLAING