Govt, MPs set for another showdown
MPs have slammed the presi-dent or reusing to sign theRegion/State Hluttaw Bill2013 on the grounds that it isunconstitutional.The government publisheda press release in state news-papers on August 8 outliningnine changes the president hadproposed to the drat originally approved by the PyidaungsuHluttaw in February. However,MPs rejected all o the proposedchanges.In a message to PyidaungsuHluttaw Speaker Thura U ShweMann, the president asked himto take “necessary measures” assome sections were not “in ac-cord with the constitution, theexisting laws and main demo-cratic practices” and thereore“cannot be signed by the presi-dent”.However, under the con-stitution, all bills approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw be-come law within seven daysregardless o whether the presi-dent signs them. It appears like-ly the Region/State Hluttaw Bill2013 will be sent to the Constitu-tional Tribunal or assessment.MPs said the government’sreaction showed it did not wantto cooperate with MPs or thegood o the country.“This law was drated partic-ularly to improve joint eorts be-tween MPs and governments onimportant issues. In reality, gov-ernment ocials do not dare tocooperate with MPs because theconstitution states they shouldnot participate in political activi-ties,” said Daw Nan Whar Nu, thePyithu Hluttaw representativeor Kunhein, in reerence to sec-tion 9(e) o the bill.“The president did not signthe points that were particularly intended to support the inter-ests o the public and country through cooperation betweenMPs and the government. Itmeans he is not willing to coop-erate,” she said. Another point o contentionis section 2(h), which desig-nates region or state hluttaw committees as state-level or-ganisations. A similar disputeover the status o PyidaungsuHluttaw committees led to theimpeachment o the Constitu-tional Tribunal last year.U Thein Nyunt, the PyithuHluttaw representative or Thin-gangyun, said the press release was “not unusual”, as the govern-ment had issued a similar state-ment over its unhappiness withthe Pyithu Hluttaw Law and Amyotha Hluttaw Law.“I don’t want to say anythingabout it because this is the presi-dent’s right under the constitu-tion. But under constitution sec-tion 106, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw can approve the bill withoutaccepting the president’s recom-mendations and the bill will still become law whether [or not] thepresident signs it,” he said.U Ye Tun, the Pyithu Hluttaw representative or Hsipaw, saidhe was certain the matter wouldend up beore the ConstitutionalTribunal.“The constitution is not clearon some issues and it appearsthe president’s advisory teamgives him advice on matters where there is a lack o clarity,”he said. “We have to wait to seehow the Constitutional Tribunal will respond to the statementrom the President’s Oce.“It is concerning that theConstitutional Tribunal may have to decide on every law thatis passed by the parliament.”But while there are clear divi-sions between the governmentand the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, itappears the president is not go-ing to block every contentious bill. On August 9, the govern-ment issued a similar statementexpressing its objections to the Anti-Corruption Bill, which waspassed by parliament last monthater MPs rejected 10 o thepresident’s 12 proposed amend-ments.He warned that the bill didnot properly defne corruptionand mostly targets bribery. “The bill needs to cover wide-rangingsubjects as corruption includesabuse o power, bribery and de-liberate negligence,” he said. As a result, the president warned the law may not meetthe criteria or anti-corruptionlegislation set by the United Na-tions Convention Against Cor-ruption (UNCAC), which thegovernment ratifed in Decem- ber 2012.“Despite the above-men-tioned circumstances,” the presi-dent said in the statement. “Isigned the bill approved by themajority o MPs with respect tothe wish o the majority.”–
d by Zar Zar Soe
‘It is concerning that theConstitutionalTribunal may have to decide onevery law that is passed by the parliament.’
U Ye Tun
Pyithu Hluttaw representative
Monks demonstrate overmedia, U Wirathu bombing
HUNDREDS o monks in Man-dalay staged an illegal demon-stration last week, calling or“airer” treatment in the inter-national media and an end toterrorist acts.Sayadaw U Tilawka romMingun Monastery said the August 6 protest was organisedin response to
magazine’sJuly 1 “Face o Buddhist Terror”cover and the detonating o a bomb near where U Wirathu was giving a sermon on July 21.“We are not just protestingon behal o Buddhism. We areagainst terrorism all around the world,” U Tilawka said.Carrying banners with pho-tos o
journalist HannahBeech and messages such as,“The New York Time magazinemust apologize to Theravada Buddhist monks in public,” themonks walked rom U Pesi Pa-goda in Maha Aung Myay town-ship to Mahamuni Pagoda. Themarch took about one hourand the monks then dispersedpeaceully. While the monks applied orpermission to stage the rally,their application was rejected by local authorities on the groundsthat the government had al-ready expressed its unhappi-ness with the
article andthereore the protest was notneeded. About 500 monks wentahead and protested anyway.“We asked permission butthe authorities in Maha AungMyay township did not allow it.However, we already decided todemonstrate and made arrange-ments or it so we marched[anyway],” U Tilawka said.Beore the protest began,Mandalay district administra-tor U Tin Zaw Moe explained tothe monks why the applicationhad been rejected. “We are justrequesting [that you do not pro-test] but it is up to you whether you protest or not. I am araidthat it would create more prob-lems i you do it without permis-sion,” U Tin Zaw Moe said.
Monks demonstrate on Mandalay’s 38th Street on August 6.
Photo: Phyo Wai Kyaw
PHYO WAI KYAW
HLAING KYAW SOE