Election commission pusheshluttaw to decide on ‘recall’ bill
THE Union Election Commission hasasked Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann to resume discussionon a proposed bill that would giveconstituents the chance to removetheir parliamentary representative.The Pyithu Hluttaw decided on August 23 to suspend discussiono the bill until the end o the year, when a recently ormed constitu-tional review committee is expectedto nish its work.The decision came at the end o a heated debate between elected rep-resentatives, who said the bill wouldmake it too easy or constituents toremove an MP, and military MPs, who argue that to not pass the law isunconstitutional.The bill, proposed by the commis-sion last August, could result in MPs being unseated i a mere 1 percent o voters in their constituency opposedthem, as specied in section 396(b)o the constitution. A similar provi-sion was included in the 1947 and1974 constitutions.But MPs told
The Myanmar Times
last week that the electioncommission has written to Thura U Shwe Mann and said it believesthat the debate should continue. Itargues that just as all citizens havethe right to vote or their choice o representative, they also have theright to “recall” their elected repre-sentative under section 369(b) o theconstitution.During the debate on August23, Pyithu Hluttaw Bill Committeemember U Soe Moe Aung said thecommittee believed that section396(b) o the constitution and sec-tion 10(j) o the Union Election Com-mission Law should be reconsidered.“The committee ound that x-ing a minimum o 1pc o the original voters is a negative rather than posi-tive approach or a country practis-ing parliamentary democracy,” hesaid.In other democracies, the barrieror recall is much higher. Accordingto the report, in the US state o Cali-ornia a recall vote requires action by a minimum o 12pc o the voters, while in some other US states it is ashigh as 40pc.Pyithu Hluttaw representative UMaung Toe said that a minimum o 1 percent was too easy to get. “Eve-ry MP knows it is not suitable,” headded.Military MPs disagreed, however, with Colonel Tint San accusing UMaung Toe o violating section 130 o Pyithu Hluttaw Bylaw, which statesthat no one shall break the provi-sions o the constitution. Another military MP, Colonel My-int Ko Ko, said the 1pc was just toinitiate an investigation into the con-duct o an MP.Colonel Myint Tint San said a pro-cess was needed to recall MPs to en-sure there were checks and balanceson the three branches o power. Hesaid the constitution granted parlia-ment the right to impeach memberso the government and judiciary.Representative U Ba Shein saidthe constitutional review commit-tee was likely to propose a higherpercentage o voters sign a peti-tion to initiate the recall processrather than remove the provisioncompletely.
– Translated by Thiri Min Htun
WIN KOKO LATT
THE editor-in-chie o
The Myanmar Times
has dismissed an attempt by major shareholder Dr Tin Tun Oo to wind up its parent company, MyanmarConsolidated Media, as “bizarre”.The winding-up notice was pub-lished in state-run media as a credi-tors’ winding-up.Ross Dunkley, who co-ounded thecompany in 2000 and is also its man-aging director, said it was unclear why Dr Tin Tun Oo would want to shutdown a protable company.However, he conrmed that thecompany’s oreign investors have beenattempting to nd a new partner topurchase Dr Tin Tun Oo’s 51 percentstake, which he acquired in 2005.“What is he asking or? We simply don’t know. The action initiated by his lawyer is strange. We are mystied why Dr Tin Tun Oo would attempt to wind up the company,” Mr Dunkley said.“I can only describe their actions as bizarre.“MCM Ltd has been trading prot-ably or years, so why would this manseek to make a problem or the compa-ny at a time when he knows very wellthat we are attempting to nd a buyerto take his shares?”Mr Dunkley said that i the attemptto close the company is successulabout 350 people would lose their jobs.“I would have thought that coop-eration at this time would yield the best result. I don’t see a rush o en-quiries rom people wanting to part-ner up with him, so why should heinterere with my legitimate attemptsto keep the company stable and a go-ing concern and to protect the wel-are o the 350-odd sta we directly employ here.“This is most peculiar. I just hopeDr Tin Tun Oo comes to his senses andallows this whole thing to progress toits logical conclusion, to a time whenDr Tin Tun Oo has been paid outhandsomely prior to new investors be-ing introduced into the company.“Ater all, he hasn’t done too badly until now.”
– Staf writers
Activist Daw Naw Ohn Hla to appeal sentence
ACTIVIST Daw Naw Ohn Hla plansto appeal a two-year jail term handeddown or organising an illegal protestagainst the Letpadaung copper minein Monywa. She was ound guilty o inciting unrest and sentenced on Au-gust 29 – just three days into the trial– ater reusing to cooperate with theproceedings, her lawyer said.“The trial started on August 27 but the next day she reused to cometo court and the police used orce to bring her there. She did not say any-thing during the trial. On August 29,the judge announced the punishmentor her,” said U Robert San Aung, a member o the Lawyer’s Network whoassisted Daw Naw Ohn Hla.He said he plans to submit an ap-peal against the verdict next month,adding that he was disappointed thatthe judge had allowed undercover in-telligence ofcers to take photos in thecourtroom while the trial was takingplace.“The judge did not stop them romtaking photos even though I don’tthink they should be allowed to do so,”he said.Police arrested Daw Naw Ohn Hla and nine other women during a pro-test on August 13. The nine others were released ater signing a guaran-tee to not reoend.However, Daw Naw Ohn Hla wascharged with incitement under sec-tion 505(b) o the Penal Code.Residents said they believed thesentencing was a warning rom thegovernment to stop their campaignagainst the mine but vowed to contin-ue pushing or an end to the project –and the release o Daw Naw Ohn Hla.“We are conducting a protest cam-paign in the project area to mark thenine-month anniversary o the govern-ment crackdown on us [in November2012]. We also urge them to releaseDaw Naw Ohn Hla. We will continueto push the government until she isreleased,” said U Aung Than Myo o Tone village.On November 29, 2012, police broke up a protest camp with incen-diary smoke grenades in a pre-dawnraid, leaving almost 100 – includingmany monks – injured. Another activist, Ko Han Win Aung, whom police have also accused o in-stigating unrest, said he was not sur-prised by Daw Naw Ohn Hla’s sentence.“We and also Daw Naw Ohn Hla have spent many years in jail. Westand or the interest o the people. We’ll continue to struggle against thisproject.“Police told me they charged her because she called or the amendmento the 2008 constitution,” he said. “It’sunair and the government should notdo this.”
Naw Ohn Hla waits in a police cell during her trial in Monywa.
Photo: Han Win Aung
EI EI TOE LWIN
Commission asks speaker to resume debate on bill that would allow constituents to remove their MP