U Shwe Mann urges patience on reforms
MYANMAR needs to careully consid-er the long-term impact o proposedreorms and ensure it does not make“reckless” mistakes, Pyidaungsu Hlut-taw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann saidlast week during a tour o Shan State.“I we go ahead with our own desire without thinking about the uture, inthe end we can miss the goal,” he saidon September 4 at a public meeting inLaukkai in northern Shan State. While he did not speak specically about constitutional amendments, thespeaker appeared to be addressing eth-nic demands or ederalism.He urged patience and said thatevery country has to develop its ownindividual political structure.“Democratic countries have to exer-cise democracy in a way that matchestheir history and culture. They don’tall practise democracy the same way. At the moment our country is usingthis particular orm at this time buteverything is always changing. We areseeking to amend or change the lawsand bylaws,” he said. “As we are imple-menting democratic reorms we alwaysstudy the existing laws as well.”Thura U Shwe Mann was joined onthe tour by the heads o parliamentary committees and hluttaw representa-tives rom the areas he visited. The aimo the tour was or the speaker to meetresidents and political groups and dis-cuss their needs and priorities or thereorm process.He began the trip with a publicaddress in Taunggyi on September 2 beore proceeding to Kengtung the ol-lowing day. On September 4, he metmembers o the Kokang Sel-adminis-tered Zone’s Leading Body in Laukkai, while another public meeting was heldon September 5 in Lashio. He met a range o political and armed groups,including members o the United Wa State Army.In his meetings the speaker dis-cussed the distribution o more powerto state and region governments andsel-administrated zones and regions, budget allocation, tax income allocationand resource sharing – all issues closely linked to calls or a ederal system.Shan State Minister or Forestry andMines U Sai Aik Paung told
The Myan-mar Times
that during a meeting withThura U Shwe Mann he proposed thatstate and region governments receive50 percent o the budget in 2014-15.“I this happens then transporta-tion, education and health problemscan be resolved and the Union Govern-ment will have less headaches,” said USai Aik Paung, who is also chairman o the Shan Nationalities DevelopmentParty (SNDP) and a member o theShan State Hluttaw.“I think it’s possible or states andregions to get 50pc i the PyidaungsuHluttaw wants it to happen.“I also discussed ederalism withThura U Shwe Mann … He said he ac-cepts ederalism but he explained thatthe system should be appropriate orthe history o the country and shouldstart in phases – maybe it can’t happencompletely at once. We agreed withhim.“Some parts o ederalism – decen-tralisation and power sharing – wehave already gained to some extent.For example, the state government isnow able to directly hire nurses andteachers.”U Sai Paung Nap, an Amyotha Hlut-taw representative who joined withThura U Shwe Mann, said the tourcould bring some “instant benets” orresidents, while ethnic political parties,the Shan State government and leading bodies o sel-administered zones andregions were also encouraged.“Especially in Kunlong and Hopang,residents told him about their difcul-ties and he xed some problems im-mediately as much as he could becauseministers and local authorities werealso present,” U Sai Paung Nap said.“It is expected that the speaker willcontinue his tour to Rakhine State …ater his Shan State trip nishes.”The Pyithu Hluttaw representativeor Kunhing in Shan State, Daw Nan Wah Nu, told
The Myanmar Times
thatlocals welecomed the rankness with which they could speak with Thura U Shwe Mann. “People were never al-lowed to meet directly and discuss is-sues openly with senior ofcials likethis beore,” she said.
– Translated by Zar Zar So
and Thiri Min Htun
NLD to proposechanges to protest law
THE National League or Democracy will propose during the next hluttaw session that section 18 o the Law onPeaceul Assembly and Peaceul Pro-cession be reviewed, party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said last week.Section 18 contains the penalties or violations, such as protests held with-out permission, which include up totwo years’ imprisonment.“One o our NLD representatives will put orward a proposal during thenext session,” she said on August 30.Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said section18 “prohibits citizens’ right to protestpeaceully” and she is condent thatother MPs will agree to review the law.There appears to be at least some bi-partisan support or changes to the law, which was approved in late 2011.In March, the Union Solidarity andDevelopment Party’s Thura U Aung Kosaid provisions in the peaceul protestlaw do not conorm with section 354(a)o the constitution, which gives citizensthe right to reely express their belies.Since the law was enacted, between70 and 100 people have been chargedunder section 18, said U Ye Aung romthe Assistance Association or Politi-cal Prisoners. “We believe there couldalso be more cases that we don’t know about,” he added.Most recently, about 20 people whoprotested or the abolishment o sec-tion 18 in Yangon on August 27 werealso charged under the section.“We demonstrated to abolish sec-tion 18 but we have been charged underthis section,” said protester Ko Kyaw Nay Win.
– Win Ko Ko Latt, translated by Zar Zar Soe
Activists take part in a peace demonstration in Yangon on September 21, 2012.
Photo: Kaung Htet
Thura U Shwe Mann in Laukkai onSeptember 4.
Photo: Supplied/Union Daily
Changes should be considered careully and “reckless” decisions avoided, speaker tells ethnic leaders amid debate over constitutional reorms