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Lack of information, short sessions upset lawmakers


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The latest round of Parliament sessions, devoted to forming the new government, have each lasted only a matter of minutes, and some lawmakers are asking, ‘What’s going on?’.

The Burmese Union Parliament is rushing through the formation of a new government in short, 15-minute sessions, leaving many lawmakers with what they say is incomplete information about  nominees. Photo : AFP/MRTVMany MPs are complaining that the sessions are too fast, and that they can not assess the qualifications of the appointments–much less raise a question or objection–because of incomplete personal biographies that are distributed shortly before the nominations or votes.

They say they have too little time to study or discuss among themselves the nominees.

‘We received a personal profile of Lun Maung on Monday’, an MP told Mizzima. ‘It had only 10 points, such as name, date of birth, education qualification, nationality and religion, place of birth, parents and spouse. It did not include even the names of his children’.

He said the speaker of the joint Parliament session told lawmakers that if they had objections they could send them to his office by the ‘evening’.

A lawmaker told Mizzima: ‘It’s not enough time to submit our objections before 4 p.m. How we can evaluate them by seeing only these incomplete personal profiles? These personal profiles should include a lot of facts. No one can raise objections without knowing details’.

Another MP complained about a lack of time to consult with his party members. ‘We should have time to discuss among ourselves and report back to our parties and other ethnic parties for consultation’, he said.

So far, only one lawmaker, the  National Democratic Force (NDF) MP from Rangoon Division, Dr. Myat Nyarna Soe, has succeeded in raising an objection at the Union Parliament level. It was made on February 9 questioning the number of ministries and number of cabinet ministers. He also proposed the addition of a new ministry for ‘Ethnic Affairs’. The motion and objection failed.

A successful objection was raised at the Chin State assembly after State Chief Minister Pu Hong Ngai nominated Pu Qui Thang as a regional government cabinet minister. The Chin National Party (CNP) and Chin Development Party (CDP) objected to the nomination by sending an objection letter signed by opposition MPs on the grounds that the nominee was under age. The objection was successful.

The Union and regional governing bodies have met for 23 days as of Tuesday. The longest session has lasted about 15 minutes. Some lawmakers have defended the process, saying the Parliament’s only business now is to form the new government ministries and ministers. Other Parliamentary business will procede after that duty is discharged.

So far, Union lawmakers have approved the president, two vice presidents, a union attorney general, and various union cabinet ministers. However, various ministers are still without a portfolio.

The National Defence and Security Council, Finance Commission, Union Supreme Court and Union Public Service Commission have yet to be formed.

Similarly, the judges for the Supreme Court, members of the Constitutional Court, members of Union Election Commission, deputy ministers, the deputy attorney general, the deputy auditor general, the Naypyidaw council, the presidential advisory body, the presidential press committee and a spokesperson are yet to be appointed and approved.

In local assemblies too, many appointments and nominations are yet to be made so that the shape of the local governments can not be determined at this point.

Another MP noted: ‘The financial year closes in Burma at the end of March, and the new financial year usually starts at the first of April. I hope the handing over of the governance from the old government to the new one will take place by the end of March or early April’.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 February 2011 14:12 )  

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