Thursday, 14 November 2019

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Deputy speakers can’t chair bill committees, say opposition MPs

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The appointment of the deputy speakers of both houses in the Burmese Parliament to chair critical ‘bill committees’ has raised constitutional questions, say opposition members of Parliament.

Lawmakers in the Burmese Parliament (shown above) have questioned the appointment of the deputy speakers of both houses to also chair the important 'bill' committees in both houses, saying it violates the Constitution. Photo : MRTVSome MPs are challenging the appointments, made by the speakers of both houses, saying the Constitution prohibits the two appointees from retaining their deputy speaker role and chairing the bill committee at the same time.

The speakers of both houses announced the formation of the two bill committees on Tuesday, in which the deputy speaker of the House of the People (Lower House), Nanda Kyaw Swa, and the deputy speaker of the House of the Nationalities (Upper House), Mya Nyein, were appointed as chairmen of the committees, in their respective house.

According to Parliament rules, if a  member of Parliament is appointed to a Parliament  committee, they must resign if he or she is elected to the posts of speaker of Parliament or deputy speaker of Parliament.

‘When the committee members were announced yesterday, they did not resign from their deputy speaker posts’, an MP told Mizzima. Members of parliamentary committees must be approved by Parliament.

Meanwhile, in another committee soon to be appointed, the ‘privilege committee’, parliamentary rules state that the deputy speaker of parliament shall chair that committee. However, under rules affecting the bill committees, there is no similar stipulation in the rule book, another MP noted.

‘It was contrary with the rule book in appointing the deputy speakers to chair the bill committees. The deputy speakers may act as chairmen in the Parliament “privilege committees” in each house, but they are now also taking the chairmen positions in the “bill committees” too. These privilege committees are not yet formed so we must wait and see who will become the chairmen of the privilege committees’, he said.

Recently, when MP Tin Aye was appointed as chairman of the Union Election Commission, he resigned from his MP seat in accordance with the rules, but it was not officially announced in advance before he assumed the chairman post of the UEC, which also caused confusion among MPs.

In article 137(a) and 157(b) of the Constitution, it says that if a stipulation in the rules, by-laws and regulations is found not in accordance with the provisions concerned, a motion to amend or annul the provision can be moved within 90 days of said rule, by-law or regulation as presented and distributed.


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