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Parliament drifts through final days of session

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Burmese Parliament is coming down to the final days of its first historic session with its major accomplishment the formation of a new government and the naming of ministers, who will be sworn in possibly this week. No date has been announced.

The massive complex devoted to the new Burmese Parliament and government offices in Naypyidaw, the capital. Photo : MizzimaIn other ways, however, the work of the Parliament has been a lackluster affair, mainly devoted to charges that the members of Parliament are not up to performing their roles as carried out by international standards.

Members early on were warned by the officials of the two houses not to be aggressive or contentious in their questions and motions, and that has been the dominant thread that’s run through most Parliamentary sessions. Softball questions to the governing party and ministers, little debate or probing for relevant facts and almost no motions of substance.

Nearly all of the political parties seem to be feeling their way through the first historic session, even down to the possible date when new ministers will be given the oath of office.

The press is feeling its way too, having to rely on what members of Parliament say happened during sessions. As a result, the reports are often piecemeal and scattered, and detail in reporting is hard to come by.

On Monday, a joint sitting of both houses approved a motion to attend the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Inter-Parliamentary Assembly.

Pegu constituency Union Solidarity and Development Party MP Min Swe raised a question as to whether the government had any plan to continue the ongoing irrigation projects in Pegu Division. Agriculture and Irrigation Minister and former USDP General Secretary Htay Oo engaged in an extended answer and the two USDP party members then engaged in a lengthy discussion.

Later, one MP complained that the Parliament’s question hour is like a ‘family business’ when the MPs who raise questions and those who reply are from the same party.

"The minister replied that they were implementing these projects by mentioning a series of their projects for about half an hour.

Both Min Swe from the Daik Oo constituency and the minister are from the same party, the USDA. So it’s more like a conversation between father and son. Dad, you are doing a good job and do you have any plan to do this and that. Then the dad replies by saying, yes, I’m going to do this work and that work’, he said.

In other business, Dr. Aye Maung moved a motion to give compensation to poultry farmers affected by the avian flu outbreak. After discussion, the motion was tabled to be dealt with later.

A motion to establish a migrant worker affairs department by Dr. Myat Nyarna Soe was withdrawn for lack of support.

Lawmakers said that questions to be raised on Tuesday include the use of insecticide by farmers, local governance and the opening of more border trade ports.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 March 2011 09:14 )  

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