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Burmese government grants some MPs permits to buy cars

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A handful of members of Parliament have received government permits to buy state-made cars, but the move has raised questions of fairness, according to MPs.

The Myanmar Mini Saloon car produced by the Burmese Ministry of Industry and a Chinese company. Photo: Myanmar PostRumours are circulating that Thein Nyunt and Kyi Myint of the National Democratic Force (Thingangyun, NDF), nine MPs from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and Khin Saw Wai of the Rakhine Nationalities and Development Party (RNDP) have received permits to buy mini-saloon cars made jointly by the Ministry of Industry (2) and a Chinese company.

“It’s a personal affair’, Thein Nyunt of Thingangyun Township told Mizzima. ‘The relevant officials said that they saw that I was going on foot here and there in my ward. That’s why they granted the permit. I did not apply for the permit. I don’t have enough money to buy the car. So, I will request a long-term loan from a publisher who will publish an anthology of my articles’.

Kyi Myint said, ‘The Minister of Industry (2) did it in a spirit of goodwill. We don’t have a close relationship. So, the permit is likely to be granted to all MPs, and we were the first batch, I think’.

Mizzima was not able to obtain any confirmation about any permits given to USDP members of Parliament.

RNDP general secretary Oo Saw Hla said that he did not know whether some RNDP MPs were given permits or not, but granting only some MPs a permit was not in accord with the standards of Parliament.

‘It’s unusual’, he said. ‘If the authorities want to grant the permits, they should be granted to all MPs. Granting only some MPS the permit is entirely partial. It’s not in accord with President Thein Sein’s speech’.

Dr. Myat Nyarna Soe, an MP of the National Democratic Force, said, ‘There are four parliamentary committees. Even the members of the committees were not granted the permits. So, I think it might depend on personal relationships’.

Democratic Party (Myanmar) chairman Thu Wai told Mizzima, ‘I don’t know whether they intend to divide MPs or not. I don’t have specific information, so I can’t say. But, if they want to grant MPs permits, all MPs should receive permits’.

If an ordinary citizen wants to buy a mini-saloon car that is jointly made by the Ministry of Industry (2) and a Chinese company, they must apply for a permit from the ministry, but because of high demand some applicants are denied permits. In the free market, the price of the mini-saloon car is around 15 million kyat (US $17,000).

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 May 2011 13:30 )  

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