15th regular meeting of 2nd Pyidaungsu Hluttaw held

1 72The 15th regular meeting of the Second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw began at 10 am yesterday at the meeting hall of the Hluttaw in Nay Pyi Taw
At the meeting, Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw U T Khun Myat said the programme to discuss the articles, sub-articles included in the bills to amend the constitution projected to be conducted on 25 February 2020 will be presented to the parliament in advance. The names of the 149 lawmakers who will discuss the bills included in the attachments of the report of the committee to scrutinize bills to amend the constitution for the second time have been stated. Each representative can discuss the topic for eight minutes. The list of the names together with date-wise discussions has already been set.
According to subparas (a) and (b) of the section 436 of the Constitution the two amendment bills were drafted. But discussions will be held on them at the same time. Lawmakers will have to present their discussions within the prescribed time, and the discussions should only be on the issue.
They should not use any terms and words that may harm a political party, an individual or a national race. They should act and discuss in accord with their status and should stay away from discussing the topics that are not relevant with the issue.
I will explain some more on the constitutional amendment for the MPs and the public to have broader knowledge of it. A proposal was presented at the parliament on 29 January 2019 to establish combined committee for constitutional amendment. While the formation of the committee is in process, 143 MPs presented the 2nd constitutional amendment bill on 8 February 2019.
A variation was found under the same topic to amend the constitution. Officials including the Speaker took into the account the matter from all angles, and adopted the means that were not against the parliamentary laws and rules. The work that could be carried out during the remaining period of the parliament and the validity of the mended law in case the amendments could be made are also taken account. Appropriate means were chosen only after assessing various possibilities including the possibility of presenting additional constitutional amendment bills and the possibility of holding debates on the report were taken into consideration.
The establishment of the committee continued then, and ways to accept the two separately presented proposals were considered in advance. Since the beginning, it has been decided to present a comprehensive compilation even if there are different versions of bills for constitutional amendment.
If the debates and decisions including the former report are studied it can be found that the parliamentary procedures on the approval of the proposal on the committee and the latest report are in harmony and have no conflicting issues. The constitutional amendment procedures are being conducted in accord with the relevant law, rules and prescriptions. All the MPs including the groups that presented the constitutional amendment proposal are equal under the law and rules. As a parliamentary speaker, I will accomplish my task well in accord with the relevant laws and rules, taking into account every single assignment, duty and segment of power. In doing so, the decision of the Hluttaw will be the final and not the decision of the speaker.
The Hluttaw approved extension of the terms of the joint committees on ASEAN parliaments and international parliaments to 31 January 2021.
Member of the Union level bodies explained the debates of MPs including the first and second volumes on the finds of Joint Public Accounts Committee on the report of Union Auditor General during the period from April to September 2018.
As regards the Telematics services system included in the report of Union Auditor General, Union Minister for Construction U Han Zaw said meetings were held with the relevant bodies, an announcement was issued in the dailies that cars will be permitted to drive on Yangon-Mandalay expressway only if they are installed with Telematics system, and awareness billboards were posted along the road for the safety of passengers and cars. Action will be taken against passenger cars that fail to follow the rules.
Ministry of Construction is drafting the bill on development of the construction sector. As the bill was passed by the Union Attorney General Office, the ministry will present it to the committee for ensuring security, stability, peace and the rule of law and the President’s Office, and if approval is received, the bill will be presented to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. Detailed provisions on the third party will be prescribed when the bill is passed into a law. Guidelines for Third Party Inspection Program, quality inspection, counseling on construction management and third party inspection are being compiled at present.
The Union Minister said most of the projects implemented at less than 50% of the capital expenditure are carried out under the loan of JICA, World Bank and ADB. As the projects need Detail Feasibility Study and Environmental Clearance Certificate in accord with the international practices and tax relief for materials imported under the Exchange of Notes, there was delay in implementing them. The ministry is making utmost efforts for the facilitation of the projects. The Union Minister thanked the MPs for their discussions of the report on the finds during the period between April and September 2018.
Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Maj-Gen Aung Thu said relevant reports are being sent to the headquarters of Myanmar Police Force, for a better internal supervision system. Assessment has been made on the cases in connection with misappropriation of funds in exposing the root cause. Directives are being issued and trainings given to officers to follow them.
So MPF HQ is conducting internal auditing systematically, imparting knowledge of the financial rules and regulations and duties among the relevant officers, and making supervisions through the publication of financial directives.
Deputy Minister for Information U Aung Hla Tun said he will deal with the matter raised by MP Daw Cho Cho who suggested the soonest installation of DVB T2 and FM equipments at new Mawchi retransmission station in Pasawng Township, as the old station was hit by a landslide triggered by heavy rain. In response, the Deputy Minister said land for the new station has obtained, and K 66.5 million was allotted to build the station in financial year 2019-2020. Kayah State Government invited tender and supervised the signing of an agreement with the Shwehintha Oo Company that won the tender. The station will be erected within the said fiscal year, and supervision will be made for preventing the occurrence of mechanical breakdowns.
The station would be rebuilt in the 2019-2020 fiscal year and K66.5 million has been allocated for its construction.
He said the contract for the construction of the station has been signed with the Shwe Hinthar Oo Company, which won the tender for the project. The construction is targeted to be completed in the current financial year, he added.
In reply to MP U Win Win of Minbu constituency who had questioned the ministry about meeting expenses in the designated fiscal year, Deputy Minister U Aung Hla Tun said the ministry’s Information and Public Relations Department recorded insufficient expenditure in the first and second month of the six-month mini budget (from April to September, 2018) as the department had to use fuel for transporting trainees undergoing capacity building courses and and, buying books, periodicals, and newspapers for the township libraries. The IPRD could settle the expenditure only in the fourth month, and the ministry would systematically take measures to prevent the recurrence of such issues in the future.
The Deputy Minister also discussed the issue connected with state-run print media debated by MP U Than Soe, alias Than Soe (Economics).
Challenges of print-media
Deputy Minister U Aung Hla Tun said the two newspapers in Myanmar language published by the ministry’s News and Periodicals Enterprise made profits, but the Global New Light of Myanmar, the joint-venture daily in English language, registered losses in the fiscal year, as pointed out by the MP.
He said the GNLM had been operating as a joint venture business since the 2013-2014 financial year, earning the main income from selling paper, advertisement, and printing services.
As the GNLM is an English language newspaper, its circulation is lower than the other two state-run Myanmar-language newspapers, he said. With the advancement of digital communication technology, print media is witnessing a downward trend across the world, he said.
The way people consume news, information, and entertainment has changed a lot across the world, said the Deputy Minister, adding that in Myanmar, mobile phone density had reached over 100 per cent and smartphone user density over 80 per cent. Myanmar is considered to have the highest mobile phone density in the ASEAN nations, as per international research reports.
For gaining access to information, the majority of the people turn to only media platforms through their mobile phones and this indicates that the living standard of the people has improved, said U Aung Hla Tun.
However, the outlook is bleak when it comes to traditional media, such as print media, radio, and TV as most advertisers are choosing online media platforms, said the deputy minister.
“As a result, income for the print media has seen a downtrend, said the deputy minister, adding that the print media industry across the world had met a similar fate, and fate has struck another blow to the Global New Light of Myanmar, which is already affected by lower circulation,” he said.
“Another problem is that the income from its JV business printing service has also spiraled down. In the early days, the GNLM Company Limited made profits from printing assignments and received three more newspapers,” he added.
However, with the decline in print media, the JV company could print only one newspaper since the previous financial year and thus, its income has decreased, the deputy minister said.
“Besides, the price for paper rolls, the main raw material for the newspaper printing service, has increased over US$100 for one metric ton, with the rise in foreign exchange rate. That led to higher production costs and caused losses for the company,” he added.
The GNLM, which was considered different from other businesses, was on special duty for the country, he said.
He said the Global New Light of Myanmar is serving the country as the government’s only mouthpiece in English language.
Myanmar, which is facing challenges in its democratic transition, needs one English newspaper which reflects the opinion of the government, said the deputy minister.
As the GNLM is doing that duty in the midst of difficulties, it should not be evaluated from the economic point of view like other businesses, he said.
To improve the quality of the Global New Light of Myanmar and to make it a success economically, ways would be sought with private share partners to find proper printing jobs, in accordance with the existing laws, he added.
Afterwards, Auditor-General U Maw Than discussed about the findings and auditing processes of auditing teams of the Union Auditor-General Office, regional and state auditing offices.
He said the auditing teams had looked into the spending of budgets by institutions in accordance with the existing financial rules and directives of the Union Government Office and the Presidential Office.
As the governmental departments are keeping their statistics manually, the teams had carried out the auditing manually, he said.
The same issue was discussed by Union Supreme Court Judge U Myint Aung, Deputy Minister for Border Affairs Maj-Gen Than Htut, Deputy Minister for Health and Sports Dr Mya Lay Sein, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Hla Kyaw, Deputy Minister for Transport and Communications U Kyaw Myo, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Dr Ye Myint Swe, Deputy Minister for Electricity and Energy U Khin Maung Win, Deputy Minister for Commerce U Aung Htoo, Deputy Minister for Education U Win Maw Tun, member of the Union Service Board U Saw Valentine, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar U Soe Min, Deputy Minister for Planning, Finance and Industry U Maung Maung Win and Deputy Chairman of the Joint Public Account Committee U Aung Min.
Following the discussion, the first and second volumes of the findings and remarks of the Joint Public Accounts Committee were approved by the Hluttaw. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw also put the findings the report for six months from April to September 2008 on record. — Aung Ye Thwin, Aye Aye Than

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