By Aung Ye Thwin
The second Amyotha Hluttaw’s eighth regular session held its fifth-day meeting at the Amyotha Hluttaw meeting hall yesterday morning. Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than announced the decision of the Hluttaw to submit to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw the Science, Technology and Innovation Bill, over which the two Hluttaws were in disagreement.
In addition to this, six asterisk-marked questions asked by the Hluttaw representatives were answered by deputy ministers U Aung Hla Tun and U Kyaw Myo, a report read and a motion tabled.
First, U Tun Tun Oo of the Mandalay Region constituency (2) asked if there was any plan to control and manage businesses that use various media to advertise their products with exaggerated, fabricated, deceptive and fake claims. Deputy Minister for Information U Aung Hla Tun said advertisements received for advertising in the state media were first assessed by the Myanma Radio and Television censor board. It is assesssed if the advertisement is according to the set policy, such as not including the national flag, emblem, and head of state, among others. Further, the company has to submit its trademark, product registration, company registration, FDA permission, recommendation of the relevant ministry and other necessary documents. Advertisements must not include anything that would affect the sovereignty of the nation, national territory, political statements and announcements (except those made by the Union Election Commission). It must also not affect the culture, religion, belief of any ethnic nationals or promote sex, crime, terrorism, gambling, drug use and human trafficking, among others. It must also not insult or demean people with any disability.
Even though it may be the nature of an advertisement to exaggerate a product, the ministry is following all the policies and procedures laid down for advertisement in the state media, and it is also ensuring that audio and video advertisements made by joint venture entities are doing the same. The ministry is also ready to cooperate and work with other ministries, non-government local and international entities to prevent and control exaggerated, fabricated, deceptive and fake advertisements made in social media and other media that are not under the control of the ministry, said the deputy minister.
Replying to a question raised by U Win Maung of the Magway Region constituency (6) on the plans of the Ministry of Transport and Communications to prevent river bank erosion of villages along Ayeyawady River, Deputy Minister for Transport and Communications U Kyaw Myo said the ministry was using two methods — direct and indirect prevention — against river bank erosion. Direct prevention is conducted in places where river bank erosion occurs and measures such as building the retaining walls can be conducted. Indirect prevention is conducted in places where river bank erosion occurs but retaining walls cannot be built due to the water depth and other adverse situations. In this case, measures such as reducing the water flow rate and diverting the flow direction, among others, are adopted. As a long-term project, maintaining and modifying the lower portion of Ayeyawady and Chindwin rivers are being conducted, based on the master plan of Royal Haskoning Engineering Co. Ltd. of the Netherlands, along with the assistance of the World Bank in 1988, depending upon the availability of funding. In the forthcoming three fiscal years from 2018-2019 to 2020-2021, some Ks47.77 billion has been earmarked for the project, said the deputy minister.
On the question raised by U Soe Thein of Kayah State constituency (9) about the plan to maintain the Baluchaung (Balu Creek) flowing through Kayah State capital Loikaw, Deputy Minister U Kyaw Myo said the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems (DWIR) was prioritising the improvement of the main rivers such as Ayeyawady and Chindwin, and its work programmes, drawn for the six-month period of April to September 2018 and fiscal year 2018-2019, do not include any funding for Baluchaung maintenance. If Kayah State government requested funding for Baluchaung maintenance in the 2018-2019 fiscal year state fund or from the emergency fund, DWIR will provide expertise and technical support, said the deputy minister.
Following this, questions raised by U Pe Chit of the Yangon Region constituency (9), U Lal Min Htan of Chin State constituency (10) and Dr. Sai Hsai Kyauk Sam of Shan State constituency (6) were answered by Deputy Minister U Kyaw Myo.
Bill committee member Sai Tun Aung then read and explained the committee report on the Science, Technology and Innovation Bill. The decision of the Hluttaw was then taken by the Amyotha Hluttaw speaker to confirm the Science, Technology and Innovation Bill, as amended by the Amyotha Hluttaw Bill Committee.
Later, U Kyaw Naing of the Yangon Region constituency 12 tabled a motion to submit to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw the decision on the bill disagreed by the Amyotha Hluttaw and Pyithu Hluttaw. The Amyotha Hluttaw speaker then announced the decision to submit the bill to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
The announcement of the Hluttaw approving the Myanmar Historical Commission Bill, approved and sent by the Pyithu Hluttaw with amendments, was made after it was approved by the Hluttaw.
The sixth-day meeting of the second Amyotha Hluttaw’s eighth regular session is scheduled to be held on 23 May.