Amyotha Hluttaw discusses bill on wildlife, natural resources

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Asterisk-marked questions were asked and answered, two bills were discussed, a bill was tabled and a motion was made during the fifth-day meeting of the seventh regular session of the second Amyotha Hluttaw meeting held yesterday morning in the Amyotha Hluttaw meeting hall.
During the meeting, a question by U Myint Naing of Rakhine State constituency (5) on the plan to distribute piped water to five wards in the town of Kyauktaw Township was answered by Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Hla Kyaw. The piped water that is being distributed to five wards in the town is supplied from Shaukchaung Dam, and according to a test conducted by the irrigation department, the water contains iron, manganese, aluminium and slurry. The water from Shuakchaung Dam flows directly to a water collection tank and two settling tanks. More slurry entered the water when the water from the dam was directly distributed to the town.
In the past, the settling tanks were cleaned and chlorinated once every three months but will now be cleaned every month to enable the distribution of clean water. Water will be collected in the collection tanks during the night, and it will be allowed to settle for six hours before being distributed in the daytime. Extension works will be conducted in the 2018-2019 fiscal year with funds from the state government, replied the deputy minister, together with a reply from the Rakhine State government.
Next, a bill on the protection of wildlife and the conservation of natural areas was discussed by the Hluttaw representatives.
U Pu Gin Kam Lian of Chin State constituency (5) discussed amending the sentence “not more than seven years imprisonment or a fine of a minimum of Ks0.5 million to a maximum of Ks1.5 million” in chapter 11, clause 38, of the bill.
The prison term is vague, as it can be (as little as) one year. Those who committed the crime negotiate with people in power for a prison term of only one year, instead of seven years. The fine of Ks0.5 million to Ks1.5 million is low compared to the income obtained from the sale of wildlife and natural products, which can amount to tens of millions of kyat, and thus, the fine should be totally removed. The amendment to clause 38 should be a prison term of three to five years, said the Hluttaw representative. Seven more Hluttaw representatives also took part in the discussion.
The 2017 bill to amend the vacant, fallow and virgin lands management law was then discussed by the Hluttaw representatives.
Next, Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism U Ohn Maung submitted a Myanmar travel bill to the Hluttaw, and Hluttaw Bill Committee member Daw Nwe Nwe Aung read the report on the bill to the Hluttaw.
Later, U Pe Chit of Yangon Region constituency (9) tabled a motion urging the government to prevent the destruction and losses of natural resources in Myanmar as a national duty. MP U Pe Chit said within a 20-year period from 1994 to 2014, millions of tonnes of hardwood in the country were lost through illegal logging, as well as rare wildlife such as elephants, bears, tigers, leopards, peacocks and snakes, all of which fell prey to poaching.
Gems from Mogok and other mines were lost through illegal mining and the Ministry of Mines did not know the exact amount of losses incurred. According to the audit by the union auditor general in 2014, some 98 mining businesses are in arrears of providing 6.4 tonnes of gold according to the agreement. Ignoring the law cannot be handled by enacting new laws and restrictions. There is a need to protect the valuable natural resources of the country, said MP U Pe Chit.
Hluttaw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than received the decision of the Hluttaw on accepting the motion, and the motion was accepted.
The sixth-day meeting of the seventh regular session of the second Amyotha Hluttaw will be continued on 25 January.


By Aye Aye Thant,
Myo Thu Hein

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