Lawmakers of the Amyotha Hluttaw discussed the forest bill sent by the Pyithu Hluttaw, making suggestions for transparency and public notification when forest reserves are established. At the seventh day meeting of Amyotha Hluttaw yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw, U Soe Win of constituency-12 of Rakhine State made a suggestion to add a clause to the bill which guarantees negotiation and ensures transparency with the local people when reserved forest and protected public forest are designated in paragraph 6 of Chapter-3 titled “Establishing reserved forest and designating protected public forest”.
The MP also suggested a clause that wooded areas two miles from villages, pagodas, monasteries, schools, ponds, lakes and farmland which are used by local people should be designated as forest reserves.
The MP also suggested the wording “announcements shall be made in many ways to let the local people know …” be added in paragraph 7 of the same chapter when the entire forest reserve or a part of the forest reserve is reestablished or is abolished or is reestablished as protected public forest.
In sub-paragraph (b), paragraph 7, he suggested to amend the clause “entire forest reserve or a part of the forest reserve which no longer needs to be reserved shall be abolished,” as “if … are abolished, a part of the forest reserve with farmland shall be abolished and announcements shall be made to let the local people know these issues.”
U Zaw Hein of constituency-7 of the Taninthayi Region suggested deletion of the requirement that people shall seek recommendations from a forest official in Section 23 (A), saying that the bill will cause hardships.
He continued to say that anyone who smuggles teak or banned hardwood to foreign countries, or those who involve in the smuggle shall get a minimum ten-year prison sentence and a fine of at least Ks5 million.
The new forest law should include a penalty of at least a three-year prison sentence and a fine of Ks2 million to those who are involved in charcoal smuggling to foreign countries, he added. Six MPs also discussed the bill.
By Aung Ye Thwin (MNA)