MPs to discuss committee proposal for constitutional amendments

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Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker U T Khun Myat. Photo: MNA

The third day of the 11th Regular session of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw was held yesterday at 10 am in the Main Hall of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.

An urgent proposal to form a joint Committee consisting of Hluttaw members in order to expeditiously implement the steps to be taken towards amending the 2008 Constitution
Pyidaungsu Hluttaw representative U Aung Kyi Nyunt from Magway Region constituency 4 submitted an urgent proposal to form a joint Committee consisting of Hluttaw members in order to expeditiously implement the steps to be taken towards amending the 2008 Constitution.
U Aung Kyi Nyunt stated that amending provisions of the 2008 Constitution is an important task for the people of Myanmar in the current situation. This task needs to be noted by and decided by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. He stated that when a review is made of the 2008 Constitution it is found that there are provisions in the Constitution which are not in conformity with democratic norms, inconsistent provisions within the Constitution, provisions that would impede the implementation of a genuine democratic Federal Union which is a sine qua non to establish internal peace.

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U Aung Kyi Nyunt.

In addition, U Aung Kyi Nyunt stated that there are also provisions in the Constitution which impede the establishment of a multiparty democracy, that unbalances the checks and balances required in the three pillars of democratic governance as well as provisions that do not provide for the equal protection of the laws of its citizens and also provisions which impair the holding of free and fair elections.
The best way to protect the Constitution is to draft a Constitution where the aspirations of the citizens and the indigenous people are implemented in the future State. In order to smoothly work towards such an outcome the main duty falls on the Legislative branch which is the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, U Aung Kyi Nyunt stated.
He continued to say that this is a time where under the auspices of the 21st century Panglong Conference to establish perpetual peace and national reconciliation it has already been agreed that the Union must be based on Democracy and Federalism. In order to smoothly implement such tasks and to achieve mutual confidence it is necessary to amend the Constitution.
U Aung Kyi Nyunt stated that he is making this solemn proposal in conformity with the wishes of the entire people of Myanmar and in order to review the 2008 Constitution a joint Committee should be urgently formed with suitable representatives of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. That Committee could consider issues in order to expeditiously implement the tasks of amending the Constitution. U Aung Kyi Nyunt explained that what he is proposing now does not involve or deal with Articles 433, 434, 435 in Chapter XII of the Constitution. He stated that he was not proposing a draft bill to amend the Constitution but only proposing a mechanism to systematically implement his proposal in conformity with Rule 66.

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Dr Wei Phyo Aung.

Afterwards, the representative of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw from Thaketa constituency Dr Wei Phyo Aung spoke in support of the proposal. He stated that it has been over ten years since the 2008 Constitution was practised. Since more than a decade has passed since its implementation necessary changes should be made in order to keep up with the times. The people’s representatives are conferred this duty under the democratic system and they should take into consideration the true wishes of the people and they would have the opportunity to do so in this era where it is now ‘time for change’ and discussions and review of the Constitution should be made in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. He therefore supports the motion and urge the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw to discuss the proposal.
Representative from the Tatmadaw Brig-Gen Maung Maung stated that he was not asserting that the Constitution should not be changed. He agreed that it needs to be changed. Because of this agreement he was proposing that amendments should be made in conformity with the procedures. All of the representatives in the Hluttaw are here in accordance with the provisions of the 2008 Constitution. Procedural rule 135 states that a draft bill be first proposed that a joint committee of the Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw have to review the draft Bill. If a Committee were to be formed it would not be known which Articles or provisions of the Constitution would be reviewed, what would the Committee do and how expansively would the Committee consider such issues. Those in the
Legislature should conduct their actions in accordance with the laws and procedures and Brigadier Maung Maung stated that this issue is not a task to be decided by votes.

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Brig-Gen Maung Maung.

After the Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw stated that the statement of Brig-Gen Maung Maung is not accepted all the Tatmadaw personnel in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw stood up in protest.

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Dr Myat Nyanna Soe.

The Secretary of the Joint Bill Committee Dr Myat Nyanna Soe stated that at this moment it is not the case that a Bill to amend the Constitution is being submitted. Since a multiparty system is being practiced if a representative, or a group of political parties were to submit such a proposal it could have deviated from the wishes of the majority of the people, citizens and the indigenous people. This proposal could be discussed by all political parties (representatives) in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw including the Tatmadaw personnel. Hence it is in conformity with the laws, by laws and rules of the Hluttaw and therefore he solemnly requested the Speaker to put into effect that this proposal be decided by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. The Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw asked the views of the Hluttaw Members as to whether the proposal should be considered through the electronic voting system. There were 394 votes for, 17 against and 3 abstentions. As more than 1/3 of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw members supported the proposal the Speaker announced that the Hluttaw has agreed to discuss the proposal.
The Speaker also stated that those Hluttaw representatives who wish to discuss the proposal can put forward their names.
It is learnt that the fourth day of the 11th regular session of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw will be held on 1 February 2019.

 

Aung Ye Thwin, Aye Aye Thant (Translated by Myint Zan)

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