The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw is scheduled to decide whether to accept proposed changes to the Constitution or not on 10 March, according to Speaker U T Khun Myat at yesterday’s assembly.
Hluttaw representatives also debated proposed amendments to the 2008 Constitution during the 17th-day meeting of the Second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s 15th regular session yesterday.
Debating constitutional changes
First, U Zaw Hein of Taninthayi Region constituency 7 supported amendments to Article 109-(b) and Section 141-(b), which reserves 25 per cent of parliamentary seats in the Amyotha and Pyithu Hluttaws for Defence Services personnel nominated by the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services.
The amendments seek to gradually reduce the number of Tatmadaw Hluttaw representatives across the Hluttaw period, and U Zaw Hein said he welcomes the change as currently only 75 per cent of MPs are elected by their constituents.
Next, Tatmadaw Pyithu Hluttaw representative Brig-Gen Ye Naing Myo said Article 436-(a) should not be amended as it requires more time to consider the consequences of implementing changes to it. He said there is no flawless constitution anywhere in the world but amendments should only be made at the right time if necessary.
U Myint Naing of Rakhine State constituency 5 then said he supports the amendment to Article 8, which seeks to add ‘democratic federal’ in front of ‘Union system’, saying it is the term also agreed upon at the Union Peace Conference. He said he believes a genuine democratic federal Union system will resolve some of the ethnic-related issues of the nation.
Next, U Zaw Min Latt of Shan State constituency 1 said he agrees with amending Article 6-(f) which enables the Defence Services to participate in the national political leadership role of the State in line with public support. He said only when it is amended will it be consistent with Article 4, which states the sovereign power of the Union is derived from the citizens.
Dr Khun Win Thaung of Kachin State constituency 11 was next to take the floor. He said the proposal made by U Tun Aung (a) U Tun Tun Hein and 351 Hluttaw representatives to amend Article 437-(a), which concerns the State Flag.
He said the proposed design, a red flag with a blue square in which a single white star is surrounded by 14 smaller ones, would correspond with the current path the nation is taking towards genuine democracy while still symbolizing the efforts of the national leaders in the successful struggle for independence.
Eighteen MPs continued the debate on constitutional amendment.
Date set for deciding on amendments
Following this, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker U T Khun Myat announced that the Hluttaw will begin making decisions on the proposed amendments to the Constitution on 10 March. He then explained the balloting process concerning the amendments, which will be carried out with a secret voting system.
The Speaker then said Hluttaw representatives are each given equal rights under the law and reminded them that the results should be accepted with understanding, as it is conducted within the boundaries of the law.
The 18th-day meeting of the Second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s 15th regular session will convene today.—Aung Ye Twin, Aye Aye Thant (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)