Pyithu Hluttaw session continues for fifth day
Eleven questions asked and answered, one proposal discussed, one proposal submitted
17 February 2012
The Pyithu Hluttaw session continued for the fifth day at Pyithu Hluttaw Hall in Hluttaw Building here today, attended by Speaker of Pyithu Hluttaw Thura U Shwe Mann and 346 Pyithu Hluttaw representatives. At today’s session, 11 questions were asked and answered, one proposal was discussed and one proposal submitted.
Speaking on the occasion, the Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker said: his proposal to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on 7 February received massive support of the people’s representatives. Likewise, it is learnt that people also welcomed the proposal. He said he made the proposal with genuine goodwill in the interests of the nation, people and people’s representatives.
All the responsible persons including the ministries were exempted from legal actions for what they did under instructions in the time of State Law and Order Restoration Council and the State Peace and Development Council in accordance with the Section 445 of the constitution. All representatives have to accept that people show the understanding of the situations in the time of Tatmadaw government in accordance with the Section 445 of the constitution as it was ratified by 92.48 percent of the eligible voters. However, after the advent of the new government, duties are to be carried out in line with the constitution and existing laws.
Studying the national project and budget in principle, it is found that the project includes the plans that are not appropriate to implement now. Roughly, if those projects are suspended for a certain period of time, there would be cash in hand and salary can be increased to a certain percentage for the benefit of the staff facing financial hardship.
The impacts of projects failure was presented to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in order that lessons can be taken and its consequences can be considered. There may be so-called allowances for civil services in most of the government departments as the salary alone is not enough for them to earn the bread. Actually, those cash paid as allowances are national income. This reality is not good for the nation, department and people, the speaker pointed out of his experience.
So, he said it needs to assess the feasibility of the project in comparison with the budget with goodwill and serious consideration and it should be done in accordance with the law. If the budget brings about bribery, the will be causes leading to the corruption. So, people’s representatives have to set an objective of anti-corruption and anti-bribery not only for themselves but also for the people and civil servants. How the new taxation system works and how the tax should be levied is still unknown and it should aware that unreliable taxation system will result in corruption and bribery.
To put it in a nutshell, he said his proposal presented to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on 7 February was out of goodwill and really intended for the interests of the people and the nation. It needs to make actual reforms towards betterment. He said people’s representatives would understand him and the heartfelt support of them is not for his interests but for the welfare of the State and future generations. He said he believed that it is like committing a mistake not to propose and discuss while there is chance to do so. He then vowed to go to the end of the world for the interests of the nation and its people.
Union Minister for Home Affairs Lt-Gen Ko Ko replied to the questions raised by three Hluttaw representatives.
Regarding the query asked by U Aung Thein Lin of South Okkalapa Constituency “the number of INGOs in Myanmar; kinds of works they are engaged and their policies; the number of agreements signed; whether the government monitor their works or not and how the government monitor if any, what organization check the foreign currency they carried into the country and how; if the government know some organizations are trafficking in person with some methods; the number of local NGOS and evaluation of their works”, the Union Minister answered that although there are 53 INGOs in Myanmar, but only six of them is registered at the Home Affairs Ministry. Of the remaining 47, 13 are in the process of under scrutiny for their registration. Those 53 INGOs are engaging in 67 kinds of works such as education, health, nourishment, drinking water supply, sanitation, agriculture, livestock breeding, food sufficiency, disaster management and social and environmental conservation. As to local NGOs, there are 278 registered.
Formation of organization law enacted on 30 September, 1988 is applied in scrutinizing INGOs and NGOs. As to NGO, its aim must be to help develop the socioeconomic life of people and its objectives should not be in violation with the policies and procedures of the ministries concerned.
There are no separate agreements with NGOs as rules and regulations were already described in their organization certificates in accordance with the provisions of formation of organization law. As to INGOs, MoU were signed between them and the ministries concerned which monitored their works. The Home Affairs Ministry in coordination with the ministries concerned holds discussion with executive members and responsible persons of respective organizations at township level monthly and hold discussions at region/state level every four month. The results are reported to the Home Affairs Ministry.
It is reviewed that the philanthropic works of INGOs and NGOs can leave technical skills and work experiences in respective regions while contributing to education, health and socio - economic development of the people. However, they can render financial assistance, aid and help better then government-to-government assistance to influence political elements, thus harming the objectives of the State. So, MoU signed with INGOs should be examined carefully and the assistance and help should be politically colourless one without political-string attached and it needs to make sure assistance goes to the neediest people.
The process of scrutinizing the INGOs is like this respective ministries examine the proposal of INGO to render assistance to Myanmar and submitted to the meetings of the Union government. Only after the Union government has approved the proposal, agreement was signed. There is no breach of international laws, local laws, regulations stated in the agreement and regional customs till now as supervision teams in respective regions are closely monitoring their works.
With regard to the foreign currency carried into Myanmar by INGOs and NGOs, the Central Bank of Myanmar was responsible for scrutiny of the foreign currency in accordance with monetary policies promulgated in Myanmar. INGOs have to open a foreign currency account at Myanmar Trade Bank and prior to this, the INGOS has coordinate fund allocation with ministries concerned.
Squads and departments under the Ministry of Home Affairs are monitoring INGOs and NGOs in order that there is no case of human trafficking either in cover of religion, or something else or on the pretext of rehabilitation of orphans and seeking jobs for young women.
INGOs in Myanmar adopt different procedures in cooperating with government departments and local NGOs. It is found that the works joint-works are not effective as they should be due to false and differing procedures. As the government has aimed to fight poverty and improve rural economy, NGOs and INGOs can achieve their goals by closely cooperating with the government, filling a gap in rural development undertakings and education, health and social life of the people.
U Tha Win of Yankin Constituency asked seeking permit to hold annual religious ceremonies is a long procedure and whether such ceremonies can be organized just with the permit of the respective township administrative body. The Union Minister replied that the citizens have religious freedom and township/district administrative bodies and respective region/state governments scrutinize and allow to hold religious ceremonies, religious funfairs of different religions on respective dates.
The organization wishing to hold the religious ceremony or the responsible person has to apply to the township General Administration Department through ward/village-tract with security measures plan for the occasion, agenda and recommendation letters of respective departments. The respective general Administration Department scrutinizes the application and the deputy commissioner issues the permit if it can be allowed. If the ceremonies are of grand scale, it needs to go to Region/State government which makes decision at the executive board meeting.
It is learnt that the application is usually submitted to region/state governments with recommendation of administrative bodies at different levels, security recommendation and recommendation of departments concerned in advance of the ceremony to take security measures in coordination with the organizers for the public and for the VIPs who will present on the occasion, Both the religious ceremony and peaceful assembly and procession are crowd activities but different in characteristics. The departments concerned have to supervise and help carefully in religious ceremony if the number of devotees is large. It needs hierarchical recommendation as there are a lot of different works as regional security, fire prevention, health, environmental cleanliness, clean drinking water supply, electric wire installation and designating car parking space.
Except crowd activities and religious festivals, the application to hold annual sermon-preaching ceremonies of different religions and religious is scrutinized by the district General Administration Department and district deputy commissioner issues the permit within one week.
In consideration of security, crowd activities and religious festivals are only allowed through the scrutiny of respective district, region/state government to avoid unnecessary troubles.
U Thein Nyunt of Thingangyun Constituency asked if there is plan to take actions against Kuhtoseik explosion on 29-12-2011 in Kuhtoseik Ward in Mingala Taungnyunt Township, Yangon Region to avoid storage of explosive materials and reoccurrence of such explosion; if the government knows there breaks out frequent ammonia explosion in Hongxin Fish Slice Cold Storage on Panyike Street in (Nga/Ka) Ward of Thingangyun Township ; if there is plan to relocate the factories, workshops hazardous to the people.
The Union Minister replied that the fire outbreak took place on 29 December, 2011 in Kuhtoseik Ward in Mingala Taungnyunt Township, Yangon Region. Then special investigation team was formed with representatives of related ministries, led by the Home Affairs Ministry to probe the cause of the fire outbreak. Yangon Region government also formed a nine-member investigation team headed by the secretary of the Yangon City Development Affairs Committee. Those investigation teams exposed the five in connection with the fire outbreak who are on trial at Mingala Taungnyunt Township Court.
In addition, advice was sought from Yangon Region East District Law Office to file a lawsuit against the there responsible persons. The offenders have been charged with catastrophic fire outbreak and brought to trial along with firm evidences at Mingala Taungnyunt Court to take punitive action against them.
The ammonia gas pipeline used in the fish slice cold storage of Bay of Mottama Company on Panyike Street in (Nga/Ka) Ward of Thingangyun Township leak ammonia gas on 16 September, 2011 from the joint and it could be repaired by factory workers thirty minutes later. The Livestock and Fisheries Ministry inspected the cause and found that it was because of the safety valve of the condenser which was then replaced with the new one. There was no similar case before and it was the only time. The gas leakage terrified the people of squattering ward in the west of the cold storage and a person with heart attack was sent to Sanpya Hospital but he recovered then. No other one including the factory was harmed and it was just gas leakage and not the gas explosion.
It is found that cold storage is holding rcertificate of registration as private industry issued by the Industry Ministry, food production recommendation certificate issued by the Health Ministry and work permit of the YCDC. It is learnt that the Livestock and Fisheries Ministry would issue the factory license only after it has checked the repair of the cold storage.
The list of the number of warehouse in being taken in respective townships to make sure that there is no storage of hazardous chemicals in warehouses and factories and reckless use of them. Yangon Region government is taking steps to remove the dangerous warehouses to the place far from resident wards and where security measures are possible. Moreover, the Industry Ministry has written prevention against dangers of chemicals and related materials law (draft) and taking actions for the promulgation of that law.
Industrial zones are being established, gradually gathering the industrial economic enterprises. In so doing, related department/organization draws city development plan and township development plan not only for major cities but also for towns and factories and workshops are being relocated in groups in accordance with the layout in the those plans. In addition, Yangon Region government is taking steps to move the dangerous warehouses farm from resident wards.
Union Minister for Industry U Soe Thein replied to queries raised by three representatives. Dr Sai Kyaw Ohn of Namkham Constituency asked if there is plan to allow establishment of private pharmaceutical factories and the Union Minister replied that Myanmar Investment Commission is helping to establish western pharmaceutical factories at home with to view to reduce importation of western medicines using foreign currency, to reduce foreign currency use and to obtain modern medicine production techniques. It has been allowed to establish seven western pharmaceutical factories in Yangon Region in principle. In addition, there are Myanmar Pharmaceutical Industry (Yangon), Myanmar Pharmaceutical (Sagaing), Myanmar Pharmaceutical Industry (Inyaung) and Hepatitis-B Medicine Industry under the Industry Ministry as Stated-owned factories and Armed Forces Pharmaceutical Industry (Hmawby) and Myanamr Pharmaceutical factory (PyinOoLwin) which are manufacturing and distributing western medicines.
Regarding the question of Dr Daw Aye Myint of Shwetaung Constituency on “Is there any plan to designate an industrial zone in Shwetaung due to environmental degradation caused by stone crushing machines, rice mill, beam mill and jam industry in Shwetaung”, Union Minister for Industry U Soe Thein replied: one industrial zone has been set up in Pyay of Bago. So, it would be more convenient at present if small industries are moved to Pyay industrial zone. Departments and organizations start planning to adopt city development plan and township development plan. Upon completion of development plans, the works in all sectors would run systematically. To have development, cities and towns would be built after drafting future plan.
Regarding the question on U Thein Nyunt of Thingangyun Constituency on “ How would the government deal with the problems of main road damages and noise due to the pile factory by GEO Tech Pile Co., Ltd in 24 Ward of Thuwunna in Thingangyun Township and Is there any plan to move factories in wards to respective industrial zones”, Union Minister for Industry U Soe Thein said: That pile factory stopped its running on 18-1-2012 because of the remonstration of people in the ward. Yangon City Development Committee has already sent letter to close factory on 20-1-2012.
Yangon Region Government has already arranged to remove machines, finished goods and the stocks by 28-2-2012 and repair the damaged road by Geo Tech Pile Co.,Ltd not later than 31-3-2012.
Yangon Region Government would take responsibilities for move of factories after carrying out enough land reclamations, repair of roads, supply of electricity, measures to reduce damage of natural environments in respective industrial zones.
As part of the government’s programme to have harmonious development in cities and towns, respective departments and organizations are planning to adopt City Development Plan & Township Development Plan.
Factories and workshops will emerge in group after the development plan has been prescribed, he added. Deputy Minister for Information U Soe Win replied five questions raised by five representatives on information.
Regarding the question raised by U Khin Maung Shwe of Tamu constituency on “When will MRTV transmission in Myothit Sub-Township of Tamu District start”, the Deputy Minister said: Construction works have been carried out with the use of the 2009-2010 departments’ budget. The budget for 50 W TV Transmitter and 30 meter tower includes in 2011-2012. Tender and price matter have been carried out and buying contact, signed.
The arrival of these machines would be in March, 2012. Plans are under way to carry out installation and transmission in April.
U Win Myint of Pyay Constituency on “Whether or not is there any plan to renovate damaged Shwe Phone Pwint Pitakat Library Chamber in Pyay, to extend wards of museum/library, to install internet and to upgrade it to E-Library level” and Dr Daw Aye Myint of Shwetaung Constituency on “Is there any plan to provide old Leti Library” with modern system.”, the Deputy Minister replied:Ministry of Information started establishment of self-reliant village librarries since 2004 with three aims.
The first aim is to educate rural people. Myanmar where 70 % of its population live in rural areas, is an agro based country. Development of education, health, economic and social would synonymous with the country’s development. Knowledge lies at the core of development of rural people. So, the basic factor to get knowledge is literacy. A number of self-reliant village libraries are set up in order that people can get easy access to books and publications.
The second aim is that rural people can choose right and wrong and conserve the tradition of national characters. Nowadays, the world sees the rapid technology development and media penetration are massive. Print media and electronic media bring benefits to people as well as having negative impacts on people. People need to have full reasonable knowledge so as to choose good things among those news. A number of self-reliant village libraries are set up in order that people can get easy access to books and publications.
The third aim is to exercise the democratic system of Myanmar rightfully and thoroughly. To flourish democracy system in Myanmar, it needs to develop democracy practices in Myanmar society as well as in Administrative bodies and legislative bodies.
Only then people can act their rights in line with law and the rest pillars be monitored through check and balance system. To reach that stage, rural people needs to be full of knowledge. So, self-reliant village libraries are being set up. Ministry of Information has been setting up selfreliant village libraries across the country with the three strengthsthe government, local people and wellwishers.
In late 2007, self-reliant village libraries have been set up in more than 50,000 out of more than 60,000 villages in Myanmar.
But, not all these libraries are in the sustainable development condition. Since 2008, self-reliant village libraries have been set up with the assistance of the government so as to meet five standards. Nowadays, more than 30,000 libraries are meeting the five standards and in the sustainable development condition.
Sustainable development of the self-reliant village libraries cannot be carried out only with the strength of the government and local people. So, wellwishers established Myanmar Libraries Foundation in 15-5-2010 in order to assist in the works like promoting reading-habit and the emergence of libraries meeting five standards. Its funds have reached over K 700 million, of which are being used for the said works. So, Myanmar Libraries Foundation is carrying out tasks for sustainable development of the self-reliant village libraries in cooperation with local people. At the same time, Ministry of Information will provide the funds, give lectures on library course through Information and Public Relations Department and donate books and publications to the libraries occasionally. And experts from the IPRD would conduct library courses if necessary.
Regarding the question of U Sai Hla Kyaw of Linkhe Constituency on “Is there exact plan to transmit national races programme of languages in all TV channels”, the Deputy Minister replied: Myanma Radio and Television (branch) of Ministry of Information is transmitting national races programme in different languages. In 1988, national races programme was transmitted in eight different languagessix from 5 to 9 pm and two from 8:15 to 9:30 pm. One language lasted 30 minutes each.
Its total time was four hours and its meter band, 63.49. On 4 January, 1990, its programme was transmitted from 4 pm to 8 pm. On 13 July, 2009, its programme was transmitted for 45 minutes each from 2 pm to 8 pm, totaling six hours. On 1 May, 2009, transmission of its programme started from Nay Pyi Taw (Tatkon). Since then, Wa language was added to its programme. Programme was transmitted for 45 minutes each from 2 pm to 8:45 pm through 50 KW short wave transmitter (50.71 meter band, 5919 K Hz) in Nay Pyi Taw (Tatkon).
On 1 July, 2009, its programme was divided into two sessions- morning and evening session. It was transmitted in five languages from 50 KW short wave transmitter (50.71 meter band, 5919 KHz) in Nay Pyi Taw. Its transmitting time was ten hours. Yangon (Yayku) radio station transmitted programme in four different languages for ten hours through 100KW middle wave transmitter (411.52 meter and 729 K Hz).
On 12 Feb, 2010, five more languages were added in addition to existing nine languages. Shortwave transmitter from Nay Pyi Taw (Tatkon) and shortwave transmitter of Yangon (Yayku) radio station transmitted the programme for 12 hours daily. Now, languages transmitted from Nay Pyi Taw (Tatkon) are Kachin, Shan, Phalan Chin, Mindat Chin, Rakhine, Wa and Kokant and from Yangon (Yayku), Sakaw Kayin, Po Kayin, Mon, Kayah, Gaykho and Gaybar, totaling 14.
Nay Pyi Taw Myanma Radio transmits 14 different languages programme while FM radio stations like Pyinsawady, Padamyar FM and FM Bagan broadcast their respective language programme. Likewise, MRTV broadcasts dances and songs of Union National Races as a daily programme. And Sky Net channel which is a privateowed TV channel broadcasts the New Year celebration of national races as well. With respect to the question of U Tin Maung Oo of Shwepyitha Constituency on “How to deal with the disappearance of one-side features of media houses which is the country’s fourth estate, emergence of journals that can actually reflect the people’s wishes and desires, getting rid of self-interested people for the publication of journals with affordable investments and measures to protect young reporters for promoting their skills and qualifications,” the Deputy Minister replied: Since the new government takes office, Ministry of Information has been supervising the media world through press scrutiny policies for the disappearance of one-side features of media houses which is the country’s fourth estate. Media men on their parts are to do their works with the sense of liberty and accountability, rationality. When the press law comes out, works are to done in line with the law. Such biased articles and news might disappear from media world if media men and people do not enjoy it.
There should be freedom and accountability and freedom and rationality for quality fourth estate for publishing unbiased periodicals expressing the people’s desire with dignity. Based on national interest they must present an issue from various angles for pubic information.
Five policies have been laid down to ensure unity in democracy in the literary world. In the future an organization like Press Council formed in accord with the law will supervise the work.
At present measures are being taken in accord with the rules to enable people with correct attitude to publish journals with small capita and to curb undisciplined businesses and offenders. When the new publishing law comes into force people will have to control the literary world within its framework.
The Ministry of Information and Myanmar Writers and Journalist Association are jointly conducting basic journalism course, and special journalism course. International scholars as well as internal experienced journalists have been invited to give lectures. Three basic journalism courses have produced about 150 young journalists. Two basic writers’ courses have also produced about 100 new writers. In the future an organization like Press Council and MWJA will conduct courses, workshops, seminars, Moreover, publishers and printing houses will also contribute to enhancing qualifications of journalists. Journalists themselves will have to strive with conviction for emergence of a true fourth estate and efficient journalists.
Information Ministry is carrying out supervision work in accord with 12 rules at present. Preparations are being made to enact a publishing law in conformity with the constitution. Publishing laws of about 20 countries have been studied to stipulate rights, ethics, responsibilities, policies in the law. All will have to observe this law.
The proposal on the enactment of National University law submitted by Thura U Aung Ko of Kanpetlet Constituency on 15 February was discussed by nine representatives.
U Kyaw Naing Htay of Indaw Constituency said legal and special cases assessment commission should be assigned to promote education of Myanmar. U Than Nwe of Budalin Constituency said if a National University where various subjects can be pursued is established, first it must be a research university. Scholars should be sent abroad for further studies as a National University needs qualified teachers. So only the initial work should be carried out at present.
Dr Mya Oo of Ngazun Constituency said the foundations are good and they are on the path to reach the level of National University. Arrangements are under way to modernize the University Law. So the proposal is not necessary.
U Aung Hsan of Singu Constituency said the establishment of such a university should be taken into consideration only at the time when nation’s financial power is strong. It is unnecessary at present. It must be put on record. Daw Nan Wah Nu of Kunhing Constituency said it is time powers should be entrusted to universities to have opportunities to produce qualified intellectuals and intelligentsia for the nation.
U Ba Shein of Kyaukpyu Constituency said necessary laws should be enacted to set up a National University for the nation’s university education to develop according to the advancement of time.
Dr Daw Aye Myint of Shwedaung Constituency said a politics-free and independent National University law should be enacted at an appropriate time to set up the university.
U Mahn Maung Maung Nyan of Pantanaw Constituency said such a university is appropriate and the work to set up the university should be based on the financial situation of the Ministry of Education. U Tin Maung of Chanmyathazi Constituency said the idea is good but the time is still early. There will be difficulties to realize the goal at a time when the nation is facing a budget deficit for fiscal year 2012-2013.
Deputy Minister for Education U Ba Shwe replied saying the nation needs global level national universities for national pride. Hence Yangon University and Mandalay University have been designated as research universities. Like the international autonomous universities, they too have independent administration.
It would be better if the two universities (Yangon and Mandalay) should have been transited into autonomous universities for the first step to turn into a model one. If so, it is needless to cost the mentioned cost for those. That is why the proposal is to be recorded.
Thura U Aung Ko submitted the proposal to the Hluttaw to be discussed. The Hluttaw would put the proposal on record for there were “no” ballots more than “yes”. U Soe Win of Sangyoung Constituency submitted the proposal “gems and jewellery shouldn’t be sold as raw materials, but value added ones.”
In his response to the proposal, Union Minister for Mines U Thein Htaik said that though incomparable jades, gems and pearls can be seen in Myanmar due to its favourable conditions, our country is weak not only for making jewellery and decorating modernized objects but also skillfulness and investments, and tourism industry in Myanmar is less than our neighbouring countries and ASEAN member countries, and it is still becoming developing condition; and that only when those are put on sale in foreign countries not only as natural state but also as jewellery by decorating objects, it would get better for Myanmar if compared with current condition, besides keeping in creating job prospects and making gems market of Nay Pyi Taw firmly permanent.
Union Minister U Thein Htaik urged U Soe Win of Sangyoung Constituency to withdraw his proposal because it differs from present conditions and seems to weaken gems market of Nay Pyi Taw.
The Hluttaw decided to add the proposal into a record list to be put into action at the time when it is needed. Today’s meeting ended at 4:20 pm and the Hluttaw announced starting time and date of the sixth day’s meeting.