December 17, 2016

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one more debate— Amyotha Hluttaw members give nod to State Counsellor Bill

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi smiles with army Union ministers appointed by army the handover ceremony of presidency in Nay Pyi Taw.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi smiles with army Union ministers appointed by army the handover ceremony of presidency in Nay Pyi Taw.

THE proposed State Counsellor Bill that would create the post of the State Counsellor for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in the new cabinet was passed by the Amyotha Hluttaw (Upper House) by 137 to 68 votes.
The bill, reviewed by The Global New Light of Myanmar, would guarantee Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s right to contact government ministries, departments, organisations, association and individuals for counsel. She will be accountable in her duties to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
During the debate yesterday military representatives of the upper house derided the bill as being possibly unconstitutional.
Brig-Gen Khin Maung Aye, Defense Service personnel Amyotha Hluttaw representative, debated that though the State Counsellor Bill under discussion is said to be aimed at contributing to and supporting the interests of the State and all Myanmar citizens the bill seems to be intended to vest both legislative and executive power in a sole individual belonging to one political party. The bill is found to adversely effect Article 11 (a) of the constitution, which is an important basic principle, he added.
Article 11 (a) says, “The three pillars of the Sovereign power of the State— the legislative power, the executive power and the judiciary power shall be separated as much as possible and counter balance one another”.
He also suggested the bill be revised to bring it more in line with the constitution before it is enacted into law.    “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has already gained rights to advise the President, the two Vice-presidents and other Union ministers as she is also the Union minister at the President’s Office. So, contrary to the basic principle of power sharing described in the constitution, involvement in other legislative matters is contrary to the constitution,” said Brig-Gen Khin Maung Aye, Defense Service personnel Amyotha Hluttaw representative, told to reporters.
In his discussion, Col Hla Win Aung, another military representative of the upper house Amyotha, said that a law, if it must be enacted, should be clearly aimed at upholding the public interest over personal interest, pointing out that the bill is likely to be drafted for an individual as its section 4 of Chapter Three states the name of the individual.
Likewise, Col Myin Swe put forward his thoughts that provisions of the bill do not conform to the Constitution as the bill goes far beyond its provisions.
Meanwhile some elected MPs suggested seeking a bipartisan resolution for the bill at the Constitutional Tribunal.
However, Dr Myat Nyana Soe, secretary of Amyotha Hluttaw Bill Committee, called for parliamentary approval of the bill as 13 members agreed that the bill was drafted and submitted to the Parliament for the sake of the people.
He also clarified his understanding the bill, saying that the position of state counsellor would grant duties and rights only in relation to giving advice and gave no provision for the making of serious decisions or giving direct instructions.
The bill allows the state counsellor the right to give advice to governmental institutions, organisations and individuals as long as that advice is not contrary to the constitution and makes the position accountable to the Pyidaugsu Hllutaw, he added.
The bill includes five chapters and eight articles. The term of the office for the State Counsellor is the same as that of the president, who will be in office throughout the duration of the term of current second parliament, according to the bill.
The bill is aimed at helping create a multi-party democracy in Myanmar and to build a peaceful, modern and developed nation with a market-oriented economic system and to establish a democratic, free federal Union.
MPs of Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) will debate the bill next Monday at the parliament.

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