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February 17, 2019

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw debate on Joint Committee to implement steps to amend Constitution

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker U T Khun Myat. Photo: MNA
Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker U T Khun Myat. Photo: MNA

Aung Ye Thwin, Aye Aye Thant (MNA)

Fifth-day meeting of 11th regular session of Second Pyidaungsu Hluttaw was held in the Main Hall of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in Nay Pyi Taw and Hluttaw representatives debated an urgent motion tabled by U Aung Kyi Nyunt of Magway Region constituency 4 to form a Joint Committee consisting of Hluttaw members in order to expeditiously implement steps to be taken towards amending the 2008 Constitution.
Daw Thandar of Einme constituency stated that Myanmar as well as other countries of the world occasionally amend, redraft or revise laws and have also made new enactments which would suit the changing political, administrative, and economic systems and conditions. Daw Thandar states that she solemnly supports this proposal. She emphasises that this proposal is only a preliminary step towards amending the Constitution in conformity with the wishes of all the ethnic nationals and the people. She therefore urgently supports the proposal.
U Maung Myint of Mingin constituency stated that he agreed in principle that the Constitution should be amended but he stated that it needs to be done in conformity with the rules and procedures. He stated that he could not accept steps that are taken in violation of the procedures and laws. He objected to the statement made by a NLD party member who claimed that works conducted at First Pyidaungsu Hluttaw amounted to a precedent (which must be followed by the current Hluttaw). U Maung Myint expressed his view that the claim made by the proposer of the motion that it was done so in conformity with Rule 66 and that the proposal does not involve sections 433, 434 and 435 of the Constitution is wrong. He stated that if the constitution is to be amended sections 443, 444 and 445 of the constitution cannot be put in abeyance.
U Maung Myint argued that the motion was tabled as an urgent motion and it must meet the five points stated under Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Rules 66 (a). Of the five, 66 (a) (2) states that the urgent motion must be about a current or contemporaneous matter and also that is an important matter affecting or involving the people which requires the decision of the Hluttaw.
The Constitution was adopted in 2008 and since then ten years had passed. As such, there is no urgency in amending it and it is not acceptable to table an urgent motion on this issue. Rule 66 (a) (3) of Hluttaw stated that urgent motions can be made only for matters that could not be submitted and discussed in the Hluttaw in the usual ways. U Maung Myint stated that could have in good faith be conducted in conformity with Sections 433, 434 and 435 of the Constitution. Therefore U Maung Myint stated that the motion does not meet the criteria of an urgent motion.

The Constitution is our Mother Law and Section 433 (a) specifically stated on amendment motion is to be tabled as a bill. Hence tabling an urgent motion to form a committee to amend violates the Constitution. Section 434 states that amendment is to be tabled to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw if there is an amendment bill, it has to be tabled to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw accordingly.
Section 435 stated that if an amendment bill is tabled by 20 percent of the Hluttaw representatives, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw is required to discuss the bill. He believed that it shouldn’t be that difficult to get signatures of 20 percent of the Hluttaw representatives.
Hluttaw is a top legislative body and if Hluttaw itself doesn’t follow the laws and rules, it will be a black mark in the history and thus he solemnly objected the motion tabled by U Aung Kyi Nyunt in order that this black mark is not recorded in history.
Daw Htu May of Rakhine State constituency 11 said that the process to amend the Constitution must be transparent and must be all inclusive. The committee to amend the Constitution should include international experts, legal experts and representatives of ethnic parties in the Hluttaw. For the sake of ethnic nationals, children, women and elderly persons who are suffering from the ravages of war and for those young persons whose lives were ended so prematurely, she solemnly supports the urgent motion proposing the formation of a Joint Committee consisting of Hluttaw members to expeditiously implement steps to be taken towards amending the Constitution.

U Soe Htay of Kawkareik constituency said when a democracy federal union is being established where multi-party system is practised and amendment of the Constitution could not be effected comprehensively, speedily and in a good way if done
by a single person, party or race. Only a joint committee comprising of such persons can successfully and smoothly achieve this task. Therefore he supports the motion proposed by U Aung Kyi Nyunt.
Forming a Joint Committee is a preliminary process towards amending the Constitution according to the relevant laws and rules. Just as the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw came about from the 2008 Constitution and being elected by the people it also has a concurrent duty amend the Constitution according to the wishes of the people. He supports the motion to form the joint committee since it is a most practical way to achieve the aim of amending the constitution.
U Lal Min Htan of Chin State constituency 10 said that only through the timely amendments of certain Constitutional provisions which ought to be amended can the people and country develop expeditiously among the three pillars of government namely the executive, the judiciary and the legislature the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has the duty to amend the Constitution. The motion is also being tabled in conformity with rule 66 of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. After the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw discusses and approves it, a Joint Committee consisting of Hluttaw members will be formed. After the formation of the committee and based on the genuine desire of the people the task of making necessary amendments to the provisions which ought to be amended can systematically be implemented, only after such tasks are being implemented the process of taking the necessary steps to amend the constitutional provisions in accordance with Section 433, 434 and 435 can be made. Based on these reasons U Lal Min Htan said he supported the motion.

U Win Kyaing of Bago Region constituency 10 said by debating about and taking decisions regarding this urgent motion would increase the trust between ethnic national forces who are in the process of achieving peace and reconciliation. It could also help overcome or resolve obstacles to achieve internal peace. Since this is the most appropriate time and situation for the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw to consider, debate and decide on the matter he welcomes and supports the motion made by U Aung Kyi Nyunt.
U Sein Win of Maubin constituency said that for the country to develop, the relationship between ruler, the ruled and the Constitution must be fair and equitable. People’s representation was weak when 2008 Constitution was drafted. There are also weaknesses in check sand balances as it is being practised now. There are also very little conformity with democratic standards and norms. Some of the points stated in the Constitution are inconsistent and contradictory with each other. Under the current constitutional arrangements there are difficulties in establishing a federal union system and thus Constitutional provisions need to be amended. And to amend it properly and systematically a joint committee should be formed.
A Constitution is democratic only when the people themselves participated in drafting and enacting it. Only then can there be an administrative system that benefits the people. Now that the Hluttaw is being made with the genuine Pyidaungsu representatives representing the people, it is about time that the constitution be amended as demanded by the people.
That is why a joint committee proposed by U Aung Kyi Nyunt should be formed to amend the laws that lead towards a democracy system. Tatmadaw and all parties need to cooperate in fulfilling the will of the people. If required and if the majority agrees, a new one can be drawn up.

U La Mar Naw Aung of Ingyanyan constituency stated that in the current circumstances is facing difficulties politically, domestically, socially. Some of these difficulties are due to external involvement but some are inherent internal problems. As the systems and eras changes and develop, a policy of enhancing human values and general welfare should be adopted the outdated principles which did not benefit the people needs to be changed and improved upon. For the benefit of the people and to support the establishment of a democracy and a Federal Union he supports through the forming of a Constitution amendment Joint Committee.
Daw Wint War Tun of Shadaw constituency happily welcomes and support the forming of a committee consisting of multi-party, multi ethnic national brothers and sisters according to law. The motion was clearly written and the proposer of the motion has also clearly explained precisely and clearly. The State Counsellor said democracy starts from the Hluttaw and Hluttaw ifself arose from the people. As this is the first step of a process that had to be conducted for the benefits of the people who are sovereign, all are urged to work in collective strength with the welfare of the people and the country.
Dr. Myat Nyana Soe of Yangon Region constituency 3 said 2008 Constitution had been studied and reviewed repeatedly by organisations and entities within and outside the Hluttaw. The fact that the constitution needs to be amended has to be accepted unexceptionally as they reflect the true wish of the people. The proposer of the motion has already stated that the formation of the committee does not violate or involve Sections 433, 434 and 435 of Chapter XII of the Constitution.
The work concerning constitutional amendment shouldn’t be conducted by a single person, party or organisation. It must be all inclusive. Whenever amendment is mentioned people only see Chapter XII which deals with Amendment of the Constitution. But the sections in the Chapter does not restrict formation of a joint committee. It is not appropriate that exclusive focus is made only on the world “amendment”.

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw is to determine who are to participate, what are the terms of reference and duration of the committee and other conditions. In order to eventually produce a draft bill where the members after the Hluttaw members consult and coordinate with each other the formation of a joint committee is a necessity.
The Constitution must reflect the will of the people and comform to the wishes of ethnic nationals. It should be also goes hand in hand with the eternal peace that is being sought through the auspices of the 21st Century Panglong Conference. Now is the time when the will of the people need to be fulfilled by our Pyidaungsu Hluttaw representatives. Now is the historic time to create history to there is a need to world hand in hand with the people said Dr Myat Nyana Soe.
The motion was debated by U Wai Sein Aung of Rakhine State constituency 1, U Sai Tun Aye of Mongshu constituency, Daw Mi Kun Chan of Paung constituency, U Tin Aye of Metmung constituency, U Myint Naing of Rakhine State constituency 5, Daw Ni Ni May Myint of Taungup constituency, U Oo Hla Saw of MraukU constituency, U Hla Oo of Sagaing Region constituency 4, U Thaung Aye of Pyawbwe constituency, U Nyi Sein of Shan State constituency 5, U Nay Lin Aung of Mindat constituency, U Tin Aung Tun of Magway Region constituency 5, U His Hu Dwe of Kachin State constituency 2, U Kyaw Aung Lwin of Sedoktara constituency, U Thine Tun of Kyaunggon constituency, U Naing Thiha of Mon State constituency 7, Dr. Khun Win Thaung of Kachin State constituency 11, U Sai Thant Zin of Hsipaw constituency, U Sai Oo Khem of Hsenwi constituency and U Win Htoo of Namsang constituency.
The sixth day meeting of the 11th regular session of the Second Pyidaung Hluttaw will be held today.

(Translated by Zaw Min and Myint Zan)

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