October 18, 2016

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The Legislative Process of Myanmar Hluttaws

Dr. Htoo Maung

All legislative proposals must be brought in the form of Bills before the Hluttaws. Subject to the provision of the Constitution, Bills may be introduced in either Pyithu Hluttaw or Amyotha Hluttaw or Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, Bills are classified into Public Bill and Private Bill. Public Bills are sponsored by Union level organizations and Private Bills are sponsored by member of Hluttaws.
Normally, the Bill to be introduced shall be submitted (30) days before the session commences. The Speaker may consider the bills submitted beyond the time limitation, if there is a reasonable ground.
Regarding to the submission of a Bill in accord with the law, the restriction of the Constitution should be carefully noted.
Under Section 100 (a) of the Constitution, the Union level organizations shall have the right to submit the Bills relating to matters they administered included in the Union legislative list of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in accord with the respective procedures. And also section 100 (b), Bills relating to national plans, annual budget and taxation, which are to be submitted exclusively by the Union Government shall be discussed and resolved at the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in accord with the respective procedures.
Three kinds of Bill such as national plans, annual budget and taxation can be introduced only by the Union Government to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. The Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw have no mandate to legislate them.
To initiate a public Bill the Ministry concerned has to work out the political , administrative, financial, economic and social implications of the proposal. Opinions of the legal and constitutional experts are obtained through the Union Attorney-General’s Office and INGOs and CSOs. Afterwards, a memorandum is submitted to the Cabinet for approval. The proposal is then converted into a Bill.
The Bill as drafted, is examined in detail by the Union Attorney-General. Sometimes the Bill may have to be drafted several times before it can meet all the requirements. After the draft of the Bill has been finalized, the Ministry concerned forward the proposal to the Cabinet for consideration and approval. With the decision of the Cabinet the Bill is submitted to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
The works of the Bill Committee begins when the Pyithu Hluttaw receives the Bill from the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, The Bill Committee is responsible to distribute the copies of the Bill to all representative of the Pyithu Hluttaw in time. On the fixed date, the Minister or the Deputy Minister concerned, shall introduce the Bill at the Pyithu Hluttaw session.
If such an introduction is accepted for further discussion at the Hluttaw, publication of the Bill in Gazette is done for taking public opinion and the Bill is referred to Bill Committee. If the introduction of a Bill is rejected, the Speaker shall announce the rejection. Until now in the Pyithu Hluttaw, no Public Bill (Government’s Bill) has been rejected so far yet.
The Bill Committee, on receipt of the Bill referred by the Speaker, shall make a report and send to the Speaker within seven days. Due to the time limitations, members of the Committee shall held a meeting without delay.
The first meeting within the Bill Committee, the following procedures are carried out;
– Invitation of related Hluttaw Committees and Commission to discuss the Bill;
– Invitation of related Ministries and organizations including civil society for necessary questioning;
– Fixing the date for discussion;
On the fixed date, the said Committees and Ministries together with members of Bill Committee and members of the Commission for Legal Affairs and Special Issues, the Bill is discussed exclusively. Based on discussion in the meeting, the conclusion for scrutinizing is drawn for necessary amendments. The whole discussion is recorded and the report to submit to Pyithu Hluttaw is prepared in a prescribed procedure.
The report along with meeting records and how the Bill was scrutinized shall be sent to the Speaker. On the fixed date, the Ministry that initiated the Bill shall submit the original Bill before the Hluttaw, The report of the Bill Committee and the comparison of the two Bills are distributed to members of Hluttaw before the scheduled session convenes. The report of the Bill Committee shall be read and submitted by one of the Committee members at the session. After the reading, the Speaker shall invite members of Hluttaw to discuss the Bill. Members who seek to scrutinize or amend the bill shall be registered in accord with the rules and procedures of the Hluttaw within the specific time. The Speaker may decide the next session to discuss the matter. On the scheduled session, the Bill shall be discussed word by word or paragraph by paragraph in detail and the resolutions shall be drawn at Pyithu Hluttaw.
The Bill passed by the Pyithu Hluttaw shall be sent to the Amyotha Hluttaw to continue to discuss and resolve. The Amyotha Hluttaw may make agree or disagree, or agree with amendments in accord with the resolution of Pyithu Hluttaw, the Bill shall be sent back to Pyithu Hluttaw together with the resolution of Amyotha Hluttaw. If the Pyithu Hluttaw accepts the amendments of the Amyotha Hluttaw, it shall send to the Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw for further process. If disagrees, it shall take the resolution of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
In this regard, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw is the highest law maling organ of the state, all bills shall be introduced through the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. The two Hluttaws, shall scrutinize the bill referred to them in accord with the procedures.
If the scrutinization of a Bill is agreed and approved by both Hluttaws, it shall be deemed that the Bill is approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
If there is a disagreement between the two Hluttaws, the Bill shall be discussed and resolved in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. The Joint Bill Committee shall review the differences and submit a report to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw for further discussion and resolution.
After a Bill has been passed by both Hluttaws or resolution has been made at the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, the Bill must be obtained the comment or consent of the President. The President shall sign the Bills within fourteen days after the day of receipt of the Bill and shall promulgate it as law. Within the prescribed period, the President may also return the Bill to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw with his recommendations for reconsideration. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, after discussion of the President’s comments, may accept his comment and resolve to amend the Bill or may resolve to approve the Bill as it is without accepting the President’s comment. After receiving the Bill back, the President shall sign the Bill and promulgate it as law within the period of seven days. If it is not signed by the President within that day, it shall become law as if he had signed it on the last day of the prescribed period. This is just a brief account of how a Bill has to be passed through many processes to become a law.


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