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December 16, 2019

Don’t rush planning laws

The supposed final version of the bill for Yangon City Development Law has been drafted and it is reported to be read at the Hluttaw before approval.
A team of 31 experts and nine members of parliament deliberated the previous version of the bill for six months but had to further revise it again when the professional community criticized some sections of the bill which were considered to be unfair or unnecessary. U Soe Myint Tun, a qualified senior engineer, said some of the issues in the previous version of the bill was a clause in section 409 that would fine contractors, architects, engineers or civil engineers working without a license from the YCDC. This meant that any engineer or architect already registered to the engineering council or architect council will have to apply to the YCDC for an additional license.
Hopefully the latest version will have addressed all the issues professionals had concerns over. This is a good example of how planning or amending a law has to be in line with the livelihoods of the people it serves to protect. It needs to be given serious thought while at the same time understanding the bigger picture and the practical needs of the citizens and those affected.
This is why previous generations had a saying not to “law” Law, i.e. not to rush law (rush in Myanmar is pronounced the same as “law”). Our country has had some history of using professionals and their words as a banner without actual in-depth analysis on the subject. This needs to be changed if we want laws that have practical effects for the people.
A definite vision needs to be decided on when drawing up a city development plan. Do you want the city to become an economic center, a city that upholds cultural heritage, or a concrete jungle? City development
should ensure that a city operates smoothly, upholds high standards of cleanliness and exudes a sense of safety to its inhabitants.
Laws enacted in the past for city development may not be relevant to the needs of modern society, so they must be reviewed and amended to guide the city’s development into a thriving metropolis. Current issues in Yangon that need solutions are traffic jams, overpopulation in some areas, and better roads and infrastructure.
The law must also reflect the qualifications of the people who will lead the development plans so that a high standard is maintained. In the new democratic age the government should also listen to the people’s voice as they are the ones who are living in the city and they know what they may need. Maybe then, in the time of the people’s government, there will be laws that reflect the needs of the people and improve their lives.

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