I am a Burmese exile taking a near-permanent refuge in New York and Sydney. Here are my essays about Burma and anything else I feel like writing about. And posting the articles I like from selected sites. Bridging Burma to the world this Blog is more of a Politically-Oriented Literary Blog than a Plain News Blog or a Sophisticated Thoughts Blog.
(This episode details the truly unique 15 minutes a day Union Parliament.)
The recently elected Union Parliament (Pyidaungzu Hluttaw) convened on Jan 31, 2011.
But it appears the Union Parliament of Burma did not or would not sit every weekday as a normal parliament from any civilized nation would be expected to do. Even if the Parliament sits in a particular day it would not sit for more than 20 minutes that day. On average the Union Parliament sits for only 15 minutes a day.
Apparently Than Shwe has learnt his lesson from Myint Aung’s refusal to serve as the Defense Minister and thus he re-programmed the Parliament schedule to go slow as to suit his tight but tricky selection of key persons from among the senior army officers.
On February 8 the second day of the Union Parliament, President-elect Thein Sein submitted the list of 34 proposed ministries and also the second list of 30 hand-picked ministers to the Union Parliament. Obviously both lists were handed to him by his real boss Than Shwe.
Here is Thein Sein’s list of 34 Ministries.
6.Agriculture and Irrigation.
7.Finance and Revenue.
9.National Planning and Economic development.
10.Commerce and Trade.
11.Communication and Post.
12.Welfare and Resettlement.
14.Animal Husbandry and Fishery.
19.Hotel and Tourism.
24.Electric Power I.
25.Electric power II.
30.Science and Technology.
31.Immigration and Manpower.
The Parliamentary session for that day started from 10 in the morning and finished at 12:45 in the same morning. It lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Than Shwe’s 34 Vs Myat Nyar-na Soe’s 25
On the third day February 9 the Union Parliament re-sat on 10 in the morning just to allow the debate on the list of 34 ministries proposed by the President-elect Thein Sein.
Unexpectedly Myat Nyar-na Soe the Member for the Rangoon Division No. 4 Constituency stood up and formally objected the proposed 34 ministries and submitted his own list of 25 ministries. He also proposed to appoint only 25 ministers for the 25 ministries. Here is his list of 25 ministries.
2.Health and Sport.
3.Commerce and Trade.
8.Border and Immigration.
14.Animal Husbandry and Fishery.
16.Culture and Tourism.
17.Agriculture and Irrigation.
19.Cooperative and Labor.
20.Religion and Welfare.
24.Science, technology, and Communication.
25.National Planning and Finance.
The main reason he was objecting to the list of 34 ministries was that there were only 18 ministries in the last BSPP Government and the proposed 34 ministries is just simply too many for him.
His objection was immediately rebutted by the present Information Minster ex-brigadier general Kyaw San the Member for the Sagaing Division Pale Constituency. He pointed out the fact that the neighboring India, China, Thailand, and Bangladesh have 56, 42, 35, and 37 ministries respectively. He also strongly stated that the 34 ministries proposed by the President-elect is not a one ministry less or more and thus just right for Burma.
After Kyaw San’s heated rebuttal Myat Nyar Na Soe stood up again and withdrew his formal objection. Then the secret voting by electronic button switch was called for and the proposed list of 34 ministries was passed by the 612 Yes and 5 Nae and 12 Absentee votes.
Than Shwe’s 30 Vs Myat Nyar-na Soe’s 25
During the same sitting the Union Parliament also tried to approve the number of ministers first as the number 30 was proposed by the President-elect. Only one objection was from Khun Lane the member for Chin State Falang Constituency. He asked the Parliament to appoint 34 ministers, i.e. one minister for every ministry.
After him the same Myat Nyar-na Soe stood up and withdrew his original proposal of 25 ministers as he now agreed to the President-elect’s 30 ministers. Then the secret voting by electronic button switch was called for and the proposed number of 30 ministers was passed by the 615 Yes and 7 Nae and 14 Absentee votes.
Once the motion was passed the list and names of 30 ministers selected by the President-elect was submitted and the Speaker of Parliament announced that the biographies of the proposed ministers would be available by the next day of February 10 and any member wanting to debate the matter should submit their names to the Office of Parliament. The list of 30 ministers is here. Almost all of them are army officers.
1.Lt. General Ko Ko. (DSA 19)
2.Maj. General Hla Min. (DSA 22)
3.Maj. General Thein Htay. (OTS 58)
4.U Wunna Maung Lwin. (DSA 16)
5.U Myint Hlaing. (DSA 17)
6.U Kyaw san. (DSA 11)
7.U Win Myint. (Chamber of Commerce & Industry)
8.U Tint San. (Ace Construction)
9.U Khin Maung Myint. (OTS 49)
10.U Thein Htun. (DSA 11)
11.U Hla Htun. (DSA 15)
12.U Thein Htaik. (DSA 16)
13.U Nyan Htun Aung. (DSA 11)
14.U Tin Naing Thein. (DSA 17)
15.U Win Htun. (DSA 15)
16.U Aung Kyi. (OTS 40)
17.U Ohn Myint. (DSA 17)
18.U Kyaw Zwa Khaing. (OTS 49)
19.U Soe Thein. (DSA 11)
20.U Than Htay. (DSA 18)
21.U Aung Min. (DSA 13)
22.Dr. Mya Aye.
23.Dr. Phe Thet Khin. (Rector, IM 1)
24.U Aye Myint. (OTS 49)
25.U Myint Maung. (OTS 32)
26.U Khin Yee. (DSA 17)
27.U Zaw Min. (DSA 15)
28.U Khin Maung Soe.
29.U Thein Nyunt. (DSA 12)
30.U Soe Maung. (DSA 17)
(DSA: Defense Services Academy. OTS: Officer Training School.)
And the second next day of February 11 was designated for the Union Parliament to sit and debate and confirm the ministerial appointments. The Parliamentary session was stopped on 11 in the morning of same day. And it was the long day for one sitting of Union Parliament as it had lasted a complete one hour.
Nominate and Confirm in 15 Minutes
The Union Parliament of Burma did not or would not sit every weekday as a normal parliament from any civilized nation would be expected to do. Even if the Parliament sits in a particular day it would not sit for more than 20 minutes that day. On average the Union Parliament sits for only 15 minutes a day. Apparently Than Shwe has learnt his lesson from Myint Aung’s refusal to serve as the Defense Minister and thus he re-programmed the Parliament schedule to go slow as to suit his tight but tricky selection of key persons.
So in every session of the Union Parliament the President-elect Thein Sein submitted the name or names of office holders for the various offices of State and the Union Parliament rubber-stamped them next session. And next few days the Union Parliament followed that pattern by nominating the selections by the President-elect Thein Sein and confirming the appointments next session.
On the fourth day February 11 the nominated list of 30 ministers was confirmed and Thein Soe, Dr. Tin Aung Aye, Daw Hla Myint, Htun Kyi, Soe Thein, Khin Htun, San Myint, Myint Kyaing, and Daw Mi Mi Yee were nominated as the Constitutional Court members and out of the nine Thein Soe as the Chairman of Constitutional Court. The session lasted 20 minutes.
On the fifth day February 14 the nine persons nominated were confirmed as the Constitutional Court Judges and out of the nine Thein Soe was confirmed as the Constitutional Court Chairman. Seven was nominated for the number of Election Commission members. The session lasted 15 minutes.
On the sixth day February 15 seven as the number of Election Commission members including the Chairman was confirmed and seven also was nominated as the number of Supreme Court Judges including the Chief Judge. The session lasted 10 minutes only.
On the seventh day February 16 the number of Supreme Court Judges including the Chief Judge was confirmed as seven and Htun Htun Oo was nominated as Union Supreme Court Chief Judge. The session lasted 15 minutes.
On the eighth day February 17 the nominee Htun Htun Oo was confirmed as the Supreme Court Chief Judge and Tin Aye was nominated as Union Election Commission Chairman. The session lasted 20 minutes.
On the ninth day February 18 the nominee Tin Aye was confirmed for the post of Union Attorney General and Dr. Htun Shin was nominated for the post of Union Auditor General. The session lasted 20 minutes.
On the tenth day February 21 the nominee Dr. Htun Shin was confirmed for the post of Union Attorney General and Lun Maung was nominated for the post of Union Auditor General. The session lasted 20 minutes.
On the eleventh day February 22 the nominee Lun Maung was confirmed for the post of Union Auditor General and Thar Htay, Soe Nyunt, Mya Thein, Myint Aung, Aung Zaw Thein, and Myint Han were nominated for the posts of Union Supreme Court Judges. The session lasted 15 minutes.
On the twelfth day February 24 the six persons nominated as the Supreme Court Judges were confirmed and Myint Naing, Aung Myint, Dr. Daw Myint Kyi, Tha Oo, Win Kyi, and Nyunt Tin were nominated for the Union Election Commission. The session lasted 15 minutes.
On the thirteenth day February 25 the members nominated for the Union Election Commission were confirmed and the Union Parliament took a recess till March 1 when the People Parliament (Lower House) and the National parliament (Upper House) will meet again. The session lasted 20 minutes.
According to the Myanmar-Ahlin Newspaper the People Parliament and the National Parliament will meet separately to begin the process of forming parliamentary committees and introducing draft bills.
Than Shwe and Min Aung Hlaing
Apparently Than Shwe with the support of his henchman Min Aung Hlaing has been shuffling the crucial army officers around as if he was in a deadly serious chess game. Min Aung Hlaing’s troops have already put General Myint Aung and many of his followers under house arrest since last week. This translated extract is part of a leak communication from the War Office in Naypyidaw.
Dated 27 February 2011
I would like to report that the current situation is getting worse as the friction inside both armed forces and the present cabinet is increasing. At present it is becoming real difficult to organize the political structure as planned. The disagreement among the young generals and the present ministers for the placement of future cabinet positions is no longer containable especially among the young officers.
So now I am trying to implement the planned political restructuring as fast as possible but if the situations worsen I will have difficulties to follow your exact orders in the near future. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Concerning current situations inside the armed forces we need to act. This weekend I am meeting the present ministers and also the Brigadier and Major Generals now under house arrest. I want you to attend the meeting on this Sunday. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Receive-Min Aung Hlaing
I’ve arranged for a meeting with the Brigadier and Major Generals now under house arrest and General Maung Aye. If we can’t coordinate the situations our way your group needs to act decisively. We need to prepare to force them retire or even put them in jail (including Maung Aye) if situations ask for the serious action. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Oh God, please deliver us the people of Burma from our suffering under the army thugs!