Alleged militia leader among NLD speaker picks

NAY PYI TAW — The National League for Democracy on Thursday morning announced its nominations for the speakers of the next term of Union Parliament, including a returned Union Solidarity and Development Party lawmaker alleged to have led a private militia force in northern Shan State.

U T. Khun Myat, the USDP MP for Shan State’s Kutkai Township and currently the chairman of the Lower House Bill Committee, will be put forward as deputy speaker, according to Thursday’s announcement by NLD spokesman U Win Htein.

In 2011, the Shan Herald Agency for News published an investigative series into members of the Union Parliament with alleged ties to the drug trade, which claimed the ethnic Kachin U T. Khun Myat was a key leader of the 600-strong Kutkai militia, based around 25 kilometres north of Lashio.

A report from the Shan Herald Agency for News, titled ‘Druglords in Parliament’, alleged that the Kutkai militia was responsible for transporting drugs through Kutkai Township.

Elsewhere, the news agency reported that one of its sources claimed U T. Khun Myat was a shareholder in the Myanmar Mayflower Bank, closed by the former military junta in 2005 amid allegations the bank was involved in laundering money from the country’s drug trade.

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Other names revealed

Aside from T. Khun Myat’s selection, there were few surprises in Thursday morning’s announcement.

U Win Htein confirmed the selection of U Win Myint and U Win Khaing Than as the party’s candidates for Lower and Upper House speaker, respectively. Under the provisions of the 2008 Constitution, U Win Khaing Than will be Union Parliament speaker for the first two and a half years of the parliamentary session, while U Win Myint will serve in the post for the remainder of the term.

U Aye Thar Aung, a central executive committee member of the Rakhine National Party, and the most senior member of that party in Union Parliament after RNP chairman U Aye Maung lost his seat, will be nominated as Deputy Speaker of the Upper House.

Last week, NLD executive member U Nyan Win told AFP that U Win Myint and U Win Khaing Than would be nominated, along with a Kachin lawmaker and an RNP lawmaker.

His comments earned him a rebuke from the NLD, which issued a statement on Friday afternoon announcing that only party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had the authority to speak on matters related to Myanmar’s political transition.

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