ANP lawmaker censured by Win Myint over Rakhine conflict comments

NAY PYI TAW — U Win Myint issued a stern warning to Arakan National Party MP Daw Khin Saw Wai in a private meeting on Wednesday, reproaching her for criticizing the Pyithu Hluttaw speaker on social media after parliament rejected a proposal to discuss recent armed conflict in Rakhine State.

Before a joint parliamentary session on Tuesday, Khin Saw Wai told media in Nay Pyi Taw she was prevented from submitting a proposal that urged relief efforts be made for civilians displaced by recent skirmishes between the Arakan Army and the military. She later took to Facebook to say she would continue to demand that parliament discussed the proposal after consultations with other ANP lawmakers.

U Win Myint said on Wednesday that Khin Saw Wai’s proposal had been rejected because it was a figleaf for attempt to open political negotiations between the Arakan Army and the government.

“Her proposal was denied… not because the Pyithu Speaker didn’t want the state to help those displaced by battles,” he said during the parliamentary session. “We found the discussion led to allowing the Arakan Army into political talks under the guise of helping war victims. It is inconsistent with discussions in relation to the proposal.”

Unlike a similar motion tabled at the same time in the Amyotha Hluttaw, Khin Saw Wai’s proposal made no mention of political talks with the Arakan Army which was one of three active ethnic armed groups excluded from last year’s national ceasefire talks by the former government.

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In explaining his reasons for denying the proposal, Win Myint invoked the three national causes — non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and perpetuation of sovereignty — proclaimed by the former military junta the day it seized power in September 1988.

“Any proposal that will damage these laws has been prohibited,” he told parliament.

The Arakan Army has clashed with the Tatmadaw on dozens of occasions since hostilities recommenced in Kyauktaw Township last December.

An April 28 briefing by the UN Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that some 1,100 people were currently displaced by the conflict, a number that Khin Saw Wai estimated on Wednesday had risen as high as 2,000.

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