NAY PYI TAW — The government will not release a list of ministers’ assets, according to senior officials, despite the National League for Democracy having pressed U Thein Sein’s administration to do the same back in 2012.
U Zaw Htay, the deputy director general of the President’s Office, told Frontier that all members of the national had sent lists of their personal assets to the president in May, as required by section 101 of the Union Government Law. State and region government members have also sent their assets, he said.
However, the government does not plan to make the details public.
“The president has kept the list in accord with the law,” he said, noting that there was no requirement in the law to do so.
But four years ago, the NLD had pressured U Thein Sein’s government to release a list of the moveable and immoveable assets of its cabinet, as well as the state and region administrations.
U Win Myint, who is now speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw, submitted the proposal in July 2012, arguing it was necessary for “good governance and clean government” – both values that the NLD claims to embody. His proposal was seconded by seven other MPs from the NLD.
At the time, Attorney General Dr Tun Shin said that if parliament believed the asset lists should be released it should amend the constitution to require the government to do so. However, he also noted that checks and balances should be “reciprocal”, and suggested that if government ministers have to reveal their assets then so should members of the judiciary and legislature.
The proposal was then voted down 271 to 68.
U Tun Tun Hein, the chair of the lower house bill committee, said the legislature would not press the government to release the asset lists.
“We’re not considering it at all,” he told Frontier.
Prior to last year’s election, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi directed all NLD candidates to declare their assets to party headquarters. Tun Tun Hein, a party central executive committee member, said this would not be made public either.
The constitution has only minimal requirements for asset disclosure. Section 68 states that the president and two vice presidents must send a list of “family assets under his direction, namely land, houses, buildings, businesses, savings and other valuables together with their values to the Head of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw”.
Frontier could not confirm whether the president and vice presidents have already sent their lists.
In an interview last year, senior NLD official U Win Htein said the party was committed to ensuring clean government.
“We are offering change. We have promised a government that will be corruption free, because for many years in government, the higher up they are, the more corrupt they become,” he said in October.