Parliament halts discussion on Rakhine after military objection to ‘dictator’ remarks

By NYAN HLAING LYNN | FRONTIER

NAY PYI TAW — The Amyotha Hluttaw has scrubbed part of its Tuesday session from the record, after military MPs objected to a lawmaker characterising the long-running conflict in Rakhine State as the fault of the former ruling junta.

During a discussion of the present situation in Rakhine, Daw Ei Ei Pyone (National League for Democracy, Ayeyarwady-8) gave a speech blaming the state’s lack of development and communal tensions on a “bad dictatorial regime”.

She added that the emergence of “terrorist movements” in the state, a reference to last year’s attacks on security posts by the Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army, had arising from corruption around the citizenship scrutiny process which successive governments had failed to resolve.

Ei Ei Pyone also said that the security situation in Rakhine was tenuous despite the Tatmadaw’s large budget, provoking a strong reaction from military appointees in the chamber.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

Major-General Than Soe rose to complain about the NLD MP’s comments, telling the chamber that the military “does not accept that we are spending a lot of the budget”.

“There’s another thing to ask,” Than Soe said. “What did she mean ‘bad dictatorial regime’? Who did she mean? We want to know clearly. We don’t accept the branding of successive governments as bad dictatorial regimes.”

He then demanded that Amyotha Hluttaw speaker U Mahn Win Khaing Than expunge Ei Ei Pyone’s comments from the parliamentary record, a request that was promptly granted.

U Okkar Min (NLD, Tanintharyi-8), stood up to object to the decision, but his speech could not be heard in the chamber because the speaker would not allow him the use of a microphone.

“We accept that the country is in a democratic transitional period,” Okkar Min told reporters after the session. “But every person knows what a dictatorial regime we had in the past.”

Lawmakers had been discussing a broader proposal moved by U Khin Maung Latt (Arakan National Party, Rakhine-3).

His proposal urged the government to take action against ARSA and other insurgent movements in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships.

Discussion of the proposal is continuing through the rest of the week.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar