Parliament votes to continue Legal Affairs commission after Tatmadaw objections

By NYAN HLAING LYNN | FRONTIER

NAY PYI TAW — The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has voted to keep in place a legal affairs committee headed by former Pyithu Hluttaw speaker U Shwe Mann, despite objections from some military-appointed parliamentarians.

The group was given only a one-year term and parliamentarians were tasked with voting whether or not to continue with it on Monday, which it did with 333 votes in favour, 189 against and six choosing to abstain.

Tatmadaw representative Brigadier Maung Maung said the commission could be allowed for the Pyithu or Amyotha hluttaws, but not for the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.

“That’s why we want to submit that the proposal is unconstitutional for the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw to form a commission,” said Maung Maung.

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“The commission has nothing to comment about the Tatmadaw’s objection,” said U Tin Maung Oo, a member of the commission. “Based on past experiences, the commission is valuable for the country. The country can have no bad effect for it,” he said.

Shwe Mann was formerly chairman of the military-linked Union Solidarity and Development Party.

He was ousted from the top job in a dramatic late-night coup in Nay Pyi Taw in August 2015, after a rift between him and then-President U Thein Sein spilled over into public.

The Commission for the Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Cases was formed early last year, with Shwe Mann was announced as its chairman shortly afterward.

It was tasked with proposing amendments or the abolishment of existing laws, and in April 2016 recommended that 142 of Myanmar’s laws be scrapped, amended or rewritten.

These included the infamous Emergency Provisions Act and Peaceful Assembly Law, which were both used to jail dissidents when the country was under military rule.

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