Police upgrade motion divides Yangon Hluttaw

By SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

YANGON — The Yangon assembly has split over a motion to bolster the region’s overstretched police force, voting narrowly in favour of a proposal to improve equipment and resources to the constabulary.

U Yan Aung (NLD, Mingalar Taung Nyunt-2) took to the floor on Tuesday to question Col. Tin Aung Tun, the regional security minister, on whether there was a plan to expand staffing across the police force and judiciary, along with upgrading equipment for serving police officers.

He cited conditions at the police station in Dala, where promises for an upgrade in 2013 had not been met and officers still lived in squalid conditions, adding that the government had not taken responsibility for civil servants in dire need of better support.

“We are ashamed to see the situation of police in the country,” he told lawmakers. “We want the people to know this.”

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Tin Aung Tun shot back that understaffing and budget shortfalls were a problem across Myanmar, and the matter would be better addressed by the Union Parliament.

“There is no department with enough people, and there is always demand for more people in every sector of government,” he told the chamber.

Yan Aung’s motion, originally submitted for discussion on October 11, called on government departments to boost funding for weapons, station amenities and equipment, along with providing better housing to the families of police officers and members of the judiciary. The proposal is non-binding.

A total 13 NLD lawmakers spoke in favour of the proposal, which succeeded by 58 votes to 45, with 20 abstentions. Several NLD lawmakers joined the parliament’s military bloc to vote against the motion.

After the session, Yan Aung said he had no expectations that the regional government would follow the proposal, but wanted to show his support the police rank-and-file while demonstrating there was no longer any need to fear asking tough questions of senior officials.

“I am happy my proposal succeeded. It should be like that,” U Yan Aung said.

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