Rakhine assembly rejects advisory commission after Annan tour

By SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

YANGON —  Members of the Rakhine Hluttaw took to the floor on Wednesday in a successful proposal to condemn the government’s Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, following the failure of a similar motion in the Union Parliament last month.

The commission, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has faced criticism from the ANP, Rakhine civil society groups and Buddhist nationalist organisations since it was announced by the government in late August.

Mr. Annan’s inaugural visit to Rakhine State as commission chair was greeted by a jeering crowd at Sittwe Airport, and the ANP has vowed to boycott any involvement with the body.

U Kyaw Zwa Oo (ANP, Sittwe-2), who proposed the motion on Monday, spoke in support of the proposal along with around 11 party colleagues, two Union Solidarity and Development Party MPs and a military representative.

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The motion passed without objection, the lawmaker told Frontier on Thursday.

“We don’t need to answer why we don’t like Kofi Annan, we are not making any objection to Kofi Annan, we just don’t agree to these terms [for the commission],” he told Frontier on Thursday.

Kyaw Zwa Oo cited Annan’s use of the word “Rohingya” in a press conference last week as evidence that the advisory commission was not in the interests of the state’s ethnic Rakhine population.

National League for democracy members did not speak to Wednesday’s motion. U Naing Kway Aye (NLD, Thandwe-2) told Frontier that he had not objected to the proposal because it reflected local sentiment against the advisory body.

Earlier this month, ANP lawmakers submitted a proposal to remove Annan and the other two foreign members of the nine-member commission.

Parliament permitted debate on the motion, which was later soundly defeated.

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