By NYAN HLAING LYNN | FRONTIER
NAY PYI TAW — The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has voted in favour of forming two new ministries aimed at easing the workload of the current administration, in one of the largest shake-ups of government since the National League for Democracy came to power almost 20 months ago.
On November 23, parliament voted in favour of establishing the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government and the Ministry of International Cooperation, which had both been proposed by President U Htin Kyaw on November 20.
The new ministries will be manned by existing civil servants, and no new staff members will be hired, said Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo.
U Thaung Tun is to be appointed Minister for the Office of the Union Government, combining it with his role as National Security Advisor, a position he has held since January. Current Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, U Kyaw Tint, is set to be installed as Minister for International Cooperation.
Tun Tun Oo said that Thaung Htun’s office will handle cabinet issues, administration, planning and economic affairs, easing some of the workload of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is State Counsellor and Foreign Ministry, and also oversees a number of committees.
The Ministry of International Cooperation will also take on some of the responsibilities currently held by the foreign ministry, allowing Aung San Suu Kyi to handle other issues, such as receiving foreign guests and attending ceremonies, sources told Frontier.
“Now that Myanmar is actively participating in international affairs, with international relations cooperating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is essential to look at economic cooperation, as well as political issues,” Tun Tun Oo said in parliament.
Speaking during the session, Amyotha Hluttaw MP U Soe Thane (Independent, Kayah-9), who was a senior member of the U Thein Sein administration, urged the government to be careful when forming the new ministries.
“It is necessary to expand the cabinet, but sometimes the authority of institutions becomes overlapped, just like when a small boat is put on a big boat. So, we should be careful,” he said.
“If you are considering establishing two new ministries, you should review the rest of the ministries, you should review the rest of the ministries and expand them quickly so that the work of the NLD government will be more progressive and stronger,” he said.
Soe Thane also appeared to take issue with the appointment of Thaung Tun as minister, telling reporters after that he was a “former partner” of Hungarian businessman and philanthropist George Soros, although he did not furnish evidence for the claim.