Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Regional parliaments have difficulty conveying message to public, MP says

Weekly Eleven 22 September 2014
Regional parliaments have a lot of difficulty getting information to the public, according to MP Dr Nyo Nyo Thin, from Yangon’s Bahan Township Constituency.
The MP made the comment on Saturday at the “Open Parliament Event Myanmar 2014”, held in Yangon over the weekend. The seminar was organised by the Open Myanmar Initiative.
“Currently, we have much difficulty in sending all data and information from regional parliaments in 14 states and regions to the people to ensure transparency. For example, according to the government law, regional chief ministers are responsible to the president. They are not responsible to our regional parliaments,” Nyo Nyo Thin said.

“So, a regional chief minister has to report to the union government about undertaking a project. If the president passes it, it is OK for the chief minister to continue the project and there is no need to report to the regional parliament concerned,” she said.

“This is the problem we are facing. Section 251 of the State Constitution clearly states that regional governments shall seek approval from regional parliaments to undertake projects. But that does not happen now. As regional chief ministers are only responsible to the president, they only report to him, not regional parliaments.

“The issue of the Yangon new town project for example was not dealt with in Yangon Region Parliament – only the message about it was read out.”
Regional parliaments allocate budgets for some projects but MPs have no power to know about government spending on them. Some regional parliaments have assessment panels but they have no full authority, she explained.

The MP said regional parliaments had other weaknesses, such as calling few parliamentary meetings. She also pointed out that regional parliaments could not catch up with the Union parliament and Union government in terms of transparency.