The arrival of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy compatriots in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw will give new impetus to attempts to reform the judiciary, sources in Nay Pyi Taw said last week.
The third session of parliament will resume in the capital on April 23, after going into recess on March 23, and 42 NLD representatives are expected to take their seats in the upper and lower houses.
“We believe that the work of the Pyithu Hluttaw Legislative and Judicial Committee and broader efforts to correct the judicial pillar will be given new force when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in the Pyithu Hluttaw. We believe it will happen because Daw Suu very often said that she had three priorities, one of which was to work until there was real rule of law,” the committee’s chairman, Thura U Aung Ko, told The Myanmar Times last week.
“She always said to amend some provisions of the constitution in order to bring eternal peace for nationalities, to enjoy absolute human rights and to realise the rule of law. This is sure to happen,” he said, adding that he believed the NLD’s success on April 1 was “deserved”.
Representatives said last week that the judicial pillar had developed more slowly than the executive, legislature and media sectors since President U Thein Sein’s government took office in March 2011 and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s contribution to improving the judiciary could be significant.
However, it is not clear whether the NLD representatives will be invited to attend the third session on April 23 or be required to instead wait for the fourth session to take their seats.
Pyithu Hluttaw Office director U Khin Maung Oo said it depended on whether the Union Election Commission “accomplishes its task” of confirming their appointments in time.
The office will then despatch invitations to the newly elected representatives to attend the April 23 sitting, a prospect that most lawmakers supported.
“With the commission’s appointment and the hluttaw’s invitation they can attend the hluttaw session along with us. If their policy stance is in the public interest without any attachment to party, race or region – as Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann always encourages – they can not only correct the judicial pillar but also solve many other important issues,” said U Ye Tun, the Pyithu Hluttaw representative from Hsipaw in Shan State.
“We are optimistic. As we put our trust both in Thura U Shwe Mann and Daw Suu, we are sure that there will be a great deal of improvement in matters that are of benefit to public.”
U Khine Maung Yi, the Pyithu Hluttaw representative for Ahlone, said the earlier the NLD representatives took their seats in parliament the better.
“The commission will hopefully issue an appointment letter to Daw Suu before the forthcoming session so that she can attend,” he said.
“When some representatives became union ministers their places fell vacant and the hluttaws were under strength. I want newly elected representatives to promptly fill these empty positions as soon as possible to enable the hluttaws to perform with their full workforce.”
However, not all were in agreeance. “If Daw Suu enters the hluttaw at the beginning of the fourth session it will give her more time to prepare,” Thura U Aung Ko said. “For example, a proposal or a bill needs to be submitted 20 days in advance and a query about 10 days in advance. She will dominate the agenda if she enters with well-prepared bills and proposals that have been discussed about them with legal experts while she is waiting to enter.”
– Translated by Thit Lwin