Hluttaw Speaker U Win Myint has slammed a deputy minister for refusing to comment on the disagreement between the Bill Committee and a Hluttaw representative on a bill in Pyithu Hluttaw.
During the March 7 Hluttaw session, Deputy Minister for Transport and Communications U Kyaw Myo replied that his ministry had no comment with regards to the different opinions between the Bill Committee and a Hluttaw representative regarding the amendments on the Bill of Conservation of Water Resources and Rivers Law.
He also said that the ministry would follow the decision set by the Hluttaw.
“A ministry should not behave in an unnecessarily restrained manner in this disagreement. I want you to frankly speak out your views, based on your knowledge, your experience and your expertise to develop a good law for the sake of the State and its citizens,” said Speaker U Win Myint.
“The reason behind seeking a comment from the ministry is for Hluttaw representatives to be able to consider on their own, which is right and which side to vote.
“We have to only consider the position of our country and our people. Therefore, the ministry should not sit on the fence in this case.”
The disagreement was on whether utilisation charges should be collected for the usage of river water. The Bill Committee recommended that there be no charges for the utilisation of river water in agriculture and livestock breeding, but U Ye Mon (a) Maung Tin Thit, Hluttaw Representative from Pobbathiri constituency of Nay Pyi Taw Union Territory, said that utilisation fees should be charged.
When the comment of the ministry was sought after both sides presented their arguments, the deputy minister replied the ministry had no comment but would just accept whatever decision made by the Hluttaw.
The Bill Committee had said no charges should be made for using river water because it would burden the agriculture and livestock breeding sector.
However, U Ye Mon (a) Maung Tin Thit said that charges should be made on commercial utilisation in the agriculture and livestock sector as respective government departments will have to bear the cost of sustainable maintenance for rivers and creeks.
The Hluttaw later decided in favour of the Bill Committee by majority of votes. Although it is common for U Win Myint to warn some Hluttaw representatives from the ruling National League for Democracy, this was the first time U Win Myint slammed a deputy minister.
U Ye Tun, a former Hluttaw Representative, said that a deputy minister should at least comment on behalf of his ministry.
“If it means that there is no significantly different effect whether Hluttaw decides in favour of whichever opinion, the deputy minister could be silent without making any comment.
“But the reason why he didn’t have any comment should be made known,” he said.
U Ye Tun said that if the Speaker’s tone was respectful, he should not be blamed for telling off.
“But if he said it emotionally and imperiously, it is not good. The deputy minister has his own right not to make any comment,” he continued.
– Translation by Zaw Nyunt