The five-year term of Myanmar’s first post-military-rule national legislature, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, ended on January 29. Despite its many limitations, the parliament exceeded most analysts’ expectations in carrying out its legislative functions, particularly representation, lawmaking and executive oversight.
As we approach the era of democracy, the citizens of Myanmar are looking to the new government to resolve many of the issues that the previous administration either left unfinished, or did not tackle at all. The fact that the National League for Democracy won a majority (or at least plurality) across all ethnic states in Myanmar, displacing the ethnic political parties at national and state level, means that the NLD now has a particular responsibility to represent the needs and desires of the ethnic minorities as well as those of the majority Bamar community.
The president announced late last year that the Myanmar Competition Act will come into force in February 2017. Judging from the scope of the Act and the serious penalties laid out in it for any breach, it seems Myanmar aspires to follow the example of strong antitrust regimes in the region, such as Malaysia, Singapore, and beyond.
In 2011, when Thura U Shwe Mann and U Khin Aung Myint took the speakerships in Nay Pyi Taw’s Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw, nobody knew what to expect. Their public profiles were thin, shaped only by loyal service to the State Peace and Development Council.
It could not be described as gender-balanced, but there is no doubt that Myanmar’s parliament had a stronger female presence than ever before when the lower house sat for the first time this week with a new NLD majority in a historic day for democratic progress.
I always thought fathers who have daughters would be supportive of women’s rights. After all, would they want their girls to face the same unfair practices their grandmothers did?Our dear leader of Thailand has proved me wrong
More than one ancient creature in Vietnam met a demise of sorts at the outset of 2016. The death of the first last month, a giant softback turtle that had inhabited Hoan Kiem Lake in the centre of Hanoi, deeply saddened Vietnam.
Set up five years ago, Myanmar’s National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) was part of a charm offensive mounted by President U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government that succeeded in attracting international publicity and funding. Any legitimacy it may have held has taken a battering since.
Yesterday marked a significant moment in Myanmar’s history: Members of parliament, chosen by the people at the landmark elections in November last year, took up their posts in the expansive parliamentary complex in Nay Pyi Taw. For the first time in more than half a century, the people of this glorious land – and the world – witnessed a transfer of power from one elected hluttaw to another.
With historical changes afoot and optimism sweeping Myanmar, it is a momentous time to be here. Many are hoping for a meteoric rise of the country’s economy over the long term. The numbers certainly point to such potential, as Myanmar’s gross domestic product per person stands at about US$1200 compared with neighboring Thailand’s $5778 and the overall average among Association of Southeast Asian Nations members (ASEAN) of about about $3800 (World Bank).