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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 881

Burma Lower House Speaker encourages MPs to analyze national budget

By - Zin Linn

People’s Parliament Speaker Thura Shwe Mann discussed issues interrelated to the National Planning Bill for 2013-2014 fiscal year at the 13th day sixth regular session of the First Union Parliament Monday, ‘The New Light of Myanmar’ said today.

The Union Parliament (Pyithu Hluttaw) speaker drew round the Parliament’s motto and included some affairs occurred in the country that are considered necessary to be taken into account in his speech given on the first day of the sixth regular session. Parliamentarians held practical and comprehensively discussions on bills for 2013-14 financial year submitted by the Union government, the speaker said.

As the discussions reflected people’s voices, people’s wishes and people’s requirements for the sake of the Union, Thura Shwe Mann urged the Union Parliament (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw) to work together for implementation.

In accordance with the parliamentarians’ discussions, he recommended providing higher salaries and grants to civil servants by adjusting ordinary expenditure without calling any extra finances. Besides, he advised to endorse effective laws protecting farmers, breeders and workers so as to alleviate poverty as well as addressing unemployment. Lower House Speaker also strongly encourage in favor of making laws for domestic peace campaigns with official financial assistance.

He also gave a warning toward respective departments asking to submit laws, orders and directives to the Union Parliament along with required taxes in 2013-2014 Fiscal-Year so as to seek the approval of the Union Parliament.

In addition, Thura Shwe Mann push for research about teachers working at affiliated schools, post-primary schools, self-reliant schools, monastic schools whose salaries are paid by the local public. He recommended those teachers to be appointed officially with decent salaries and allowance starting from the next fiscal year.

He also suggested trimming down the healthcare gap between urban and rural areas. For that reason, it needs to make any possible coordination for appointment of newly graduated doctors as well as upgrading dispensaries and hospitals along with appointment of doctors and nurses, the Union Parliament speaker said.

Thura Shwe Mann encouraged the parliamentarians to challenge in the presence of any criticisms in approving the national plan, budget and taxation laws for 2013-2014 financial year.

Thura Shwe Mann, a former most senior military commander, has taken a leading role to adjust the parliament into an energetic and effective political institution.

In March 2012, there were parliamentary debates for the first time on the country’s budget publicly and concentrated assessment tagged along. At present, some parliamentarians insist on a more communally trustworthy financial arrangement, with a healthier focus on government expenses in the areas of health and education. Transparency in the government’s financial policy looks like a thoroughly innovative stage and the parliament chamber is now more like a supervisory body.

In an exclusive interview with Irrawaddy editor Aung Zaw in June 2012, Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann said that the driving force behind reforms in Burma is the public, which voted for the Parliament in elections in November 2010 and by-elections in April of 2012.

The people have “ultimate power,” he said, making the Parliament more influential than the 11-member National Defense and Security Council (NDSC), widely seen as the ultimate arbiter in matters affecting national policy.

Last year, there was a rumor about struggle between President Thein Sein and House Speaker Shwe Mann on issue of preference for parliament to emphasize its constitutional rights. In September 2012, an overpowering mainstream of parliamentarians from all parties voted to prosecute all nine judges of the constitutional court. As the court was appointed by the president, it had tried to cut short of the authority of parliamentary committees. Finally, all nine judges had to quit.

Furthermore, a crucial new foreign-investment law has become a political game between President and Parliament. After struggling between President and Parliament, the draft bill was passed at last. Parliamentarians strived to protect their own financial interests against the more investor-friendly perception of the president. It was said that the parliamentarians made sure they protected the interests of the nation and people, as well as those of foreign investors.

Such kind of rivalry between the President and the House Speaker made talk of the town in public. Some analysts say that the Lower House Speaker is one of the draftsmen of today political and economic reforms of the nation. People believe him as a determined player and challenger to President Thein Sein. Many observers make out him as the most probable successor after Thein Sein when his tenure finished.

- Asian Tribune -

People’s Parliament Speaker Thura Shwe Mann
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