MPs to finish Yangon legal study by February

Hsan Htoo Aung, Htet Shine

The Yangon Region parliament’s committee for legal proceedings and complaints said it would finish studying police stations, legal offices and courts in Yangon Region by February.

The study, started in August, aims to examine legal offices and law-enforcement bodies in Yangon Region’s 44 townships and report back to the Yangon Region parliament. The study was suspended in November after looking at 38 townships. Now the committee has taken up the task again while the parliament is taking a rest.

“People said the judicial branch is corrupt. Our goal is to purge the legal system of bribery and bias. We discussed with judges during the study and saw changes in courts. But we heard the legal system was again corrupt during the study was suspended. So, we resumed the study immediately after the parliament was adjourned,” said Yangon Region MP Myint Lwin, a member of the committee.

The committee studied legal offices in Seikkyi Kanaungto Township on Monday.

The remaining townships are Yankin, Mingala Taungnyunt, South Dagon and Dagon Seikkan. The study has to be paused due to an emergency meeting, according to the committee.

Another committee member, MP Kyaw Kyaw Htun, said: “We found that the prison cells in township courts are small and that police stations are short-handed. Due to a small number, the efficiency of law enforcers declines. We’ve studied 40 townships. We need to put off the study of remaining four townships because we have to attend the chief minister’s emergency meeting.”

The committee will also examine Yangon Region's high court and four district-level courts besides township-level legal offices and police stations”.

The committee has so far learned about the delayed court proceedings, poor facilities in police cells and a shortage of officers.

“Cases have been delayed at the courts due to absences of police witnesses and prison medical witnesses. Each township should have at least 81 police but there are shortages of officers in some townships. The police-to-civilian ratio is disproportionate in some areas. For instance, Hlaingthaya Township has 81 police for some 700,000 residents,” Kyaw Kyaw Htun said in earlier reports.

Translated by Nay Thiha