Rakhines ‘sad about lack of opportunity to hold political talks before peace summit’

YANGON – Ethnic Rakhine people are very sad about their lack of opportunity to hold national-level political talks before the second Panglong conference, a committee of observers said this week.

Rakhine nationals were very glad to see the government’s efforts to hold the conference, the Observers Committee of Rakhine National-Level Political Talks said.

Military chief committed to peace

The military will not accept anything to harm the ceasefire, says Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the defence services.

Min Aung Hlaing received a Japanese delegation led by Yohei Sasakawa, president of the Nippon Foundation, in Nay Pyi Taw.

“The Tatmadaw will not accept anything hurting the national ceasefire agreement while it joins hands with the government to develop the country,” Min Aung Hlaing said.

MPs call for a fair taxation system on land purchases

MPs in Nay Pyi Taw have called for a fair tax system to be set up for land purchases so people can’t avoid paying tax.

Their remarks were made during a parliamentary session to discuss the Union Revenue Bill (2017).

The bill prescribes three ranges of tax for the purchase and construction of buildings and housing, plus new business investments this year.

UPDJC forms work panels for five policy categories

The Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee formed five working panels on Thursday to better process its work for upcoming political talks. 
The subcommittees have to specialise for talks on policies relating to politics, social affairs, economic affairs, security issues, and land environment, respectively. 

Army ready to deal with human rights allegations, Senior General says

The Myanmar Army has been working to overcome allegations about human rights for the past five years and is ready to deal with any such challenges, the commander-in-chief of Defence Services said on Thursday.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing made this remark on Thursday, when he received HE Mr Hassan Bin Mohamed Rafei Al-Emadi, the Qatari Ambassador to Myanmar, at Bayinnaung Yeiktha in Nay Pyi Taw.

Rakhine stabilised: security chief

National security adviser Thaung Tun says the clearance operations undertaken by the military in northern Rakhine State have ceased and the situation has “stabilised”, according to the Office of the State Counsellor.

Rebel groups reject ‘terrorist’ label

Two ethnic armed groups, the Karen National Union (KNU) and Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), released a joint statement on February 16 to say that all ethnic armed groups should be regarded as peace partners and not as terrorist groups, adding that the peace process should be accomplished in cooperation with them.

UNFC ready for ceasefire if govt makes changes

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) will sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement 

MPs to vote on privacy bill

MPs will vote on the bill to protect citizens’ privacy and security.

The debates concerning the bill started in September where the Lower House passed it with an aim to protect individual privacy and citizens’ human rights and dignity.

However, the two houses could not reach agreement on seven items in the bill, according to a Lower House bill committee report submitted to Parliament.

USDP urges gov't to take tougher stance on outside interference in Myanmar's internal affairs

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has urged the government to take a tougher stand on any investigation made by other countries and international organisations that may interfere with Myanmar's internal affairs. 
The February 14 statement pointed to an incident on October 9 last year where members of a terrorist group, funded by organisations in foreign countries, attacked three border guard police outposts in the northern part of Rakhine State killing 10 policemen and making off with guns and ammunition.