MP demands bigger education, health budgets

The government should spend more on education and health, said Union Parliament MP Maung Toe at a discussion about the National Planning Bill for the 2015-16 financial year. 

The country’s education and health budgets are the lowest in Asean, despite recent increases.

MP demands civil service pay rise

MP Zaw Myint Phe has told Parliament that civil servants deserve a pay rise.

He said: “I propose that Parliament increases civil servants’ salaries to cover living costs. The budget includes increasing the salaries of the civil servants to a reasonable level. However, the exact amount for each rank is not stated. The Parliament wants an increase of 30 to 40 per cent. We need to discuss the issue.”

Zaw Myint Phe said there should be a pension fund, support for living expenses, health care and saving.

Constitutional Tribunal dodges PR ruling

The Constitutional Tribunal says it cannot rule on the legality of proportional representation (PR) voting until a bill is written.

“It is too early to decide. If the Union Election Commission finishes drafting the PR system, the Constitutional Tribunal will decide whether it is in line with the Constitution. We will wait for the bill,” advocate Khin Maung Than said.

Ruling MP calls for implementation of people’s militia law

MP Mann Kan Nyunt from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party has urged the Defence Ministry to implement a people’s militia law that will require people to carry out military service.

The parliamentarian discussed his view during a Union Parliament session on Thursday.

He quoted Section 386 of the Constitution as saying every citizen has the duty to undergo military training in accordance with the provisions of the law and to serve in the armed forces to defend the Union.

Commission to rule on White Card processing

Maung Maung Than, director general of the National Registration Department, told the Eleven Media on February 26 that further processing of the White Card has to follow the instruction of the government’s analysing commission which contains experts.

However, the commission is not yet being formed.

He said, “We haven’t established the commission yet. Experts will be appointed to the commission. Then, the procedures will follow the commission’s instructions.”

Authority of Constitutional Tribunal to be assessed today

A proposal to adopt a proportional representative (PR) system in the Upper House parliament was submitted to the Constitutional Tribunal in order to assess whether it accords with Myanmar's constitution.

The Constitutional Tribunal will determine whether it has jurisdiction over the case by February 27.

Bill committee: Education law amendment will not meet student deadline

With student protesters set to march into Yangon if an amendment to the National Education Law is not passed by Saturday, the Upper House parliamentary bill committee has explained why it is impossible to meet their deadline.

Due to the effect on the entire country and the time required to seek opinions from all stakeholders, an amendment to the law requires greater, more careful attention, the committee explained Wednesday.

Angry debate precedes approval of Chinese bank loan

Parliament on Thursday approved a US$300 million loan from a Chinese bank, but not before the Speaker had to warn the Cooperatives Minister and two MPs from the National League for Democracy (NLD) Party about parliamentary rules of etiquette.

Union Parliament Speaker Thura Shwe Mann admonished Union Cooperatives Minister Kyaw Hsan and NLD MPs Khin San Hlaing and Khin Mway Lwin over heated exchanges during  debate on the bank loan, which members later approved by a count of 433 to 56.

China says it forbids organisations, individuals from undermining China-Myanmar relations

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said at a press conference on Wednesday that China forbids any organisation or individual from conducting activities that undermine China-Myanmar relations or border stability on Chinese territory, according to a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

China is committed to non-interference in other countries' domestic affairs and consistently respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar, said Hong Lei.

UEC holds seminar on freedom of expression, elections

With the aim to support the electoral processes by the media, Union Election Commission (UEC) held a seminar on “Understanding International Standards on Freedom of Expression and Elections’’ in cooperation with the Myanmar Journalist Association (MJA) and Article 19 at the UEC office yesterday.