UPDATE : STATE RUN NEWSPAPERS ACCUSE DAILY ELEVEN FOR “MP’s object to amend ’82 Citizenship Law”

update 19.june

Two state-run Myanmar newspapers, the Myanmar Alin and the Mirror have accused the Daily Eleven Newspaper in their June 18 editions for publishing an erroneous story about government plans to amend the 1982 citizenship law. The Daily Eleven headline published on June 13 was titled: “The government plans to amend the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law and submit it to Parliament but most Union Assembly representatives oppose it,” and was based on strong and credible sources in Parliament. Eleven Media strongly rejects these false allegations. We stand to the independence and credibility of our reporting and defend our role as an independent media channel to inform the public on the affairs of Parliament and issues of national importance.

The news that was published by The Daily Eleven on June 13 related to recent comments made by MP Hla Swe of the ruling Union Solidity and Development Party as regards to government plans to amend the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law. The news was based on strong and credible sources including the secretary of the Lower House Joint-Bill Committee, Saw Hla Tun, as well as:

– MP Ba Shein of Rakhine National Development Party

– MP Thein Nyunt of New National Democracy Party

– Aye Thar Aung Chairman of Rakhine Democracy League

All of whom discussed government plans to amend the law, most saying they would vote against any future amendments. So let us be clear that the story was based on solid sources.

The articles in the June 18 editions of the Myanmar Alin and the Mirror titled: “Clarification of a wrongful news story about the government planning to amend the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law” quotes the Ministry of Immigration and Population who states that our reporting of the above mentioned story was wrong. However, there are no precise details mentioned. Instead, they repeat the Union Minister’s clarification made during a Parliamentary session held on November 6, 2012.

In his clarification, the Minister said: “As suggestions given by members of Parliament, our ministry is making efforts to be able to amend outdated laws one after another in line with the current age since the new government started taking office. Plans are underway to early amend some words, usages and fines prescribed in the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law because these points are not appropriate with the current age.” Therefore, the Minister has not denied government plans to amend the law.

The government has been using its media as a propaganda tool to cause misunderstanding between the private media and the public.

The last paragraph of the Myanama Alin and Mirror allegation reads: “Though the State-owned media broadcast right news, private media writing the important legal affairs for the State and the people are expressing wrong announcements. In this situation, the people can misunderstand the State and this can spoil the interests of the State and the people. Special attention should be paid,” We see no attempt to even hide their blatant comments which violate journalistic code of ethics.

It is the constitutional right and the civic duty of any independent newspaper to report on the affairs of Parliament and the legislature who are making and debating laws that affect us all. Our story does not describe nor provide any details about the proposed amendments of the 1982 law as these have not as yet been revealed to the non-government media. Perhaps our friends at Myanma Alin and the Mirror would care use their privileged position to enlighten us rather than spreading misinformation about our reports.

What’s more, its recent accusation against the Daily Eleven Newspaper does not detail any facts in their June 18 articles.

The Daily Eleven newspaper therefore demands respective editorial teams to clarify and apologize because the publication of the news in the two state-owned newspapers, the Myanma Alin and the Mirror, can tarnish the image among the competitive newspapers.

english goverment   http://www.president-office.gov.mm/en/issues/civil-right/id-2228


A number of MP’s have objected to plans to amend Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law that is due to be submitted for review in Parliament.


The government is planning to amend Myanmar Citizenship Law enacted in 1982 in the time of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Myanmar, according to sources in Parliament. Lower House MP, Ba Shein of the Rakhine National Development Party has said that the law was of great value for the country and does not need to be changed.

“This law was to protect State’s security and stability and ethnic affairs. The ’82 law does not need to be amended. The law indicates that if someone is a national, he or she must be a citizen. The amendment to the law is aimed at changing illegal immigrants into legal ones. It is unnatural,” said Ba Shein.

Furthermore, MP’s opposed to any review of the law have argued that the bill has to be submitted one month ahead to Parliament, which makes any amendment too late for submission.

“The current amendment bill is now too late for submission to Parliament and it is unlikely to be debated in the parliament,” Saw Hla Tun, secretary of Lower House’s Bill Committee, told Eleven Media.

Aung San Suu Kyi, chairperson of the opposition National League for Democracy has argued in a recent debate that Myanmar must reassess the law to firstly see if all those entitled to citizenship have been fully naturalized.

“Firstly we must asses if all those who are entitled to citizenship in accordance to the 1982 law have been given full citizenship. Secondly, we must reassess the 1982 law to see if it is in line with international norms,” said the MP at the World Economic Forum on East Asia.

Many see the 1982 Citizenship Law as controversial because it prevents many Muslim communities in Rakhine state from claiming full citizenship because it requires proof of having lived in the country for over three generations. Sectarian violence has been spreading to different towns and cities in Myanmar since clashes between Buddhists and Muslims erupted in Rakhine state in 2012.

Members of the Unity for Peace Network (UPC), a Myanmar-based Muslim organisation, said in a recent forum that they reject the 1982 Citizenship Law because it discriminates against communities based on their religion.

“We do not accept Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law. Myanmar’s major religion is Buddhism. But some of them are now American citizens, some Singaporeans, and some Australians. So we don’t accept the (1982) law as the citizenship has nothing to do with the religion,” said Aye Lwin from UPC.

However, any amendments to the ’82 Law will face a stiff opposition. Hla Swe of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party said that they will object to any amendments in Parliament.

“In my opinion, the Law prevents Muslims entering Rakhine State though  Buthedaung and Maungdaw. Even with the prevention against the spread of aliens, 96 percent of population in Rakhine State are Bengalis. If the law is amended, problems will appear, so as for me, I consider that it should not be amended,” said MP Hla Swe.

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