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June 24, 2015

20,000 white card holders not allowed to vote
Maungdaw – About 20,000 white card holders are not eligible to vote in 2015 general election in Maungdaw, according to a township election commission.

Among them, about 100 non-ethnics are also included.

The number of voters was over 250,000 in 2010 election as the white card holders were allowed to vote at that time.

“One ward in Maungdaw has 1,042 voters and ten non-ethnics are included. We have to tell the commission to check the voter list again whether there are people who are dead in the voter list or there have been extra people included in the list. We have to check the non-ethnics who are included in the list whether they have national registration cards or not. People are not interested in the announcement of voter list. One or two people came to check the voter list,” said Maung Ohn, vice chairperson of Arakan National Party in Maungdaw.

“We issued the voter list since June 21. However people who are holding temporary registration cards are not included in the list. If there is an error, we can correct as it is only the initial announcement,” said Maung Ohn Kyi, chairperson of the township election commission. cr.eleven media

Military MP defends charter
Brigadier-General Tin San Naing, a military representative, has told Parliament that there should be no change to Section 436 (a) and (b), which designates how the Constitution can be altered.

“It is not easy to draft a good constitution. It should not be amended in an easy manner but deeply considered so as to last a long time. Constitutions should be appropriate to a country’s history, location, ethnic groups, languages, cultures, traditions and religions,” he told Parliament.

“The 2008 Constitution took six years and four months to draft through a series of national conventions finishing in 2007. Different views on politics, security, administration and social and legal affairs had to be taken into consideration when drafting it. All over the country, people cast votes and 92.48 per cent supported it.”

The officer said the United States regarded constitutional amendment as a complicated matter, altering its constitution 27 times in more than 200 years, while Australia had amended its constitution eight times from 1906 to 1988.

“Internationally, we can see bloodshed and violence when countries change their constitutions. Egypt, Syria, Libya and France are examples. Myanmar is home to more than 100 ethnic groups. Our system can change as Myanmar develops. The Tatmadaw [armed forces] and the people have participated in the first stage of the transition to democracy and it can contribute much more towards democracy. Not every country has an organisation like the Tatmadaw, capable of giving such guarantees. The Tatmadaw is safeguarding the Constitution. Talk of changing Section 436 should not dominate at a time when the country is trying to restore peace,” Tin San Naing said.

“The 2008 Constitution should not be amended as it does not trouble the interests of the people. The country is changing into a democracy. For peace, stability and the national interest, our country is not yet familiar with democratic practices. Therefore, amendments to Section 436 should not be made.”

Aung San Suu Kyi, the chairperson of the opposition National League for Democracy, told reporters: “The NLD formerly said the constitutional amendment should be made effectively. The NLD will stand by the constitutional amendment. The military representative is following the principles of the past.”

Parliament discusses amendment to Section 436(A)
The Union parliament began its discussion on amendments to Section 436(A) of the 2008 constitution on June 23.
There has been controversy over the drafting of the amendment bill by the 31-member Constitutional Amendment Committee.
“I belong to the 31-member committee. When we submitted a report to Union parliament, there were over 200 points. I was not present when the constitutional reform bill was submitted. Now, there are four points regarding Section 436(A),” said Dr Aye Maung.
He said he was unsure who drafted the current bill, adding that his committee’s amendment bill should be available to the public.
“Our 31-member committee has agreed that any section of the constitution could be amended if 66.6 per cent of MPs support it. Then, we will have a national referendum. If more than half of the voters give their support, the amendment can be approved. The original constitution prescribes that over 75 per cent would have to vote for it,” Dr Aye Maung said.
However, he said, the current reform bill, which he did not help draft, requires the approval of 70 per cent of MPs.
Aye Maung said he plans to discuss two points in the parliamentary discussion on the reform bill — electing the president and choosing military personnel only from elected parliamentary representatives.
Union parliament speaker Thura Shwe Mann said the discussion and approval of the charter reform bill will take place between June 23 and June 25.
Under the current charter, Section 436(A) must be amended first in order to change most other parts of the constitution, including Section 59(F), which bars Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming present. Under the current constitution, Section 436(A) can only be amended with the approval of more than 75 per cent of members of the Union parliament.

MP: Amendment of Section 436 will not be successful without the military support
The amendment of Section 436 will not be successful if the military representatives don’t support it, said MP Tin Maung Oo from the current ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) yesterday.

“Military represents 25 per cent in the parliament. There is a condition that we cannot amend Section 436 (A) and (B) without the support from military representatives. In other way, we have to amend the section which the army wants us to amend,” said the MP.

He said the military representatives are required to represent in the parliament.

“If the constitution is needed to amend for the benefit of state, its citizens, ethnics, workers, farmers, students, and soldiers, we have to discuss about it,” he said.

Moreover, it is difficult to amend the constitution as the constitution states that half of the voters must support the constitution amendment in the nationwide referendum. It is the biggest obstacle to overcome the constitution amendment, said the MP.

A total of 94 sections including Section 936 will be amended if over 75 per cent of the MPs support it and over half of the voters support it in the nationwide referendum.

“We have already submitted the enactments to amend Section 436. Other sections are not submitted by the constitution amending implementation committee from the parliament. However, we will hold further discussion on the matter,” said MP Thura Aye Myint from the USDP.

The Section 59 (D) of the 2008 constitution states that President and Vice Presidents shall be well acquainted with the affairs of the union such as political, administrative, economic and military. The Section 59 (F) of the constitution stated that President and Vice Presidents shall be himself, one of the parents, the spouse, one of the legitimate children or their spouses not owe allegiance to a foreign power, not be subject to a foreign power or citizen of a foreign country. They shall not be persons entitled to enjoy the rights and privileges of a subject of a foreign government or citizen of a foreign country. MPs of current ruling party discussed to leave them out of the constitution amendment.


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