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A motion urging the government to authorise tighter administrative and security measures in Arakan State was rejected by MPs in the Lower House of Parliament today.
The proposal was debated by lawmakers in the house before a vote concluded with 150 in favour, 232 against, and six abstaining.
The ruling National League for Democracy, led by Aung San San Suu, has a commanding majority in the lower house.
The motion to beef up security in the volatile Arakan region was tabled last week by Khin Saw Wai, an MP for Rathedaung, who called for the government “to implement prompt administrative and security measures” to combat “the crimes committed by Bengalis [Rohingyas]”.
He said that “extremist groups in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung had disrupted national security, rule of law, the country’s territorial integrity, and the lives and properties of civilians.”
The townships in question – Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung – are in northwestern Arakan State, close to the Bangladeshi border. Rohingya Muslims form the majority in each township.
In October last year, insurgents – believed to be Rohingya militants – attacked and killed Burmese border police. The incident was followed by intense security operations led by the Burmese army, which led to dozens of deaths and compelled thousands of Rohingya families to flee their homes, many seeking refuge across the border in Bangladesh.
Tensions were exacerbated recently when at least six ethnic Mro villagers were slaughtered near Maungdaw, an act blamed on Rohingya militants.
Last week, Nyi Pu, the chief minister of Arakan State, said that the security situation was no longer critical in Maungdaw since an increased number of government troops were deployed in the area.