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Burma’s lower house Speaker Shwe Mann on Monday scolded absent MPs.
Noting that 103 of the 440 members of the House of Representatives, or pyithu hluttaw as it is known in Burmese, were absent during the parliamentary session, Shwe Mann said, “This parliament is dealing with matters that are essential to the people and the country. MPs – who are the representatives of the people – may have important personal or health issues, but they should consider what to prioritise at times like this.”
The speaker also urged the political parties of those MPs who were absent on Monday to remind them of their duties.
MPs representing the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, or USDP, make up 212 of the 440-seat lower house, while military appointees – 25 percent of each assembly as per the 2008 Constitution – account for 110 seats.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, or NLD, has 37 representatives in the pyithu hluttaw, just over 8 percent of the parliament. However, the NLD did not contest the 2010 general election; its MPs won all 37 seats in by-elections in 2012.
In January, Burma’s parliament formally approved a bill to raise MPs’ salaries.
According to the amendment bill, as of the 2015-16 fiscal year, parliamentary MPs will enjoy a one million kyat (US$1,000) salary per month, up from the current sum of 300,000 kyat. MPs sitting in regional assemblies will see their salaries increase from 200,000 to 500,000 kyat.