A parliamentary proposal urging a set of policies “to make life more pleasant” for people in Arakan State was approved by Burma’s upper house on Monday.
The proposal, submitted by MP Hla Swe, who represents the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party in Sagaing Division, was passed with 152 votes in favour, 10 against and 12 abstaining.
Following the proposal’s passage, Deputy Minister of Border Affairs Maj-Gen Tin Aung Chit briefed the upper house on the government’s plan to improve health and education, as well as road and bridge construction and electricity supply in the impoverished western region of Burma.
MP Hla Swe told DVB that while the minister’s outline was “satisfactory”, the government should make sure its plans are implemented objectively.
“The minister explained from A to Z the policies to be undertaken in Arakan State, including long-term and short-term plans for multi-sectoral development,” he said. “That is precisely the information we wanted, so I am satisfied with his response. However, I need to stress that the government must follow up and implement these plans objectively.”
Dr Aye Maung, deputy leader of the Rakhine [Arakan] National Party and an upper house member, seconded Hla Swe’s comments.
“I believe that the proposal to make life more pleasant for Arakanese should be welcomed because it makes it clear that for years the government has not done anything for ethnic people,” he said.
“Most international loans and project grants are centralised, and the Union government has not sought significant international aid or loans for developing ethnic regions,” Aye Maung continued.
“Under such circumstances, and in view of the ugly scenes taking place in Arakan since 2012 and the international attention given to them, we welcome U Hla Swe’s proposal to the Union Parliament to make life more pleasant for the people of this state, and for making this a national objective.”