The ninth session of the Karen State parliament drew to a close on Thursday with the passage of two new laws, according to regional Transport Minister Saw Khin Maung Myint.
The laws, one governing freshwater fisheries and one related to loading and unloading goods, were approved during the three-day session, which convened from 2-4 September.
“The laws were proposed on the first day of the session, then three or four MPs discussed them. We approved them on the last day of our meeting,” said Saw Khin Maung Myint.
The southeastern state’s new fishery regulations include 40 articles, mostly pertaining to guidelines for acquiring operating licences.
State MPs also raised several concerns during the session regarding disruptions to telecoms development in the region.
About 20 telephone towers are slated for Karen State, which has remained geographically isolated and undeveloped throughout decades of civil war.
Karen civil society groups have long been at odds with the country’s two new telecoms developers, Ooredoo and Telenor, over their lack of transparency about how they will quickly enhance service infrastructure in areas still subject to conflict and littered with unexploded ordnance.
Some politicians inquired about one particular tower that remains unfinished in the Leiktho sub-township in the northwestern part of the state. The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the armed wing of the Karen National Union, prevented construction of the tower early this year because of a territorial discrepancy.
“The tower construction was delayed because the KNLA stopped it. It was a land problem. A few parliamentarians and I negotiated with the group, which is under a ceasefire with the Burmese government, and the problem was resolved,” Saw Khin Maung Myint said, adding that the tower is expected to be completed during the coming dry season.