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Parliament approves new religious affairs minister

The Union Parliament yesterday approved the president’s appointment of Irrawaddy division’s parliamentary speaker Hsan Sint as the country’s new religious affairs minister.

Thein Sein forwarded his selection to the Union Parliament after the resignation of former minister Thura Myint Maung on 16 January. In response to the government’s move, civil society groups in Irrawaddy division petitioned the legislator to allow Hsan Sint to finish his first term.

Critics said the appointment was an attempt to remove Hsan Sint from the divisional parliament, where had disagreements with local officials over issues concerning the rule of law and legislation.

Ye Htun, a Lower House representative, said another MP from Irrawaddy division – Mahn Maung Maung Nyan – instructed the Union Parliament to ask Hasn Sint his opinion on the appointment.

The Union Parliament refrained from discussing the matter further and stated that in their official capacity they were only able to approve or reject the president’s appointment.

“I have to follow the parliament’s decision,” said Hsan Sint during a phone interview with DVB yesterday. “Since the majority of the parliament agreed with it, I will accept the position.”

No appointee has been selected to replace the Irrawaddy parliamentary speaker.

During the past year in the majority-Buddhist country, the Burmese government has been criticised for their handling of ethno-religious violence in Arakan state and systematically persecuting Christians in Chin state.


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