Parliament begins review of 30 bills

Parliament begins review of 30 bills

The ninth session of Parliament commenced in Burma’s capital city Naypyidaw on Monday, with a total of 30 bills up for review by both the upper and lower houses.

Saw Hla Tun, secretary of the lower house Bill Committee, said that of the 30 bills, 21 are new and nine remain from the previous session, which closed in November 2013.

Several long-awaited bills will take priority, including a new Electricity Bill, the Condominium Bill, the Associations Bill and various media laws, he said.

Among the media laws up for discussion is the controversial Printing and Publishing Enterprise Bill, drafted by Burma’s Ministry of Information. Parliament approved amending the bill, which critics have called “draconian”, during the eighth session of parliament last year.

As the Bill Committee submits its report on disagreements over the contentious legislation, two other important media laws will also be under review.

The Media Bill, drafted by the Interim Press Council and approved by the lower house in November 2013, will be considered by the upper house, as the lower house reviews the Public Service Media Bill, Saw Hla Tun told DVB on Monday.

In the three sessions convened in 2013, Burma’s parliament amended and adopted 36 laws. As the reform process powers on, 2014 is likewise expected to be a year of huge legislative change leading up to general elections in 2015.

The Joint-Committee for Reviewing the Constitution (JCRC) is due to submit its report on Constitutional reform by 31 January, a subject expected to dominate parliamentary discussions once presented. The committee will likely recommend reversal of section 59(f) of Burma’s 2008 Constitution, which prohibits opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from assuming the presidency.

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