Outgoing President Thein Sein has come under fire for reportedly retracting a list of his family’s assets from the union parliament.
Under Article 68 of the 2008 Constitution, the president and vice presidents must submit documentation declaring family assets, including savings, real estate and other property.
However, when a reporter from the domestic news outlet Myanmar Herald requested a copy of the asset list that Thein Sein presented to parliament when he assumed office in 2011, he was told by speaker Mahn Win Khine Than that it had been retracted.
Khin Than, a retired judge, told DVB that if true, the president’s decision casts a shadow over the transparency and accountability of government figures.
“President U Thein Sein previously presented the list of his family assets to the parliament, but now there are reports that he later retracted it for ‘official reasons’, leaving the legislature with no way to keep track of, or review, his assets,” said Khin Than.
Zin Aung, the chairman of the Democratic Party for New Society, called the move “dishonest”.
“Obviously he retracted the list because there is something dishonest on it,” he said.
“It implies a lack of transparency in the government’s activities. If he really worked with an honest intent for the country, he would not have taken it back.”
In a post on Facebook, Information Minister Ye Htut defended Thein Sein’s action, saying that under the constitution, the outgoing president is entitled to take the asset list back when he finishes his term.
He added that the list is kept in a sealed envelope that is only opened if a specific accusation of wrongdoing is made.