4 July to 7 September, Burma’s Parliament held its fourth
session. Despite efforts by some opposition MPs, regime officials
and USDP MPs continued to block fundamental legislative reforms,
including the repeal of existing oppressive laws and the adoption
of progressive legislation. In addition, the regime failed to introduce
the much-heralded media law.
After several months of parliamentary
debate, MPs approved the Foreign Investment Law. However, President
Thein Sein bowed to pressure from local business leaders and decided
to return the draft to Parliament.
As the situation worsened in Kachin
and Arakan States, Parliament failed to adequately debate those
crises. Instead, the regime used Parliament as a platform to spread
Naypyidaw’s propaganda. Meanwhile, local Parliaments remained
on the sidelines of Burma’s politics. Ten of the 14 Division
and State Parliaments have not convened since March.
Against this backdrop, Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi and 40 other NLD MPs elected in the 1 April by-elections
made their parliamentary debut. However, their impact was limited
to three proposals (all rejected) and a handful of questions.