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Alternative Asean Network on Burma
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BURMA’S PARLIAMENT: FUNDAMENTAL REFORMS STILL BLOCKED

 
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From 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.