Aung San Suu Kyi Tells Myanmar Lawmakers to Tolerate Different Points of View

2019-02-01
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Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi addresses lawmakers during a ceremony in Naypyidaw marking the third anniversary of the second parliamentary sessions, Feb. 1, 2019.
Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi addresses lawmakers during a ceremony in Naypyidaw marking the third anniversary of the second parliamentary sessions, Feb. 1, 2019.
RFA

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi said Friday that the country’s lawmakers are responsible for dealing with a proposal approved earlier this week to form a committee to amend the constitution and urged them to tolerate constructive criticism from members of different political parties instead of attacking each other.

Her comments came three days after parliament approved an emergency proposal to form a joint committee to make changes to the 2008 charter drafted by a former military junta that ruled the country.

Aung San Suu Kyi also said MPs should have courage to change for the better if they have wrong attitudes but should hold steadfastly to their convictions if they are correct.

“Opposition doesn't mean you have to attack the other side, but to build up their qualifications based on criticism from others,” she said. “If we have different points of view from other organizations and parties, our qualifications grow stronger.”

Aung San Suu Kyi made the comments during a ceremony in Naypyidaw marking the third anniversary of the second parliamentary sessions, attended by President Win Myint, the country’s two vice presidents, the parliamentary speakers, the defense minister, and lawmakers.

Win Myint also urged legislators to be receptive to different views and discuss them with a positive attitude.

“As MPs come from different classes and different groups of people, it is natural to have different opinions and views among them,” he said.

“We all have to work on these different opinions and views with a positive attitude in line with democratic standards,” he said. “As the parliament gains momentum and gets stronger, we can focus more on the interests of the people.”

Lower house speaker T Khun Myat said, “This is a time when we are trying to build a democratic union which all ethnic peoples want. All MPs already know how important the legislative pillar is at this moment.”

Myanmar’s bicameral legislature comprises a 440-seat House of Representatives and a 224-seat House of Nationalities, both controlled by the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party, which won the general elections of 2015 in a landslide vote.

Military lawmakers, who control a quarter of the seats in the legislature by appointment, have a critical veto to block any proposed changes to the constitution, especially ones that would erode their political power.

They heavily opposed the measure to form a committee to amend the charter and boycotted the vote by standing in silence in parliament.

The proposal put forward by an NLD legislator calls for lawmakers from all parties to be included in the committee, though military MPs said Thursday they would not participate in discussions regarding the measure and that they had submitted a formal letter of objection to the parliamentary speaker.

Reported by Win Ko Ko Latt for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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