Two upper house lawmakers from Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy have resigned from the party, citing their objection to certain rules and requirements they believe are too strict and discriminatory.
The party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) accepted the resignations of legislators Pe Chit of Yangon's Constituency 9 and Tin Aung Tun of Magway's Constituency 5 on Sunday, said NLD spokesman Myo Nyunt.
“They have submitted their resignations because they don’t like party’s strict rules and they also don’t like the rule of contributing 25 percent of their monthly salaries — 250,000 kyats (U.S. $153) — to the party,” he said, as reported by the online journal The Irrawaddy.
Tin Aung Tun said that the civilian-led NLD, which has been in power since March 2016, has too many strict rules even for minor issues.
“I don’t like any discrimination against any person in the party, [but] the NLD has some policies that are based on top officials’ preferred people,” he said. “It also has some party members who want to be popular and are not doing anything for the country or for the people. That’s why I have resigned from the NLD.”
Sein Win, a former NLD lawmaker in the lower house who in 2017 was the first legislator to resign from the party, said the pro-democracy party must operate according to democratic principles.
“No party officials or members should form factions, and they should elect respected leaders,” he said. “If a group of people control a party, then that party will be destroyed.”
Political analyst Yan Myo Thein suggested that the NLD review its policies for its members.
“What I see is that very strict rules can reduce democracy in the party and can allow for stronger central control,” he said. “That’s why NLD leaders should view the current situations with a broader perspective.”
But lower house lawmaker Kyi Pyar, an NLD member from Yangon, said strict rules and regulations are necessary.
“Some people became party members only when we had parliamentary elections, while others became members once they were appointed ministers,” she said. “So, we have various party members from different backgrounds. To control the many different party members, we need strict rules.”
Other lawmakers suspended
Earlier this month, the NLD’s CEC suspended Yangon regional lawmaker Kyaw Zeya and upper house lawmaker Thet Thet Khine, both of whom represent represent Dagon township, after they criticized the government of State Counselor Aung San Su Kyi.
The two remain party members, however.
“If we did make some mistakes, then the township and district level NLD officials must inform the CEC, and it has to decide, but our case was not handled like this,” Kyaw Zeya said.
“The CEC decided to dismiss us from party duties, and township and district level NLD officials didn’t even know about it,” he said. “It wasn’t bottom to top — it is a strong central control, and it's undemocratic.”
During an interview with local media in August, Thet Thet Khine, a member of the lower house’s Banks and Monetary Development Committee, was critical of the government’s economic policy while speaking about the weakening kyat-dollar exchange rate and Myanmar’s declining exports, The Irrawaddy reported.
Myo Nyunt told the publication that party leaders had verbally warned her several times about criticizing government policies.
Reported by Kyaw Lwin Oo for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.