Elected MPs Brand Military Lawmakers’ Village Trips ‘Unethical’

Military lawmakers have met with villagers and asked if they can help with any problems they’re having, sparking accusations that it was “unethical” for the unelected MPs to interfere in the constituencies of their elected counterparts.

The military MPs, who do not have constituents and are directly appointed by the commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, visited at least 15 villages near Nay Pyi Taw last week for meetings with locals.

Local administrators, religious officials and social organisations were also invited to meet with the MPs, who wore civilian clothes for the visits.

“The commander-in-chief simply advised us to visit local people… and ask them if they have any problems, since we are also MPs,” Brigadier General Maung Maung told Myanmar Now. “Some went to their hometown. Some went to regions where they had served for a long time.”

The MPs made the visits to learn how the Tatmadaw could provide aid to local residents, he said.

Dr Hla Moe, an MP for Aungmyethazan township, said it was improper even for elected lawmakers to conduct meetings concerning local development without informing other MPs who represent the region.

“If you think about it, this is unethical. Those regions already have their MPs appointed by the public,” Dr Hla Moe said.

He added that he would look into whether or not the military MPs breached parliamentary regulations and would consult with the speaker of the lower house about the visits.

Khin Saw Wai, an Arakan National Party MP representing Rathedaung township, said she would request an investigation into whether the military MPs’ actions were lawful.

One military MP, Major San Win Khaing, visited Tharwutthi village in Lae Way township on October 9 and inspected a run-down primary school, locals told Myanmar Now.

“He introduced himself as a local from Kyat Thun Khin village in Lae Way township,” said Thet Khaing, a local villager.

Kyaw Win, who met with MP General Win Thein at Kyitaung village in Zayar Thiri township, said: “He said he did not represent any party, and he came here on his own to help the people in the villages administered by the military.”

Military MP General Than Soe also held a public meeting at the Nyaunglu village group in Pobba Thiri township. “He said he wasn’t here to campaign, but to learn about the needs of the locals,” said Thein Win, one of the attendees.

Thein Htun Oo, a USDP representative, said he supported the Tatmadaw doing good deeds.

Brigadier General Maung Maung said the Tatmadaw did not act with political ambition, but he did not respond to a question about whether the visits were lawful.

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