Myanmar's Suu Kyi makes parliamentary debut

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi made her historic parliamentary debut Monday, marking a new phase in her near quarter century struggle to bring democracy to her army-dominated homeland.

Suu Kyi, whose unswerving campaigning saw her locked up for years by the former junta and earned her a Nobel Peace Prize, appeared calm as she arrived to take her seat as an elected politician in the capital Naypyidaw.

"I will try my best for the country," she told AFP as she embarked on her first day of active public office.

Suu Kyi joined fellow members of her National League for Democracy (NLD), as both the party and its charismatic leader transform from dissident outsiders to mainstream political players in the wake of landmark April by-elections.

The democracy champion's entrance into the legislature comes at an uncertain time for Myanmar, after recent communal violence and a series of student arrests cast a shadow over promising changes in the former pariah state.

But it also comes amid expectations of a change of personnel in the top echelons of the reformist regime, which replaced junta rule last year, including the replacement of senior hardline figures.

Myanmar state media announced a reshuffle of six deputy ministers late Monday, without saying whether or not the move was part of a wider reorganisation.

Military members of parliament are this week set to nominate a successor to vice president Tin Aung Myint Oo, a renowned hardliner closely linked to former junta chief Than Shwe, whose resignation on health reasons was announced Wednesday.

Suu Kyi, one of the NLD's 37 lower house members of parliament, postponed her debut in the fledgling legislature last week to recover from a gruelling European tour and visit her constituency.

No special provisions were made for the attendance of Myanmar's most famous former political prisoner, who listened attentively as other MPs spoke during the day's debates.

Asked at the end of the day if she had enjoyed the session, the 67-year-old replied: "A job is a job."

Her presence in Naypyidaw helps lend legitimacy to a parliament still dominated by the military and its political allies, which came into being following controversial November 2010 elections that were marred by the absence of Suu Kyi and her party.

Even military men appeared pleased to see the veteran activist, despite NLD plans to ease them out of the legislature by scrapping a constitutional provision granting them a quarter of seats.

"It's good that she arrived today, we all welcome her," said Brigadier General Wai Lin.

MPs have a number of pressing issues on the table for discussion during the current session, which began last Wednesday.

Communal violence in June between ethnic Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya, which left dozens dead and tens of thousands homeless, is on the agenda, with an ongoing state of emergency requiring parliamentary approval.

A new foreign investment law aimed at resuscitating the country's moribund economy is also in the pipeline.

Suu Kyi, who on Tuesday pledged her party would push for greater transparency once inside parliament, told reporters during a break in the session that she had not yet decided what proposals to put to the house.

The NLD's involvement in mainstream politics comes as a result of sweeping changes by a new regime, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners, liberalising sections of the battered economy and tentative ceasefires with several major armed ethnic rebel groups.

But the government came under fire from other activists last week after authorities on Friday briefly detained around 20 student leaders ahead of the 50th anniversary of a brutal suppression of a student protest.

They were freed late Saturday.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia informs drug convicts of execution
    Indonesia informs drug convicts of execution

    Indonesia said Saturday it had officially notified eight foreign drug convicts that they will be executed, prompting an appeal from United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon to spare the prisoners and suspend the death penalty. A Frenchman also on death row for drug-related crimes was granted a temporary reprieve after Paris stepped up pressure on Jakarta. The eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- have been transported to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan where …

  • UN chief urges Indonesia to spare drug convicts from execution
    UN chief urges Indonesia to spare drug convicts from execution

    United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon appealed to Indonesia on Saturday to spare from impending execution a group of 10 death-row drug convicts, most of them foreigners. "The Secretary General appeals to the government of Indonesia to refrain from carrying out the execution, as announced, of 10 prisoners on death row for alleged drug-related crimes," a spokesman for Ban said. Earlier Saturday, Indonesia said it had officially notified eight foreign nationals convicted of drug crimes -- from …

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys
    AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

  • Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions
    Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions

    Short of condemning China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a senior US military official said Washington does not support any act of coercion and bullying. “We don’t stand for coercion, bullying and aggressiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, assistant US military director for  Phl-US Joint Balikatan Exercises 2015. At the sidelines of this year’s joint military exercises’ static aircraft display held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Mahoney told a media briefing that …

  • ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’
    ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’

    The proposed grant to the chief minister of the envisioned Bangsamoro region of operational control over police forces in the area is consistent with the Constitution, a senior administration lawmaker said yesterday. Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite made the statement to allay the fears of his colleagues that the proposal, contained in the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), would violate the Charter. It is clear in the proposed BBL that the Bangsamoro police will be part …

  • Noy off to KL for Asean meet
    Noy off to KL for Asean meet

    President Aquino will arrive here this afternoon with Manila hopeful of support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as economic prosperity and inclusive growth among the people in the region. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III said that with respect to the dramatic developments in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had called for the early …

  • Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food
    Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

    After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world. Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options