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Appointment of Chin State Ministries ‘Approved’ Amidst Objections from Chin Parties

30 June 2011: The first sitting of a special session of the Chin State Parliament concluded in the capital Hakha yesterday with the confirmation of the State Government Ministries– amidst controversies surrounding the conduct of the legislative proceedings.

The special session was called to debate on the confirmation of the Chin State Government Ministries, as proposed by the Union President Thein Sein. According to the proposal, Chin State Government will have only eight ministries, one less ministry than in any other States or Regions in Burma.

When the Speaker of the Parliament U Hau Khen Kham of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) presented the motion for debate, three members from the opposition Chin National Party (CNP) immediately objected saying that Chin State should have an equal number of ministries with all the other States and Regions in country. The CNP’s objections were joined by members from the Chin Progressive Party (CPP) and the Ethnic National Development Party (ENDP).

Nine Ministers were originally designated by Chin State Chief Minister ex-Gen Hung Ngai for his cabinet. However, one of the nominees was disqualified, upon complaints by the Chin parties, on the ground that he did not meet the minimum age requirement of 35 under the 2008 constitution. The nominee, Kui Thang, was considered for health and education ministry. But apparently infuriated by the failed nomination, Hung Ngai decided to scrap the ministry entirely.

Yesterday the Speaker of the Parliament refused suggestion from the CNP members to have a formal vote on the motion.

“If it had been allowed, the record would have clearly reflected that all the 11 non-USDP Chin representatives had voted against the President’s appointment,” said Salai Ceu Bik Thawng, General Secretary of the CNP.

But today’s edition of the state-run newspaper The Mirrors reported that the President’s appointment was “unanimously” approved by the Chin Parliament. “The President’s proposal regarding the formation of the Chin State Government’s Ministries was confirmed after it was unanimously approved by the State parliamentarians,” reports The Mirrors.

All the 24 members of Members of the State Parliament were in attendance, including the six unelected Army representatives. Of the 18 electable seats in the State Legislature, the USDP has only 8 seats, while the three Chin parties together have a total of 11 seats.

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