The speaker of Shan State’s parliament has said that the legislature is not the place to discuss an inquiry about clashes between the Burma Army and ethnic armed organizations in the state.
The Burma Army and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) fought on Loi Don hill in Mong Kurng Township in the last week of February, leading Sai Long, Mong Kurng’s MP to raise the issue in the 19th Shan State parliament session this month. He asked how the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement’s (NCA) Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) would work to prevent clashes between the two forces, which are signatories to the agreement.
Sai Long Hseng, the speaker of the state parliament, responded by classifying the question as belonging to “military affairs,” adding that it should be asked in the Union Parliament instead.
“There is no transparency in the Shan State parliament,” Mung Kurng MP Sai Long told SHAN. “According to what [the speaker] said, the Shan State parliament cannot make any decisions on this. We have to ask this question in the Union-level Parliament, meaning only the Union-level Parliament can make a decision about it.”
The clashes in Murng Kurng caused the RCSS to abandon its camp on Loi Don, and locals in the area fled. While they were away from their homes, the Burma Army reportedly looted their residences, taking chicken, pigs, clothing, and other property for their own use.
MP Sai Long argued that the JMC must be fully responsible for addressing the occurrence of clashes in the township and criticized the parliament for dismissing his question about the fighting.
“Parliament must solve this problem too—they have to explain why the clashes are occurring. They do not explain this. They do not allow us to ask questions about it in the parliament session. That’s why there’s no transparency in our Shan State parliament,” he said.