Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Petition drive calls for sacking Lower House MP Aung Thein Lin

Tuesday, 31 July 2012 13:08 Theingi Tun

Rangoon (Mizzima) – An interview in a Chinese newspaper has led to a petition drive in South Okkalapa Township to remove Lower House MP Aung Thein Lin from Parliament. Organizers said the petition will be submited to the Union Election Commission (UEC).

Rangoon Region Union Solidarity and Development Party chief Aung Thein Lin at a press conference during the by-election in April  2012. Photo: Mizzima

Min Aung and other organizers who live in South Okkalapa Township said the petition was started in response to the MP’s remarks criticizing  Burmese voters,  the National League for Democracy [NLD] and President Thein Sein in an interview published in the China-based Southern Weekend journal.

About 200 people had signed the petition as of Sunday. About 2,000 signatures will be gathered, said organizers.

The constituency had 80,000 eligible voters in the 2010 general election. According to the Constitution, a minimum of 1 percent of the voters in a constituency is required to submit a complaint to the Union Election Commission involving the dismissal of an MP.

The Constitution says MP may be dismissed for misbehavior, inefficient discharge of duties or any breach cited in the Constitution.

The Southern Weekend journal quoted Aung Thein Lin in an article published in the Chinese language which was translated into English and published on the Burmanet website. According to the English translation on Burmanet, the former Rangoon mayor said that he did not approve of the halt to the Myitsone Dam project in Kachin State, and the decision to halt the project was made only by President Thein Sein. According to the translation, Aung Thein Lin also blamed the voters who supported the NLD in the by-elections, saying “They are crazy.”

Petition organizer Min Aung said, “We elected him as our representative. Representatives must speak out and work on behalf of us. If a representative speaks out against the voters, [he or she] should not be a representative. Our petition is not based on personal hatred.”

Naing Ko Lin, who said he voted for Aung Thein Lin in the 2010 general elections, said, “He failed to protect his people and talked like that. We think he’s a bad leader, and we don’t have the heart to accept it.”

After being widely criticized, Aung Thein Lin told domestic journals that the translated quotations were not accurate.

Dr. Saw Naing, who lives in Okkalapa, told Mizzima, “The word, ‘cat’ could not be translated as ‘dog.” But, the cat may be a wild cat or pet cat.”

Meanwhile, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party [USDP] is scrutinizing Aung Thein Lin’s remarks. The USDP said in a statement released on July 28 that if Aung Thein Lin really said the controversial remarks, it would take action against him based on its rules.

The statement said, “If Aung Thein Lin really said [the words quoted in the journal], it is just Aung Thein Lin’s personal views and his words are not related with the Union Solidarity and Development Party’s attitude.”

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