YCDC members accept termination

In a sudden reversal less than 24 hours after staging a power grab, Yangon City Development Committee members have agreed to step down.

City Hall has been thrown into turmoil since Mayor U Maung Maung Soe announced revisions to the by-laws governing the committee, effectively truncating the terms of currently serving members.

The mayor’s amendment changes committee members’ length of service to match the five-year government terms, instead of lasting until new elections are called.

Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein yesterday informed current committee members that their terms have ended, effective as of the previous government’s last day in office, March 30.

After receiving the termination notices, the six YCDC members, secretary and joint secretary left City Hall around 5:30pm and acknowledged their terms were completed.

“We don’t want to go against the government. We don’t want to go against the chief minister’s instruction,” said elected YCDC member U Khin Hlaing. “Now, we are leaving our duty and packing up our offices.”

The sudden acceptance is a dramatic reversal from May 17, when three YCDC members, led by U Khin Hlaing, staged an emergency meeting refusing the mayor’s term limit order. A letter requesting that any amendments to the by-laws go through proper channels and achieve parliamentary vetting was signed by all 115 members of YCDC.

But U Khin Hlaing said the Yangon chief minister’s official notice made the members realise they must accept their terms are over.

“The termination letter signed by Ko Phyo Min Thein was released at about 2pm. We don’t want to forsake our duties but we don’t want to force a power play either. If we stick around here after we were told to leave we will lose our dignity,” he said. “I don’t want to say whether it is fair or not fair. Hluttaw will decide.”

The district and township committee members have yet to receive official notification, but representatives said they are ready to follow the chief minister’s decision.

“Is it dictatorship or democracy to terminate YCDC members who were assigned by election?” said U Min Min Tun, chair of the Latha township City Development Committee. “It would be better if the chief minister could announce the exact date of the next YCDC election.”

Mayor U Maung Maung Soe said the poll date will be announced soon, and the four appointed members will also be selected.

“We need to form an election commission first and then we will hold the election for the various levels of members. The election must be free and fair. And also we need to reduce the election budget,” said U Maung Maung Soe.

“What we have done is according to the law. If something is done forcibly by power, there won’t be development,” he said. “The government and YCDC members will have to resolve this dispute. What happened yesterday [May 17] is not too fair. It looks like a coup. I feel so sorry.”

The first YCDC election in 50 years was held in 2014. The municipal poll was widely criticised for curtailing participation with only one vote per household. Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein is demanding the election law be changed to grant voting rights to everyone over 18 years old.

Source: The Myanmar Times

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