Zaw Aye Maung, the Yangon region Ethnic Rakhine Affairs Minister, said on August 18 that he would garner support to table the ‘Myanmar Natural Resources Allocation Bill’ in the Parliament. The bill seeks to allocate shares for ethnic people from production and proceeds of natural resources extracted in collaboration with foreign and domestic companies.
He held a meeting in the Yankin monastery in Yangon where he explained the purpose of the bill and collected signatures in support of it so that it can be tabled in the Parliament. He also collected signatures from various townships in Rakhine State.
MP Zaw Aye Maung said that he would consult and coordinate the Rakhine Nationality Development Party (RNDP), the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) and legal experts to draft the bill.
They will collect at least 300,000 signatures before submitting the bill to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament).
Zaw Aye Maung told Mizzima, “Most of the regions inhabited by ethnic nationalities are rich in natural resources. The ethnic people will be overjoyed if the government allocates a portion of the production and sales of the natural resources, as per the law. For instance, ethnic Kachins will receive their share of resources if such a resource sharing law is instituted. Similarly, other ethnic people will get shares that they deserve and are entitled to. This move will strengthen our national integrity. We are working towards the three national causes, not attacking the government.”
The three national causes are territorial integrity of the Union, integration of ethnic unity and perpetuation of sovereignty.
Zaw Aye Maung said that this resources sharing bill will be beneficial for all the ethnic peoples in the country, not only the Rakhine people.
Lower House MP Khun Thein Pe from Hopone constituency, who is a member of the Projects and Finance Development Affairs Committee, said, “It will be good if the government can allocate shares for the ethnic peoples. Everyone wants their share of the natural resources for the development of their region. The government should decide on a fair share for them.”
The New Light of Myanmar reported on July 30 that the government would allocate 20% of the 100 million cubic feet of natural gas the country will receive daily to Kyaukphyu Township from the gas pipeline deal with China which connects Kyaukphyu in Rakhine and Kunming in China.
Similarly, the controversial product sharing deal in Letpadaung copper mine project was redrafted and re-signed in July 2013.