A member of Union Parliament Land Investigation Commission earlier this week called for amending the Nay Pyi Taw Development Law (2009) as it is designed to punish farmers.
“This law needs to be amended. We must have laws. But this law does not conform to the president’s policy on poverty alleviation, said Min Thu, the member of the commission, adding that the law must be in line with the government policy.
Nay Pyi Taw is a greenfield capital city, built on farm land. It was named Myanmar’s new capital in 2005, being the linkage between two biggest cities – Yangon in the South and Mandalay in the North. Home to government offices and Myanmar International Convention Centre, the city is now attracting huge development in the hotel sector.
According to the commissioner, the authorities and their crony businessmen have grabbed land plots near Dakkhina Township of the Nay Pyi Taw Council area while the local land owners are being charged with trespassing on private lands. Such cases should not have happened in the area where the president takes office, Min Thu pointed out.
As the development law is related to civic affairs, it should enforce rules and discipline only. But the law is designed to mete out punishment with both imprisonment and fines.
“The law is unconstitutional. The constitution stipulates that the home and property of a citizen must be protected. But in the region with the highest authority, such cases (land grabs) are happening. So, we should consider the rights of the citizens enshrined in the constitution,” said Min Thu.
He said about 300 land confiscation cases had emerged in Nay Pyi Taw since 2012. At present, there are about 150 cases and some 100 local farmers have been imprisoned.
A Lower House MP also said: “The Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law was enacted after 2012. Since then, many farmers are imprisoned. The 2009 Nay Pyi Taw Development Law was passed before the emergence of parliament. Now we have learned that a representative of Yangon Region Parliament submitted a proposal to abolish Yangon City Municipal Act. In Nay Pyi Taw, local farmers are facing losses due to this development law.”