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Myanmar Parliamentary Study Tour to Korea
The first session of Myanmar’s Parliament was held in January 2011, but the legislative body has been extraordinarily busy catching up on a long list of laws that need to be updated, revised, or established anew to meet the country’s democratic transition and shift toward a market-oriented economy after nearly six decades of centralized control. While the legislative agenda for the upcoming 10th session has not yet been released, a glimpse of what the Parliament debated and passed in the last session provides a good sense of the hectic pace and importance of the laws discussed – from national planning, budget, and taxation, to human rights and media freedoms.
Myanmar’s Parliament is challenged by significant capacity gaps. Parliament members and staff are simultaneously required to carry out their work while also establishing for the first time the basic institutions, services, and rules and regulations of a functioning Parliament in a democratic system. The issues under debate are new, and lack of information is hindering a more informed law-making process. The experiences of other legislative bodies that have previously gone through such transitions can provide useful lessons to the Myanmar Parliament. The Asia Foundation in Myanmar supported a study tour, funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), from April 5-10, 2014, for government officials to learn about the structure and operations of the Republic of Korea’s National Assembly.