15 Sep Census ethnicity data must be published before election, say ethnic leaders

Written by Hein Ko Soe Published in Ethnic Issues Read 6017 times

Ethnic leaders have spoken to Mizzima on September 14 to reveal their concerns over the late release of census data relating to ethnicity and the impact it may have on the provision of political representation at state and regional level.

The Myanmar Constitution provides a state or regional hluttaw seat for any ethnic grouping with a local population equal to or exceeding 0.1 percent of the national population, where that group does not already have a self-administered zone within the state.

The preliminary findings of the 2014 census, which were release on August 29 revealed Myanmar’s population to be about 51.4 million people, this means that any ethnic group with more than 51,400 people living in a single state or region can vote for a state or region hluttaw representative who will also act as the State or Region Minister for that ethnic group’s affairs. Nationwide there are currently 29 State or Region Ministers for Ethnic Affairs.

U Myint Kyaing, the secretary of the Central Census Commission, told Mizzima, “Full census can only be announced only after the elections in December 2015 or early 2016.”

Naing Ngwe Thein, chairman of the Mon Nationalist Party told Mizzima that with the movement of population, particularly to the large urban centres such as Yangon, the delay in publishing census information could deprive voters of their constitutional right.

“There are Mon people living in Yangon who cannot speak Burmese well, but they are now included in Burmah population, the government must act,” said Naing Ngwe Thein.

Sagaing Region Minister for Chin Ethnic Affairs U No Than Kap told Mizzima, “The government must announce them [the full census results] intime for 2015 general election.”