The Burmese Parliament will convene its 5th session on Oct. 18 to take up the new Foreign Investment Law and media reform legislation, according to an announcement Wednesday on state-run media.
In the last session, Parliament approved the nomination of Nyan Tun as a new vice president, the appointment of 11 new ministerial posts and a new auditor-general.
Among the most pressing legislation to be considered is a new Foreign Investment Law, which after approval at the end of the last session has been returned to Parliament with suggested amendments by President Thein Sein.
Also, a new draft media law is expected to be taken up, after numerous delays and discussions with professional journalists’ groups. Recently, prior censorship rules have been rescinded and the state censorship department is being dismantled, according to media reports.
However, journalists say there are still many existing laws and regulations that serve to restrict freedom of speech and freedom of the press, which they hope will be addressed in the new media law.
In the last session of Parliament, the government undertook a major cabinet reshuffle from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7, when nine ministers were reassigned. Two ministers and the auditor-general resigned. Fifteen former ministers remained in posts without change, while one deputy minister was shifted and 19 new deputy ministers were appointed, in what was viewed as a consolidation of power by Burmese President Thein Sein, who moved hardliners out of his inner circle and replaced them with more reform-minded ministers.
The reshuffle of the cabinet included the addition of four ministries to the President's Office and the merger of Electric Power Ministry No. 1 and No. 2 to a single ministry and the abolishment of the Ministry of Industrial Development.