Draft YCDC Law to drive Yangon growth submitted in Parliament

Yangon’s leaders want to upgrade and promote the city as a business hub for the country. Last week, its mayor, U Maung Maung Soe, submitted draft legislation for the governing and development of the city to the Yangon Regional Parliament.

“The draft YCDC Law covers 32 sectors and has 398 sections concerning the development of Yangon into a strong business city. We are now seeking advice and confirmation from the MPs before proceeding with the legislation,” U Maung Maung Soe said.

The draft YCDC Law, which was drawn up by the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) with the help of 31 government-appointed experts and 9 members of parliament (MPs), is intended to replace the existing 1922 City of Rangoon Municipal Act and supplement the 2013 YCDC Law. It was drafted following a 2016 request by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in late 2016.

So far though, the public’s response to the bill has been largely negative. Criticism over the bill has been fiercest within the engineering community. In December, engineers told The Myanmar Times that one of the clauses in the new bill stipulates a fine of K1 million -K5 million on contractors, architects, engineers or civil engineers working without a license from the YCDC.

But the engineers said many in the profession have already obtained certificates of qualification from the relevant professional bodies under the Myanmar Engineering Council Law and Myanmar Architect Council Law, which are enacted at the Union level.

The other issue is power to govern Yangon would be monopolised by the YCDC because the bill confers all governing rights to the development committee. As such, Yangon residents will have no right to sue against any wrongdoing by members of the YCDC. Furthermore, residents are not permitted to inspect the YCDC’s revenue and expenditure.

In addition, the punishment for committing crimes which have repercussions on the public are not strict enough compared to minor crimes.

For example, the new draft regulations stipulate a fine of K1 million-K5 million on Yangon water treatment facilities for the disposal of untreated waste water into the public sewage system. But engineers said the fines are not commensurate to the cost of installing a water treatment facility and will not deter irresponsible disposing of wastewater.

Yangon development

But the bill will also pave the way for further economic and social development in Yangon city. According to U Maung Maung Soe, the growing population of Yangon has given rise to social problems such as squatters, a shortage of drinking water, illegal use of electricity and building construction, traffic accidents and pollution.

“These problems have a negative impact on public health and business, which blocks further development and growth of the city. We want residents to be able to enjoy their right to live and work in Yangon and more businesses to open in Yangon. That’s why we have drafted and submitted the bill,” he said.

“Yangon is only over 300 square miles but the population destiny is huge. So we need more space, pure drinking water and safer buildings, which the bill provides for,” he added. Around 6 million people, or 12 percent of Myanmar’s population, live in Yangon, and experts estimate that will rise to 10 million by 2040.

“As soon as the bill pass in the Hluttaw, it will be disclosed to the public,” said U Thein Myint, chair of the Yangon Regional Parliament bill committee.

Source : Myanmar Times

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