Elected representatives from Karen State held an open discussion this weekend, the first such public interaction organized since the politicians took office.
Around 100 people attended the event at No. 3 Basic Education Sub-High School in Hpa’an on December 9, including the state’s Mon and Bamar Ethnic Affairs Ministers, MPs, and local residents.
“We are meeting with the public to assist with the needs of the people who elected us. We want them to frankly tell us what they are lacking,” said Daw Nan Than Than Lwin, a Pyithu Hluttaw MP from Hpa’an. “Then we can negotiate with the government to solve their issues.”
The MPs and government officials explained administrative tasks and government programs and answered questions raised by constituents.
Among the foremost concerns of local residents were power blackouts, drainage problems, hostel tax fees, and public use of Hpa’an’s Aung Than Lwin football stadium.
Attendees expressed approval of the consultation, which they said brought them closer to their representatives and to understanding government processes.
“This practice is very good for the local residents. If [public consultations] can be held regularly, then we will have better expectations of our MPs,” said Saw Sein Htwe, a resident of Hpa’an’s ward 5.