A bill that will name a new Mon State bridge for the independence leader easily passed Tuesday’s vote in the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of Myanmar’s parliament. Thirteen members of parliament (MPs) and the Minister of Construction spoke in favor of the name, and two MPs spoke against it. The bill passed with 217 votes for, 43 votes against and 116 abstentions.
“The Hluttaw is not the place to decide a bridge’s name. We have a system of balanced responsibilities for legislation, execution and justice, and the role of the Hluttaw is not active administration. Naming the bridge is a function of the administrative government, not legislation,” said representative U Maung Myint, of Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), from Min Kin Township Constituency, in Sagaing Region.
The proposal to name the bridge the “General Aung San Bridge” was introduced to the Hluttaw in February by Mi Kon Chan, a National League for Democracy representative from Paung Township in Mon State. There has been passionate opposition to the name in the state, where many believe that Mon, rather than Barman history should be celebrated.
“If [the Hluttaw] decides to ignore the will of the local residents and proceed with the name ‘General Aung San Bridge,’ we will continue to mobilize the Mon Nation against them,” said Nai Mon Raja, a Mon activist.
A protest on March 2 drew more than 3,000 people to the bridge, which will connect the Mon State capitol Mawlamyine to Chaungzone, Bilugyun Island, when it is completed later this year.
A second protest planned for March 19 is expected to draw as many as 10,000 people.