This INDIVIDUAL PAPER may be viewed by clicking the blue VIEW PRESENTATION button (located across from the presenter's name/below the title) OR the View Presentation in the footer of this pop-up.
Parliamentary Questions and the Tentative Oversight of the Military in Myanmar
Individual Paper Presenter(s)
City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Taking its cue from the literature on legislative oversight of military institutions, this paper explores the use of parliamentary questions in Myanmar’s national legislature to address security-related concerns and tentatively oversee the activities, behavior and public expenditures of the country’s still all-powerful armed forces (Tatmadaw). Using the case of the Union parliament elected in 2015 and controlled by the National League for Democracy (NLD), the study looks at how elected representatives have attempted to undertake their oversight duties over the Tatmadaw through the regular use of parliamentary questions. It draws on a quantitative analysis of legislative records, and is supplemented with ethnographic research and interviews carried out in Naypyitaw with legislators and parliamentary staffers involved. The study unearths new empirical evidence to underscore how steps have been taken toward a form of bottom-up, cursory legislative scrutiny of Myanmar’s defence sector. This tends to confirm that the ‘fire alarm oversight’ model – where legislators act only once alarm is raised about a wrongdoing or misconduct – is best suited to nascent democratic systems in developing countries.