The status of holders of temporary IDs – widely known as white cards – should be clarified as soon as possible, a leading MP said last week, as parliament voted to give them voting rights in an upcoming national referendum. Meanwhile, the head of an ethnic Rakhine party said he plans to submit the issue to the Constitutional Tribunal. U Zaw Myint Pe, chair of the Amyotha Hluttaw National Planning Affairs Committee, urged the Ministry of Immigration and Population to settle the matter without delay. “If the problem persists into the next generation, it will be rather difficult to settle it. White card holders should not be allowed to vote. They should be recognised as citizens or foreigners,” said U Zaw Myint Pe said. He made the comments on February 4, two days after the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw voted 328 to 79 to approve a proposal from President U Thein Sein that people who voted in the 2010 election should have the right to vote in a referendum scheduled for May.
The vote came following heated discussion between MPs, with a number of military and civilian representatives arguing for giving white card holders voting rights. Most of those who spoke out against the president’s proposal were ethnic Rakhine MPs.
Ethnic Rakhine representatives told the hluttaw that white cards were issued to immigrants as a temporary measure. As they are not citizens, they should not be allowed to vote, they argued.
“To preserve the nation’s sovereign integrity, voting rights should not be offered to those who are not citizens,” Rakhine National Party chair U Aye Maung said.
Full Article: White card vote prompts call for ministry resolution.