Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Issue of Illegal Toll Taxes by Armed Forces to Stop in parliament

Sittwe: The issue of illegal toll taxes collected by Armed Forces in Arakan state was presented by an Arakanese MP in the people's parliament in an attempt to stop them, as the illegal collection is causing suffering for the Arakanese people. However the army is still collecting tolls illegally and widely from Arakanese people, said local resident sources.

navy-in-arakan A navy outpost in Arakan which collecting tolls from local people
U Khin Maung Latt, an Arakanese lawmaker elected from Rathedaung Township in Northern Arakan State, has raised the issue of the armed forces’ illegal taxations in the state, and is now demanding the government stop the forces from doing so in the session of the Peoples’ Parliament that was held on the 23rd of September.

U Win Myint, the Minister of Economy and Commerce, replied to the issue that was brought up by MP U Khin Maung Latt in the parliament, by saying that police forces and other joint forces are undertaking their responsibilities in order to prevent cross-border trafficking of arms and explosives, restricted goods and narcotics, and illegal immigrations of foreigners as the [Arakan] State is closely situated on the border of a neighboring country. The minister however has declined to state whether he will look into the matter or to stop the forces from collecting illegal taxes.

As a result, the armed forces have been continuing illegal taxations on local peoples at their check-gates across the state, said U Khine Pray Soe, the secretary of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party.

“When this issue was proposed in the parliament, the forces temporarily suspended their illegal taxations. Now the forces have restarted again and are continuing their illegal taxations on the local peoples after the government neglected to stop them in the parliament”, said U Khine Pray Soe.

He said a naval ship that is deployed at Taunnfuwa between Sittwe and Pauktaw in Kaladan River has been collecting illegal toll taxes from every boat that crosses near it—1,000 Kyat from every small boat and 10,000-20,000 Kyat from every cargo-laden boat.

“The naval ships are deployed at the waterways only for security and these illegal toll taxes by those ships have caused more difficulties for poverty-stricken local peoples who are struggling in their day to day lives amidst the economic crisis in our state”, he said.

According to a number of local people, the regime’s armed forces such as the army, police, Nasaka and special immigration forces, which are deployed in Arakan State, have opened their own security check-gates and have been collecting similar illegal taxations from the people on land, not only on waterways.

U Khine Pray Soe said “Good Governance and Clean Government” as claimed by the President U Thein Sein led government is meaningless and the country is far from the “practical reforms and developments” promised as the governemnt continues to fail prevention of illegal taxations by its armed forces.

http://www.narinjara.com/details.asp?id=3125
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