Board Formed in Parliament to Scrutinize Arakanese National Flag and Costume

Sittwe: A board was formed with five members in the regional parliament of Arakan State on 3 April, reportedly to scrutinize the current Arakanese national flag and costume, despite that the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, or RNDP, which won the majority of elected parliamentary seats in the 2010 election, strongly opposed such a committee.
The members of the board are U Hla Thein, the regional advocate general, U Min Tun, professor of the faculty of history, U Zaw Win Hline, professor of the faculty of Burmese, U Mhway Hla, writer, and U Zaw Zaw, the curator of the cultural museum.
The five-member board was formed by the state parliament amid widespread opposition against renewal of the Arakan national symbols by lawmakers from the RNDP, and the Arakanese intellectual community.
“We, the members of the RNDP, have proposed in parliament matters that are more important than the already existing national flag and costume for the development of Arakan State, but the parliament never accepted our proposals, and has been busy renewing those national symbols since the session started. Now it has already formed a board for scrutinizing those symbols by the votes of the USDP and military representatives,” said a lawmaker of parliament from the RNDP, on condition of anonymity.
He said the state parliament decided to form the board with 24 votes in support, 16 objections, and 1 abstaining.
According to him, the board was formed in the parliamentary session on 3 April after lawmakers from the USDP – U Maung San Shwe from Buthidaung Township and U Than Naing from Rambree Township – spoke on 29 March in support of the proposal made by U Thar Nyaunt of the USDP from Man Aung Township to change the current Arakanese national flag and national dress, asserting that they are out of fashion with the current age.
Many Arakanese are now worried that their long accepted national symbols will be ruined after being scrutinized by the board, he said.
The Arakan State flag, seals, and national dress emerged when Arakan State was promoted to a state from division-level status by the Burmese socialist government led by former dictator U Ne Win, in accordance with the 1974 constitution.
The flag, seal, and national dress were recognized even by the U Ne Win government, and they were developed by Arakanese scholars and historians after about three years of work.