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Myanmar Parliament introduces intranet as part of digital transformation strategy

The intranet, based on a Microsoft SharePoint 2016 “on-premises” platform and entirely developed by an in-house team, provides members of parliament and staff with access to session and committee documents such as meeting agendas, minutes, bills, questions, motions, research papers and more. With the technical support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Myanmar and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Parliament has laid the foundations for modern information management by:

  • establishing critical ICT infrastructure (2014–2015), including linking up the houses of parliament and establishing a data centre facility
  • acquiring and implementing the SharePoint platform in 2016
  • setting up and training (from scratch) a 12-person team of in-house SharePoint developers (also known as the SharePoint Working Group, SPWG) in 2017 and initiating the first ever in-house-led intranet project in 2018, under the guidance of the ICT Steering Committee, UNDP and the IPU. As a result, the SPWG created the Hluttaw Intranet version 1, which included pages for several departments, including the meetings department. The staff of the departments were subsequently trained to upload and manage data.

The early establishment in 2014 of an ICT steering committee for technical coordination made up of the deputy directors general and the ICT directors of the houses of parliament – mirroring good international practice – paved the way for these developments. Since 2014 the IPU has made available a team of national ICT experts who work daily with the ICT departments to guide and advise on technical implementation matters and capacity-building. This is complemented by regular visits by international ICT experts specializing in various e-parliament fields.

Following a successful demonstration and test usage of the version 1 intranet among a small group of committee MPs in March 2019, it was decided to introduce the intranet to all MPs and staff through a launch event on 8 May. At this event, Deputy Speaker U Htun Htun Hein underlined that the intranet was “a system of e-parliament that will allow Hluttaw representatives to perform their tasks more easily and quickly”. The event was also attended by the Deputy Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, MPs, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win, the Secretary of the e-Government Steering Committee, the Deputy Minister for Transport and Communications U Tha Oo, UNDP Programme Adviser and Chief of Unit Mr. Joerg Stahlhut, the Directors General of Union Parliaments, the Secretary of the e-Government working committee, the Director General of Information Technology and Cyber Security, chief information officers of ministries and their deputies, officials from implementation agencies, Hluttaw staff and partner development associations.

© Pyidaungsu Hluttaw

© Pyidaungsu Hluttaw

Following the launch event, the Parliament began the hands-on training of members of parliamentary committees. So far, some 200 MPs have been trained, with more to follow by the end of the year. MPs are now able to access the intranet on their personal mobile devices (both on-site and remotely from their constituencies), on work laptops (on-site only) and on dedicated PCs in the MPs’ reading rooms.

Looking to the future, and especially to the next parliamentary session after the November 2020 elections, the IPU advised the Hluttaw Administration to consider potential models for providing all new MPs with intranet access and relevant information services through tablets while achieving cost savings by reducing paper use and printing and distribution costs. Everyone agrees that the primary aim for the next intranet is to make it more MP-centric. The Parliament of Myanmar would be interested to learn from the experience of other parliaments that have achieved something similar.

U Aung Thu Min, Chief Information Officer, ICT Department, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw
E-mail: [email protected]

U Wai Lin Aung, Assistant Director, ICT Department, Pyithu Hluttaw,
E-mail: [email protected]

U Kyaw Myo Khaing, Assistant Director, ICT Department, Amyotha Hluttaw,
Email: [email protected]