Posted in Political Institutions on Jun 22, 2019

This Bill aims to:

  • Enable the national archive to acquire records and archives of government departments and organisations
  • Collect records and evidence relating to historical value and heritage held by other non-governmental organisations and the public
  • Maintain records properly, for the sake of the citizens.

A National Records and Archives Supervisory Body would be formed by the Union Government with 5 to 15 members including the chair and the secretary. The Union Minister for Planning and Finance will be the chair, the director from the National Archives Department as the secretary, directors from other related government departments and organisations, other local experts and relevant citizens as members. Its duties and powers are policy formulation to manage and maintain records and archive, directing the Department on the transfer or purchase of those which are beneficial to the country, allocation of duties to the director in respect of the maintenance of records, and instructing the Department to allow or deny access to security grade records by the public or an organisation.

The duties of the director from the National Archives Department are to obtain the transference of records from government departments and organisations within the prescribed period, to negotiate for the transfer of other organizational and public’s record which could be beneficial to the country, to support the maintenance system of government departments’ records, to standardise and supervise the maintenance of records and archive, to report to the Supervisory Body about the potential archive out of the existing record in the Department, and to get prior permits from the chair of Supervisory Body if the relevant government departments ask for the transfer of original records.

The powers of the director include the buying of scarce evidence of national heritage from a person or an organization in line with the financial regulations, and the imposition of fees for studying and copying records and archives. Moreover, to allow studying records and archives of no security grade, but for those of security grade only with the Supervisory Body chair’s permission is also included.

Transfer of records

Supervisory Body is required to report to the Union Government in order to make the transfer of records and archive from government departments and organizations, and those must be accepted by the Department for the maintenance. Government departments and organisations are obliged to transfer those 10 years old deemed necessary for maintenance, those of less than 10 years but wish to transfer, electronic records of no use, treaty, agreement, MOUs within one month after signing, and national event, daily TV record from the state-owned media, book, gazette and newspaper in line with the principle. Before the transfer, security grade must be categorised.

Classifying security grade and tenure

In terms of security grade of archives, classification lasts for 30 years for the strictly confidential grade, 25 years for confidential grade, 20 years for private grade and 5 years for restricted grade.

Studying and using records and archive

The National Archives Department could continue forbidding access even though the security tenure expires. To use records of security grade by the departmental researchers, the recommendation of the head of government department and organization is needed and the director can permit this independently. If anyone wants to publish or copy records and archive, the permit of the director must be obtained and they have to pay the described fee. In addition, there must be a signing promise to comply with the existing law of printing and publishing.

Prohibition and penalty

There is an imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 months, a fine of not more than 200,000 MMK, or both for studying or copying records and archive of security grade without the permission, and removing out of the Department; an imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years, a fine of not more than 1 million MMK, or both for destroying, correcting, filling and moving the records considered as the potential archive; an imprisonment for a term of not more than 5 years, a fine of not more than 5 million MMK, or both for taking abroad without the permission; a fine of 50,000 MMK for violating bye-law, declaration, order, directive, and procedures issued by this law. There are also prescribed punishments for helping or putting effort or cooperating in committing the above offences.

For the governmental staff who prevent, forbid, disturb and delay the examination of transferring of the record, the civil services personnel law could be applied if the Department makes a complaint to the head of relevant government department and organisation.