Myanmar scraps stringent emergency law

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MPs on the steps of Myanmar parliamentImage source, AP

Myanmar has scrapped a stringent law which had been used by the former military leaders to silence opponents.

The Emergency Provisions Act was introduced in 1950 after independence from Britain.

It allowed the authorities to detain people without charge and prescribed jail or execution for a wide range of offences considered treason.

It allowed punishments of up to seven years for crimes like disrupting public morality or spreading false news.

The National League for Democracy (NLD), which swept to power in Myanmar earlier this year ending decades of military rule, had been trying to get rid of the law.

"This law was used by the socialist dictatorship to arrest anyone who went against them," said Tun Tun Hein, chairman of the parliament's bill committee.

"Now we have abolished it because we have a people's government," he told Reuters.

But the move faced opposition from from some of the military, which still holds a mandatory 25% of seats in parliament and who argued the law was still necessary for national security.