27 February 2021, Sittwe
The military-run Arakan State Administration Council has warned residents of a recently reinstated requirement to inform local authorities of guests who stay overnight at their homes, saying legal action will be taken against those who fail to do so.
The junta on February 13 revived the overnight guest reporting provision of the Ward or Village-tract Administration Law, effectively reimposing mandatory overnight guest registration.
The law also grants authorities the right to carry out warrantless household inspections. Under Myanmar’s previous military regime and the quasi-civilian government that succeeded it, the law was used to hunt down political activists and dissidents.
Colonel Min Than, a member of the Arakan State Administration Council, warned that residents who failed to report overnight guests would face legal consequences.
“The law has been in force since the government has announced [its reinstatement]. Action will be taken in accordance with the law against violators,” he said.
Under the law, violators are subject to a fine of K10,000 ($7.10) or up to seven days in prison if they do not register overnight guests with local authorities.
Sittwe Township administrator U Aung Zaw Oo said local residents are following the law and informing authorities of any overnight visitors.
“They abide by the law. Ward administrators only ask for necessary data when ward residents report guests in their homes. There are no formalities like having to fill out overnight guest registration forms,” said U Aung Zaw Oo.
Sittwe resident U Maung Tha Sein said members of the public must abide by the laws issued by whatever government is in power.
“I will report if there are guests in my home. We must do so. It is an order issued by those who are governing the country,” he said. “And it is not a hassle, reporting to authorities. We just need to tell the name and citizenship ID of the guests. Citizens who are under the rule of a government must obey the laws enacted by the government.”