Khin Saw Wai of the Arakan National Party (ANP) said that under the process, more than half of the undocumented Muslims in Rakhine would be eligible for citizen status in accordance with the 1982 Citizenship Act.
Once granted citizenship, the Muslims -- many of whom have been living in internally displaced persons camps since 2013 -- would be free to leave the state, in which they were subject to violence since mid-2012.
“The first step to solve the chronic problems of Rakhine state should be the citizenship verification process. And I hope my proposal would be debated and voted very soon,” the lower house MP for the ANP -- which won the majority of seats in Rakhine in November polls -- said Wednesday by phone.
“The process, if successfully implemented, would help the eligible ones to be citizens, and enjoy the basic rights of the citizens of the country."
Khin Saw Wai submitted the proposal to parliament May 6 to urge the government to conduct verification for what she referred to as "Bengali Muslims" in Rakhine under the 1982 Citizenship Act as soon as possible.
The lower house speaker Win Myint approved the issue for discussion, however the exact date for debate and vote has yet to be announced.
In Feb. 2015, authorities halted a pilot project for citizenship verification process for Muslims in Rakhine after most identified themselves as Rohingya -- a term rejected by the government, which sees them as illegal migrants from Bangladesh and refers to them as "Bengali".
Under the pilot project launched in June 2014, more than 200 Muslims, mostly ethnic Kaman and some Bengalis, were reportedly granted citizenship in Rakhine.
Local media reported Wednesday that Rakhine authorities resumed the project May 1.
“It is one of the ministry’s projects for its first 100 days [under the current administration],” Myint Kyaing, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population was quoted as saying by Frontier Myanmar -- a local weekly publication.
Khin Saw Wai said Wednesday that more than half of the undocumented "Bengali" in Rakhine would be eligible for citizenship in accordance with the 1982 Citizenship Act.
“However, [the] 'Rohingya' word would not be accepted at all,” she underlined.
“All our party, the ANP, wants is to grant the eligible Bengali citizenship status, and let them freely move and settle in any parts of the country,” she said.
“This way, Bengali Muslims would have citizenship rights, and Rakhine state would be more stable than before".