Vietnam lawmakers want rapid adjustments to land laws

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Matters related to Vietnam's land laws are "depressing people" and the legislation needs to be modified soon as possible, lawmakers said Friday in response to the government's proposal that the adjustment plan be put off until next year. 

They were also disagreeing with the National Assembly's Standing Committee which said the same day that it has agreed to the government's proposal to postpone the project of adjusting land laws.

The project was originally scheduled for discussion at the next session to be held this year end.

Instead, it will be discussed at the mid-year session next year and put to vote at the end of the year, the committee said amidst public concern over recent land revocation scandals in different localities.

However, Vo Thi Dung, deputy chief of the lawmakers' delegation from Ho Chi Minh City, said: "People from all over the country are looking forward to the National Assembly considering and adjusting the laws, day by day, and hour by hour.

"So, I suggest the National Assembly should order related agencies, especially the government, to urgently introduce the lawmaking project soon to meet people's demands as well as solve their depression about related matters," she said

Vu Cong Tien, a representative from the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, agreed, saying that it is unconvincing that the government wants to delay adjusting land laws because they had to wait for changes in the 1992 Constitution.

Adjustments to the constitution, including those regarding land laws, were already discussed and given guidelines at the session of the  Party Central Committee last month, he said.

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It is too late to wait for the adjustments of the constitution to be completed next year and then applied in 2014, as planned, before starting to change land laws, he added.

In response to lawmakers' urging, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said although the Central Committee already arrived at conclusions on problems regarding land laws like the minimum and maximum periods for agriculture land use, the committee also said "land is a very complicated matter which needs careful consideration."

The committee, therefore, asked the government to continue clarifying some more points like land prices and land revocation as well as compensation for site clearance, and report on this at the committee's next session to be held this October, Hai said.

The committee then will issue a resolution on land law adjustments, he said.

"I am very worried that without enough time and consideration, the recently-reported problems (regarding land laws) will not be solved properly," the deputy PM said.

Since the beginning of this year several land eviction attempts have grabbed headlines, including one in Hai Phong's Tien Lang District where farmers and local authorities were engaged in a violent encounter that injured six police officers and soldiers.

The district authorities wanted to revoke the land leased to the farmers after agreed terms, but investigations later found that both the lease and the eviction were illegal.

Meanwhile, in another controversial case, a mother and a daughter in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho took off their clothes to protest the eviction of their family from their land on May 22. Earlier the husband of the family attempted to commit suicide by drinking pesticide in front of the officials who came to evict them.

The land was meant to be cleared for a housing project that the local government has awarded to a company, but the family did not accept the offered compensation, saying it was too low.

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