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HEARTBEAT OF THE NATION 1200 Ks. WWW.MMTIMES.COM ISSUE 715 | FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014
HEARTBEAT OF THE NATION 1200 Ks. WWW.MMTIMES.COM ISSUE 715 | FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014
HEARTBEAT OF THE NATION
1200
Ks.
WWW.MMTIMES.COM
ISSUE 715 | FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014
SCHISMS THREATEN
TO DERAIL PRISONER
REVIEW COMMITTEE
MAGWE REGION DRAWS
OIL HUNTERS SEEKING
BETTER LIFE
NEWS 4
BUSINESS 27
Figures in
constitution
report
questioned
by MPs
EI EI TOE LWIN
eieitoelwin@gmail.com
A REPORT presented to parliament
last week by a committee set up to re-
view proposals to revise the 2008 Con-
stitution has been met with criticism
by some MPs who questioned its valid-
ity, with many responses having been
submitted late by the Union Solidarity
and Development Party (USDP).
The 109-member Constitutional
Review Joint Committee was set up
last July to seek opinions on the con-
stitution with a view to proposing
amendments. Almost 300,000 sugges-
tions for changes were submitted by
political parties, NGOs, legal experts
and government ministries, covering
a wide range of constitutional issues.
The original deadline for the com-
mittee’s report was extended from
December 31 to January 31, when the
committee delivered the results in
parliament.
The 10-page report divided sugges-
PAGES
14-15
Performers present a dragon dance during a Chinese New Year parade in Hong Kong
on January 31. Chinese communities across Asia came together to usher in the Year of
the Horse, with Mandalay resuming its celebrations after events were cancelled in 2013.
tions received by the public into catego-
ries such as amendments, annulments
and additions, but did not include sug-
gestions from the committee itself.
Some MPs reported that they felt
the results were biased, particularly
relating to section 59(f), which cur-
rently bars Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
from the presidency. While popular
opinion understands this clause to be
the most controversial, the commit-
tee’s report found few suggested it be
changed, with an overwhelming ma-
jority of those cited saying it should
be left alone.
PHOTO: AFP
MORE ON NEWS 7

Telecoms licences granted

After many delays, the government last week finally issued operating licences to Ooredoo and Telenor, both of which promised to launch services within six to eight months. BUSINESS 24

licences to Ooredoo and Telenor, both of which promised to launch services within six to eight
2 THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014 Page 2 Page 2 THE INSIDER:

2 THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014

Page 2 Page 2 THE INSIDER: The local lowdown & best of the web
Page 2
Page 2
THE INSIDER: The local lowdown & best of the web

online editor Kayleigh Long | kayleighelong@gmail.com

HUGE BIRD FOUND IN CHIN STATE

an “australian vulture” was captured last week by a farmer in Haka, Chin State, when he saw two of the avian nightmares feasting on the bloated corpse of a cow. The brave farmer captured one of the pair, while the other flew away. The New Light of Myanmar reported that the staff of the Myothit ward’s forestry department said the bird has a wingspan of over two metres, or “6.5 feet wide in stretching wings”. The farmer apparently intends on keeping the bird to breed, but just how this will be achieved with only one vulture is not entirely clear. anyone

hoping to catch a glimpse of the winged beastie may be out of luck, with the New Light offering this somewhat cryptic explanation of the farmer’s intentions:

“The bird will be shown at the significant festival, said the owner of the bird. Such bird can not be seen in other seasons.”

THE COST OF FAME

Myanmar film industry figures last week complained publicly about the exorbitant fees expected by leading actors, saying this has had a detrimental impact on the quality of local productions. “If you calculate the total cost of films and direct-to-home videos, the leading

When Myanmar was Burma

Archival material provided by Pansodan Gallery

Myanmar was Burma Archival material provided by Pansodan Gallery Post-war British publication Times of Burma ,

Post-war British publication Times of Burma, April 1947

actors’ fees takes up half of the total filmmaking costs,” a film producer told eleven Media, on condition of anonymity. as anyone who’s ever caught an overnight bus in Myanmar can confirm, there are approximately seven actors in rotation in local films so it’s no surprise this tight-knit elite union has the industry over a barrel. “after spending a lot of money on the fees of the actors and actresses, we try to be thrifty by cutting back the costs for hiring other co-actors and the daily expenses of the technician team,” another producer said. “We can’t spend more money to film and good location sites. So it’s no wonder that the quality of films continues to degrade.”

YE HTUT INVOKES GITMO

Deputy Information Minister

u ye Htut last week elaborated on the

decision to reject calls from civil society and various foreign governments for

the authorities to allow an independent investigation into the alleged massacre in Du Chee yar Tan village in rakhine State. Speaking with radio Free asia on January 30, u ye Htut invoked Guantanamo bay as a precedent justifying internal investigation of alleged grave human rights abuses. “In the past, when international society proposed that Washington allow them to investigate the alleged abuse of detainees at Guantanamo bay detention camp, the uS rejected it saying it was their own issue. uS said they did not need international society to be involved

in the process as the country had enough

capability to investigate the issue by itself. We have similar such capability as we have organisations to investigate for the

issue”

PAGE 2 FELICITATES JAPANESE EMBASSY

a

hip-hop show took place last week

at

Kandawgyi Park in celebration of 60

years of diplomatic relations between Myanmar and Japan. The music oscillated between hip-hop and what could perhaps have been more accurately described as K-pop, or “a hostage situation” judging by the stoic expressions of the Japanese diplomatic officials who remained seated while “Smoke Weed every Day” blared from the pile of speakers. all in all, it was a great show and a promising step forward from the likes of Michael Learns to rock. Thanks, Japanese embassy!

Nan Khin Zayar for NOW! magazine. Photo: Htet Aung Kyaw ( HAK studio) Style Statement
Nan Khin Zayar
for NOW! magazine.
Photo: Htet Aung Kyaw ( HAK studio)
Style
Statement
rock. Thanks, Japanese embassy! Nan Khin Zayar for NOW! magazine. Photo: Htet Aung Kyaw ( HAK

www.mmtimes.com

NEWS EDITOR: Thomas Kean | tdkean@gmail.com

News 3

Anger as govt handpicks media for Rakhine briefing

TIM MCLAUGHLIN

of

Information have all the records?”

timothy.mclaughlin3@gmail.com

It was not just local media that were denied access. Ko Thar Nyunt Oo, a reporter for Voice of America who was also forced

to wait outside the briefing, said he had sent a request to attend to both

MEMBERS of the media have criti- cised the government for only allowing reporters from four local publications to attend a press conference on the recent violence in northern Rakhine State. They have also decried as “unac- ceptable” the continuing restrictions on access for international journalists. Only reporters from 7 Days, Eleven Media, Voice and Yangon Times were allowed inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Yangon to hear the government’s account of violence that took place in Maungdaw township in mid-January. The Ministry for Infor- mation said that the four were chosen because their circulation numbers are the highest. The decision left the bulk of report- ers, including one from The Myanmar Times, waiting outside as Deputy Min- ister for Information U Ye Htut and Minister for Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin briefed members of the diplomatic community. “Here we have some limits on space so we gave priority for reporters from daily newspapers to attend this occasion,” U Ye Htut told journalists afterward. “We chose [four publica- tions] for the event based on their cir- culation.” But U Soe Myint, editor-in-chief of Mizzima, said the government should not give preferential treatment to cer- tain media outlets. “If [the briefing] is open, it should be open [to all],” he said. “If it is closed, it should be closed.” He also questioned the manner in which local outlets were selected. “It is very funny. Does the Ministry

U

Ye Htut and the Ministry of Foreign

Affairs earlier that morning, as per the government’s guidelines. But when he arrived at the brief- ing he was told his name was not on the list of approved media. He called the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nay Pyi Taw but was told the ministry was not responsible for deciding who was granted access. The Associated Press, which has been singled out by the Ministry of Information’s News and Periodicals Enterprise for its coverage of the Maungdaw incident, was also barred from attending. The AP has called on the government to enable foreign journalists and publications to visit Maungdaw and verify reports that up

to

48 people were killed.

“Our credibility relies on being ac- curate and reporting without preju- dice, but accurately, so that people can trust AP news. To that end, we reiterate our request to be allowed to visit north Rakhine in order to pro- vide the most accurate account of de- velopments in the region,” said John Daniszewski, AP senior managing edi- tor for international news. The government has said that it will allow local media members into Maungdaw but will keep interna- tional media out, citing concerns over safety – restrictions that U Soe Myint described last week as “unacceptable”. – Additional reporting by Kayleigh Long

Minister decries Indian ‘occupation’ of border

EI EI TOE LWIN eieitoelwin@gmail.com

territory between border posts 76 and 79, some of which have yet to be put in place, U Tin Oo Lwin, vice minister for foreign affairs, told Pyidaungsu Hlut- taw on January 28. “We will exchange findings made by both sides and renegotiate in joint working groups on border affairs so we can start the border measurement. We have also demanded that India withdraw their occupation to within a 10-metre zone,” he said. Daw Khin Moe Wai, MP for Min King constituency in Sagaing Region, said, “Protests have arisen in Kalay and my own constituency. The lack of pre- cise border measurements has led to disputes, as well as drug trafficking, il- legal log trade and even illegal entry by Bengalis.” – Translation by Zar Zar Soe

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has demanded that structures built by In- dians on the Myanmar side of the bor- der be destroyed. The request comes as the two countries have agreed to demarcate their more than 1600-kilo- metre (1000-mile) common border. About 165km of the border remains to be established with the setting-up of marker posts. On January 17 the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw approved an agreement between the two govern- ments to complete the demarcation. According to a joint survey conduct- ed last month, homes, a playground, part of a road, some fences and three lampposts were built on Myanmar’s

conduct- ed last month, homes, a playground, part of a road, some fences and three lampposts
Photo: Zarni Phyo
Photo: Zarni Phyo

Arakan League for Democracy president U Aye Tha Aung speaks at a press conference in Yangon on January 29.

UN will not respond to allegations of falsehood

January 29. UN will not respond to allegations of falsehood WA LONE walone14@gmail.com THE United Nations

WA LONE

walone14@gmail.com

THE United Nations said last week that it would not respond to ac- cusations that it had issued false reports about alleged deadly con-

flicts in Rakhine State last month. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released

were believed to be victims of vio- lence in Maungdaw township. “We have already shared this in- formation with the authorities, but we cannot provide further details, such as the names of the patients, due to doctor-patient confidential- ity,” said Eddy McCall, the commu- nication manager at MSF. Minister of Home Affairs Lieu- tenant General Ko Ko has blamed UN agencies and international non-governmental organisations for releasing “false information” about events in Rakhine State,

a

statement on January 24 saying

adding that it has made the con-

it

had received credible informa-

flicts “more complicated”.

tion that 40 Muslims had been

killed by Rakhine residents of Du Chee Yar Tan village in southern Maungdaw township on January

13.

U Aye Win, the spokesperson for the UN’s Yangon Office, told The Myanmar Times on January 30 that he could not confirm the number of deaths and injuries, but added that it was certain that at least one person had died. Meanwhile, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it had treat- ed 22 patients on January 14 who

‘The people will not forgive such false reporting, which can disturb the rule of law.’

Lieutenant General Ko Ko Minister of Home Affairs

law.’ Lieutenant General Ko Ko Minister of Home Affairs “The people will not forgive such false

“The people will not forgive such false reporting, which can disturb the rule of law,” the minis- ter said. Members of the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) political party have also warned that false information would only increase conflicts between communities in Rakhine State. “The UN and INGOs will have to be responsible for their deci- sions,” ALD president U Aye Tha Aung said at a press conference in Yangon on January 29. The government took a small group of people – consisting of representatives from the Rakhine Investigation Commission, the UN- HCR and the UN Office for the Co- ordination of Human Affairs (UNO- CHA) – to Maungdaw township on January 23, with a report expected to be released soon. However, U Aye Win said the UN has complained to the gov- ernment that the two UN repre- sentatives who went on the heavily monitored trip were handpicked by authorities and were not “ex- perts” in investigating or assessing conflicts.

monitored trip were handpicked by authorities and were not “ex- perts” in investigating or assessing conflicts.
TRADEMARK CAUTION NOTICE NIPPON PAINT KABU- SHIKI KAISHA (NIPPON PAINT CO., LTD), a company organized

TRADEMARK CAUTION NOTICE

NIPPON PAINT KABU- SHIKI KAISHA(NIPPON PAINT CO., LTD), a company organized under the laws of JAPAN, carrying on business as manufacturer and having its principal office at 2-1-2, Oyodo - kita, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan is the owner and sole proprietor of the following Trademarks:-

NIPPON PAINT

Registration No.

4/1722/1991

Used in respect of :-

PYLOX

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4/1724/1991

VINILEX

Registration No.

4/864/1991

“Paints, varnishes, lacquers and putty”.(International Class2)

fraudulent

intentions of the above marks will be dealt with according to law.

Any unauthorized use, imitation, infringements or

Tin Ohnmar Tun & The Law Chambers Ph: 0973150632 Email : law_chambers@seasiren.com.mm (For. Seiwa Patent & Law, Japan) Dated : 3 rd February, 2014

TRADEMARK CAUTION NOTICE

Worldtech Electronic Company Limited, a company organized under the laws of Thailand carrying on business a Merchants

and having its principal office at 75/120-121, Ocean Tower 2, 42 nd Floor, Sukhumvit 19, Klongtoey Nua, Khet Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand is the owner and sole proprietor of the following

Trademark:-

the owner and sole proprietor of the following Trademark:- Reg.No. 4/4834/2010 & 4/9830/2013 Used in respect

Reg.No. 4/4834/2010 & 4/9830/2013 Used in respect of :-“Scientific, nautical, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, checking (supervision), life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity; apparatus for recording, transmission or reproduction of sound or images like digital audio players/ recorders; audio disc players/ recorders; hard disc audio players/ recorders; audio amplifiers, audio apparatus, audio cassette players /recorders, audio players/ recorders; televisions, liquid crystal display televisions, plasma display panel televisions, liquid crystal displays, video disc players/ recorders, hard disc video players/ recorders, digital video players/ recorders; magnetic data carriers, recording discs like audio and video discs; automatic vending machines and mechanisms for coin-operated apparatus; cash registers, calculating machines, data processing equipment and computers; fire-extinguishing apparatus; global positioning instruments/apparatus.”

(International Class 9)

Any unauthorised use, imitation, infringements or fraudulent intentions of the above mark will be dealt with according to law.

Tin Ohnmar Tun & The Law Chambers

Ph:0973150632

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4 News

THE MYANMAR TIMES FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014

Govt accused of blocking prisoner review process

3 - 9, 2014 Govt accused of blocking prisoner review process BILL O’TOOLE botoole12@gmail.com CIVIL society

BILL

O’TOOLE

botoole12@gmail.com

CIVIL society representatives on the president’s Political Prisoner Review Committee have expressed growing frustration with the government side of the group, accusing them of refus- ing to cooperate and criticising the President’s Office for failing to address the issue. “I am frustrated that we have not accomplished our mission,” said one committee member. “This is the direct responsibility of the government and president.” The committee was established in February 2013 to review the cases of specific inmates and recommend the release of prisoners who were jailed for political motives. One committee member, who asked not to be identified, recalled that he and his fellow activists were initially “very happy” to be invited into the committee. Their feeling at the time was that their work could serve as a model for how government and civil society partnerships could work to reform different sectors of Myan- mar society. However, after one year of working together, the committee member and several of his fellow activists told The Myanmar Times that the government members have done next to nothing to cooperate in their work and have often hindered their efforts. For example, the members say the government has yet to give them an up-to-date list of political prisoners. After many months of prodding, the government provided a list in late 2013 that was clearly many years out of date, as it included the names of two members of the 88 Generation Students who had already been re-

of the 88 Generation Students who had already been re- Former political prisoner Tin Htut Paing

Former political prisoner Tin Htut Paing celebrates after being released from Insein Prison in Yangon on December 31. Photo: AFP

leased and are current members of the committee. In general, the committee member said he and his peers are routinely de- nied access to legal documents such as arrest records and court reports, both of which are key to establishing which prisoners were unfairly incarcerated. In addition, the committee mem- ber said the government has impeded them even in their own investigations, denying them the opportunity to in- terview prisoners and restricting their travel by claiming safety and security concerns. “We cannot visit Kachin State. We cannot visit Rakhine State … More people might be detained in those ar- eas, [but] we cannot touch anything,” he said, adding, “Even though we re- ceive complaints, we cannot do any- thing. [We] cannot intervene in many cases.” When asked about the several am- nesties that President U Thein Sein

has ordered since taking office, the committee member dismissed them as empty gestures, saying that the lists of freed prisoners were made without consulting the committee. Like many observers, he pointed out that these amnesties only came at politically opportune moments, such as during the visit to Myanmar by US President Barack Obama or just before the opening ceremony of the South- east Asia Games. He also pointed out that already this year, 10 civilians in Yangon have been arrested for peaceful demonstra- tions. “The Burmese government’s focus is only on the numbers, but it’s not enough … There will be no end of po- litical prisoners without the abolition of unjust laws.” Representatives from the Presi- dent’s Office or the Ministry of Home Affairs could not be reached for comment.

World Bank pledges US$2b in development aid to Myanmar

SU HLAING HTUN NAN TIN HTWE newsroom@mmtimes.com

THE World Bank announced last week that it would provide US$2 billion to support long-term development pro- jects in Myanmar, including $200 mil- lion for the country’s ailing healthcare sector. The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, made the announce- ment at the 2 nd Myanmar Develop- ment Cooperation Forum held in Nay Pyi Taw on January 27. “This is a good news for the coun- try’s ambitious plans for universal health coverage by 2030,” Mr Kim said. He added that with support from the World Bank, coordination between the government and the private sec- tor can encourage the establishment of more transparent and responsible national-level institutions. Other sectors benefiting from the aid will include energy and agriculture. “Currently, 70 percent of popula- tion still can’t access electricity in Myanmar. Children in rural areas still read by candlelight at night,” he said. “Despite rapid growth in urban areas, there is still slow development in rural areas, with few job opportunities and extreme poverty.” Mr Kim stressed that the mas- sive funding announcement targets

the poorest people in rural areas of Myanmar. “We are increasing our support for the huge reform effort underway in Myanmar because we want to help the government bring benefits to poor people even more quickly,” he said. Mr Kim said the World Bank was committed to providing more than $700 million to Myanmar before June, but added that the country’s future depends on support from partner or- ganisations and decisive action on the part of state leaders. However, the World Bank president also warned that he would not hesitate to shut down projects in Myanmar if there was any evidence of corruption. “We have a very, very strict rule with corruption on every single pro- ject . We have done many things in the past to ensure that we battle corrup-

‘We have done many things in the past to ensure that we battle corruption effectively.’

Jim Yong Kim President of the World Bank

effectively.’ Jim Yong Kim President of the World Bank tion effectively,” he said, adding that evidence

tion effectively,” he said, adding that evidence of corruption had led him to shut down a project in Bangladesh. “I won’t hesitate to do that again,” said Mr Kim said. He said he felt “confident” of the World Bank’s ability to monitor and follow the situation in Myanmar, which ranks 157 th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s Cor- ruption Perceptions Index. “We have come to agreements with the government. We have come to agreements with the private compa- nies that we support. We have come to these agreements to get the results that we should get,” he said. President U Thein Sein said at the forum that the government aims to increase the country’s gross domes- tic product by 9.1 percent during the 2014-2015 financial year. “By enhancing financial services like free-interest loans or low-interest loans in major regions and states, and by properly managing foreign direct investment and foreign technical as- sistance, the government will reach its target,” he said. During the forum – which was held under the theme “Accelerating action for progress through enhancing inclu- sive coordination” – the president said Myanmar still requires aid and support from ASEAN, the European Union, Australia and other donor countries. – Translation by Zar Zar Soe

www.mmtimes.com

News 5

Hugo Swire calls on Tatmadaw to embrace reform

At a press conference in Yangon, the British minister reiterates his support for constitutional amendments

TIM MCLAUGHLIN

timothy.mclaughlin3@gmail.com

KAYLEIGH LONG kayleighelong@gmail.com

THE United Kingdom’s minister of state for the Foreign Office reiterated his country’s calls for an amendment to the Myanmar constitution barring Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from becom- ing president. Hugo Swire, speaking to the media in Yangon at the end of a three-day visit to Myanmar, touched briefly on a number of constitutional amendments his government feels need to be addressed. But while he called some amend- ments – including independence of the judiciary and removal of the mili- tary’s veto power – “complex” and requiring “careful consideration”, he said an amendment to 59(f) would be “very simple” and “very important”. “This unreasonable restriction was not included in Burma’s previ- ous constitutions in 1947 and 1974. I can only assume that the restriction was written into the 2008 constitu- tion in order to prevent one particu- lar individual from ever becoming president,” Mr Swire said. “This is surely no way to write a constitu- tion.”

Mr Swire was originally sched- uled to deliver his speech at Yangon University’s Diamond Jubilee Hall but, just hours before the event, was abruptly forced to change the venue to the British Council due to reasons “beyond our control”. Neither Mr Swire nor the British embassy gave any further explana- tion on the venue switch, though Mr Swire said he hoped that “one day people like me will be able to give speeches there, at the university, that provoke and give cause for debate”, seeming to insinuate that the forced relocation was politically motivated. U Zaw Myint, deputy director at the Department of Higher Educa- tion, which oversees the Diamond Jubilee Hall, declined to comment when contacted by The Myanmar Times. Mr Swire called on members of the Union Solidarity and Develop- ment Party (USDP) and the Tat- madaw to take an active approach and embrace constitutional amend- ments, a decision he said would send strong signals of democratic reform to Myanmar citizens and the inter- national community. He also said that it would give Senior General U Min Aung Hlaing “the opportunity to secure a unique

U Min Aung Hlaing “the opportunity to secure a unique Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing talks with

Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing talks with Hugo Swire during their meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on January 28. Photo: AFP

their meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on January 28. Photo: AFP British Foreign Office Minister for

British Foreign Office Minister for Asia Hugo Swire delivers a speech during a press conference at the British Council in Yangon on January 30. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

legacy: to be the commander-in- chief whose courage enabled his army to break free of the shackles of the past”. Mr Swire met with U Min Aung Hlaing as part of his visit to Myan- mar, his second since taking up his position in September 2012, and his first meeting with Myanmar’s com- mander-in-chief since the UK began to reengage with the Tatmadaw. Last month around 30 Tatmadaw officers attended a class titled “Man- aging Defence in a Wider Security Context” in Nay Pyi Taw, organised by lecturers from Cranfield Univer- sity and the UK Defence Academy. Mr Swire said he was pleased with the course, which he insisted “did not enhance the Tatmadaw’s military capacity or capabilities”, and was buoyed by the attendance of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the clos- ing ceremony along with senior Tat- madaw officers. Though the reengagement was started under General Sir David Richards, the former chief of the Defence Staff, the broadening of UK and Myanmar relations to in- clude the military has continued un- der his successor, General Sir Nick Houghton. “We would love to be at the point we had a regular flow of Burmese of- ficers to Sandhurst, to the Defence Academy at Shrivenham, [to] Cran- well, training in the UK. What a wonderful thing that would be – an exchange of British officers coming here, “ Mr Swire said. Bur Mr Swire, himself a gradu- ate of Sandhurst and a former army officer, said Myanmar was not yet ready for these types of exchanges.

He said they would only be possible when the military occupies its “prop- er place” in the constitution and is under civilian control. Mr Swire also renewed the UK’s calls for a prompt and independent investigation into recent reports of violence in northern Rakhine State’s Maungdaw township, first called for in a joint statement issued with the United States on January 17. While some sources say as many

“We need to see who is on that in- vestigation committee to make sure that they enjoy the support of the wider community. If it is loaded to one side or the other, the investiga- tion committee itself will lack cred- ibility, which defeats the purpose of having any sort of investigation.” Mr Swire also discussed the re- ports of violence in Rakhine State in meetings with government officials in Nay Pyi Taw on January 28.

‘I can only assume that the restriction was written into the 2008 constitution in order to prevent one particular individual from ever becoming president. This is surely no way to write a constitution.’

Hugo Swire British Foreign Office Minister for Asia

Hugo Swire British Foreign Office Minister for Asia as 48 people were killed, the govern- ment

as 48 people were killed, the govern- ment maintains there were no seri- ous civilian casualties. On January 28 the Myanmar gov- ernment said it would send the My- anmar Human Rights Commission and senior religious figures to inves- tigate reports of violence between police and Muslims in Maungdaw township, but refused to grant inter- national observers access to the area. Mr Swire welcomed the move, though he said the members of the investigation committee would de- termine the credibility of the inves- tigation’s findings.

made clear to the Bur-

mese government that I remain ex- tremely concerned by the situation in Rakhine State, and I urged a trans- parent investigation in to recent re- ports of people being killed, mainly Rohingya women and children. Ur- gent action must be taken to enforce the rule of law and ensure justice. The continuing violence is a tragedy which must be stopped and which otherwise risks jeopardising the wid- er reform process,” Mr Swire said. After the talks in Nay Pyi Taw Mr Swire visited Kachin State on January 29.

“I have

er reform process,” Mr Swire said. After the talks in Nay Pyi Taw Mr Swire visited

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6 News

THE MYANMAR TIMES FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014

Fraser and Neave, Limited, a company organized under the laws of Singapore and having its
Fraser and Neave, Limited, a company organized under the laws
of Singapore and having its principal office at 438 Alexandra Road,
#21-00 Alexandra Point, Singapore 119958 is the owner and sole
proprietor of the following Design:-
“Transparent hot-fill Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottle,
with white color crystallized neck, a middle circumference ring
separating the bottle body into top part (triangle shapes towards
neck finish on top) and bottom part ( vacuum panels with 100 Plus
logo and designs), and hot-fill resistance base”
Hundreds of bamboo huts line Mann Creek during the Shwesettaw Pagoda Festival. Photo: Staff

Year’s longest pagoda festival opens this week

TOE WAI AUNG linnhtet.lt@gmail.com

THE Shwesettaw Pagoda Festival in Minbu township, Magwe Region, will open on February 4, kicking off the longest annual Buddhist festival in Myanmar. U Win Htay, a member of the Shwesettaw Pagoda board of trustees, told The Myanmar Times that the fes- tival will be held in “grand style like in previous years”. The festival occurs beside Mann Creek, about 640 kilometres (400 miles) north of Yangon on the west bank of the Ayeyarwady River. The site features several pagodas, including Ahtat Settaw Yar, which is re- puted to contain a footprint of the Bud- dha. Another footprint, called Eyunt Settaw Yar, is housed in a pagoda at the bottom of the hill beside Mann Creek. The festival lasts for nearly three months, ending at the conclusion of the Thingyan Water Festival in mid- April.

“We are now building accommo- dation for pilgrims, which will be finished before the start of the festi- val,” U Win Htay said, referring to the hundreds of temporary bamboo huts constructed annually on the mostly dried-up creek bed. “During the last rainy season we

‘We are now building accommodation for pilgrims, which will be finished before the start of the festival.’

U Win Htay Shwesettaw Pagoda board of trustees

festival.’ U Win Htay Shwesettaw Pagoda board of trustees installed CCTV in Ahtat Settaw Yar and

installed CCTV in Ahtat Settaw Yar and Auak Settaw Yar pagodas for security, and one donor funded the construction of a balcony at Ahtat Settaw Yar Pagoda for this year,” U Win Htay said, adding that roads leading to the site have also been repaired. Ma Kaung Kaung from Yangon- based Tango travel agency said the company will offer pilgrimage tours from Yangon to the festival starting on February 14. “Transport will be provided using high-standard buses. We have three- day programs for office staff, depart- ing on Friday night and returning Sunday night,” she said. “Accommodation is in bamboo huts near Mann Creek, which are suitable for the season. The trip also includes stops at several pagodas on the way back from the festival.” The tour costs K50,000 for locals and $95 for foreigners. – Translation by Thae Thae Htwe

back from the festival.” The tour costs K50,000 for locals and $95 for foreigners. – Translation

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News 7

CONTINUED FROM NEWS 1

The same was found with sections 435

and 436, two other controversial claus- es often singled out by those advocat- ing constitutional reform. Section 435 requires 20 percent of MPs to back reform proposals before they can be discussed in parliament; section 436 requires 75pc of the hluttaw to agree before any changes to the constitution can be considered, and for more than half of eligible voters to approve the change in a nationwide referendum. With the military occupying 25pc of seats – another clause that the report does not suggest should be changed – most feel the 75pc bench- mark for change is an impossible hur- dle to overcome. Controversially, the report says that “there are 106,102 people who do not want to change section 59(f) and sec- tion 436 and only 592 people who want to change 59(f) as well as 524 people who want to change sections 435 and 436”. “It’s unacceptable,” U Khaing Maung Yi from National Democratic Force Party said. He criticised the 106,102 figure specifically, saying it had been created by one party and did not represent an accurate poll of pub- lic opinion.

“I was shocked when I saw this

large amount,” U Khaing Maung Yi said. “I think that they prepared the list intentionally. It’s not easy to get such large amounts [of responses] within a short period. The figure was invented.” USDP MP Thura U Aung Ko, the chair of the Judicial and Legal Affairs Committee, said the dramatic opposi-

‘Some groups who want to protect their own self-interests don’t want to touch 59(f ) and 436.’

Thura U Aung Ko USDP MP

want to touch 59(f ) and 436.’ Thura U Aung Ko USDP MP tion was in

tion was in large part due to a signa- ture list submitted after the deadline. “One CEC member from the USDP

sent the list that was in today’s report to the committee, which said 106,102 people don’t want to change 59(f) and 436. Most of the people are from Yan- gon Region. It includes signatures and names but does not mention party af- filiation,” he said. “Some groups who want to protect their own self-interests don’t want to touch 59(f) and 436 while trying to change the constitution,” he said, but added, “It’s impossible to change the constitution without touching sec- tions 59(f) and 436.” He said some have been persuad- ing others not to pursue changes to the controversial clauses, and have ob- jected to attempts to do so.

U Aung Thein Linn, a South Ok-

kalapa MP and a USDP CEC member, said the 2008 Constitution was ap- proved in the 2007 referendum by the majority of public opinion, with 92.48

percent of all eligible voters reported to have approved it – a figure criti- cised by observers at the time. He said the 106,102 who rejected the critical changes might be part of that 92.48pc.

“I also swear an oath of loyalty to

the 2008 Constitution. Therefore, I have a duty to protect and maintain the constitution,” said U Aung Thein Linn. After the committee put its results to the hluttaw, Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann decided to form a new commit- tee to implement the report, to be dis-

cussed in parliament on February 3, with MPs approving his decision. Some, however, continued to ex- press their dissatisfaction. “We can’t stand any more” of the constitution discussion, U Khaing Maung Yi, “if they continue working in a tricky way.”

US winds down resettlement program on Thailand border

Civil society groups representing refugees from Myanmar have protested against the end of the program and say that political reforms in the country are not yet guaranteed

BILL O’TOOLE

botoole12@gmail.com

THE US State Department began the process of winding down its reset- tlement program for refugees on the Thai-Myanmar border last week, leav- ing an estimated 120,000 refugees, mostly Karenni, with an uncertain future. The State Department originally announced its intention to end the program in January 2013. Since the program began in 2005, the depart- ment, working with the United Na- tions High Commissioner for Refu- gees (UNHCR), has sent more 73,000 displaced civilians to the United States for resettlement. The closing of the program has sparked outrage among Karenni civil

society groups, which say the US and UN are leaving thousands of refugees out in the cold. “The US government should wait until the peace process is stable and reform is guaranteed,” said Saw Alex Hto, the deputy director of the Ka- ren Environmental and Social Action Network.

The Karen News Group reported last week that a crowd gathered to protest the new policy outside the UNHCR office in Nu Poe Camp in Thailand’s Tak Province, criticising the UN for ignoring their needs. But Anne C Richard, the assistant secretary at the US State Depart- ment’s Bureau of Population, Refu- gees and Migration, said the “success- ful resettlement program has reached its natural conclusion following the January 24, 2014, deadline for Bur- mese refugees to express their interest in resettlement to UNHCR”. “After nine years, the program was coming to a natural end. Many who could and wanted to go have already done so,” said Vivian Tan, the UN- HCR’s senior regional public informa- tion officer for Thailand. “Information campaigns were done in each camp to make sure peo- ple knew the deadline was coming up.” Michael Bruce, a spokesperson for the Thai-Burma Border Consortium, which provides humanitarian aid to many of the camps along the border, was quick to praise the work of the United States and the UNHCR.

Speaking over the phone last week to The Myanmar Times, he ex- plained that when it comes to reset- tling displaced people, “The number one most important component is refugee registration. This is the only part of the resettlement program that is a bit unfair.” The Thai government, which is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refu- gee Convention, has not permitted the UNHCR to visit and register refugees in the border area camps since 2006,

‘After nine years, the program was coming to a natural end. Many who could and wanted to go have already done so.’

Vivian Tan UN High Commissioner for Refugees

done so.’ Vivian Tan UN High Commissioner for Refugees meaning that the thousands of refu- gees

meaning that the thousands of refu- gees who arrived in the country since

that time are ineligible to be resettled. The Thai Ministry of Border Affairs could not be reached for comment. Ms Tan said in an email that the UNHCR is “not authorised to register Myanmar refugees along the border”. “But [we] have been advocating with the government that it should re- open registration through its Provin- cial Admissions Board, which stopped meeting around 2006-7.” Ms Tan added that even with the US program closing, resettlement was still possible in countries like Japan, New Zealand and Canada. “[We want] to reassure those who remain that resettlement continues to be an option for the most vulnerable

if they need it – even if the simplified

procedures that applied with the for- mer program no longer apply.” Ms Tan and Mr Bruce agreed that repatriation to Myanmar is not an op- tion at this time and that the camps would remain home for many refugee

for the foreseeable future. “This is still

a vulnerable population that needs protection,” Mr Bruce said.

many refugee for the foreseeable future. “This is still a vulnerable population that needs protection,” Mr

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hollow until we as a society are willing to ensure equal rights for women and give them access to senior positions and leadership roles. Patronage and discrimination against women are not unique to My- anmar, and exist to varying degrees even in developed countries. But their prevalence here is troubling. My sin- cere wish is for the people of my coun- try to abandon these antiquated ideas, which were designed to reinforce the status quo, and instead follow a meri- tocratic system: asystem where awards or appointments are based on capacity and suitability, not on who you know or what your gender is. This will help engender the attitude that if we work hard and build our capabilities there is no limit on what we can achieve in life. For a merit-based system to take root, businesses and government must acknowledge the serious negative im- pact patronage and sexism have on our workplace and introduce merit-based selection and appointment methods. Secondly, the public and employees need to speak out against these anti- quated practices and, where necessary, expose blatant examples. Let’s work to- gether to cast off these primitive ideas as Myanmar moves forward.

Lian Kual Sang is a freelance business consultant and entrepreneur from Yangon. He currently is a full-time doctoral student in Australia.

Patronage, sexism and the way forward

Lian KuaL Sang naolian@gmail.com

MYANMAR’S transformation from decades of military rule and economic isolation to a market economy with a democratic system of government has rightly been applauded around the world. But as Myanmar passes through

a period of rapid change, it is also im- portant to examine ourselves – how we see and do things. Some of our tradi- tional views and practises are hinder-

ing our progress towards a freer, fairer and more equitable society. One of these is the patronage sys- tem, which is rather common in our so- ciety. We occasionally award lucrative projects purely based on the bidder’s connections with someone in power. In

a more polite way, you may say the bid-

der used their network to get the deal. But this process also applies to appoint- ments within a company or organisa- tion; it amazes me that someone can

still be given an important and chal- lenging position despite having little or no previous experience or interest in the field. The patronage system may have some usefulness to both govern- ment and private organisations but dis- advantages society more broadly. Sadly, while most of us can recognise this, we are not willing to change. Patronage negatively affects us in

a number of ways. The first is that it

totally ignores the elements of justice,

fairness and transparency by excluding those without connections. Secondly, it

discourages others to work harder be- cause they know promotion to a senior position is not necessarily related to performance and suitability. Thirdly, it is only a small leap from patronage to cronyism, favouritism and nepotism. Another harmful cultural trait is sexism, or discrimination against wom- en simply because they are women.

While we have been talking a great deal about the need for fairness and equal- ity, gender equality seems to have been largely overlooked. Traditionally, we have tended to believe that women do not have the same capacity as men to take on leadership roles. Obviously this places women at a disadvantage. A few groups and activists have been advocat- ing for women’s right but sexism is a common feature in most workplaces.

It is a rare to see women in senior po- sitions in any business unless it is pri- vately owned and the woman is related to the owner. In the government, there are also few women holding senior po- sitions. Our society expects a wife to always obey her husband and I believe that we carry this attitude into our workplace. I have even heard people say explicitly that all women are incapable of taking on leadership roles. This happens de- spite some private or public sector en- terprises or bodies having more women in their workforce. A good example

would be our universities. While the majority of its academic staff are wom- en there have been few female profes- sors or rectors at Yangon University.

On a positive note, the govern- ment has recently taken allowed young women to join the military. This is po- tentially a very big step forward but we still have to see how far women can rise up the ranks. In September 2012 it also appointed the first female union minis- ter: Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Daw Myat Myat Ohn Khin.

The real damage occurs when women begin to doubt their own worth and ability.

when women begin to doubt their own worth and ability. The real damage occurs when wom-

The real damage occurs when wom- en begin to doubt their own worth and ability because of these attitudes. Some begin to believe they are not on par with men and accept that they cannot make the same contribution in their workplaces or society. They silently ac- cept the promotion of their male col- leagues to positions for which, because of their gender, they were not even considered. In the process, we miss out on utilising the skills of some of our best people. Our preaching about the need for fairness and equality will ring

Read all about it:

It’s not all doom and gloom

Reports that Myanmar’s media industry is struggling with new freedoms don’t match the reality on the ground

with new freedoms don’t match the reality on the ground Tim mcLaughLin timothy.mclaughlin3@gmail.com THE red pen

Tim

mcLaughLin

timothy.mclaughlin3@gmail.com

THE red pen of the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division is gone. Private sector daily publishing has returned after a near-50-year absence. Corner newspaper stands are stacked with publications and have no problem shifting copies to eager readers. But with all the ups of Myanmar’s growing media sector, many people seem more enthralled with the downs. Instead of celebrating these signifi- cant steps forward, journalists both at home and abroad have quickly de- veloped an enthusiasm for penning obituaries for one of the country’s most vibrant and promising sectors.

With almost a gleeful air they conduct

a regular death watch on Myanmar’s

fledgling media outlets, particularly in the daily print sector. Numerous arti- cles have detailed the failures of some publications, while all but promising the demise of others. Still others concoct dubious, often completely imagined, connections be- tween publications, business tycoons and military officials to discredit local publications and TV stations, portray-

ing them as little more than propagan- da rags not worth paying attention to. Perhaps the most offensive criti- cism is the insinuation that Myan- mar journalists are not up to the task of asking difficult questions, or that the press corps is a bunch

of self-censoring hacks incapable of

Journalists lead a protest against the jailing of Ma Khine, a reporter with Eleven Media
Journalists lead a protest against
the jailing of Ma Khine, a reporter
with Eleven Media Group, in Yangon
on January 7. Photo: Boothee

using their newfound freedom. The truth is quite to the contrary. Myanmar’s media workers, who I count as both colleagues and friends, are some of the most engaging and astute observers of a nation in transition. Journalists are well aware of both the opportunity and increased level of scrutiny that comes with reporting on the country at this time of historical change. It is a position that they are not taking lightly. One journalist recently told me that he had “filled his stomach with books” on reporting to build up his journalistic acumen. Those who doubt the feisty nature of the press corp should try getting

a question in at a heated press con-

ference or hear the exchanges with government spokesperson U Ye Htut, who is not-so-lovingly referred to by some as “the minister for Facebook” because of his fondness for the social networking site. The recent imprisonment of Elev- en Media Group journalist Ma Khine has been used to present an image of a whole industry on the backslide. Make no mistake, her jailing is most certainly a step in the wrong direction for the development of press freedom -

but the reaction to her arrest provided

a telling illustration of the industry’s newly rediscovered voice. Instead of having to rely on the international

community and press freedom groups to condemn the arrest, Myanmar jour- nalists were now able to freely protest the imprisonment. Thousands gathered in Yangon to voice their objection. Journalists in Rakhine condemned the arrest and media outlets across Myanmar carried statements of support for Ma Khine. Other victories for the press have also been misrepresented or ignored. Once-exiled media groups that were forced to report from abroad have returned and generally been successful in transforming into main-

stream outlets.

More on newS 9

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News 9

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CONTINUED FROM NEWS 9

A sage message of tolerance from a visionary Lao soldier

A sage message of tolerance from a visionary Lao soldier such a high profile in the

such a high profile in the US. But like Myanmar today, Laos half a century ago assumed impor- tance to Washington as a bulwark between Communist China and the free world of Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia.

Years later, Christian Chapman, the US diplomat handling Laos at

the time, described it as “one of the more shameful acts of the American government”. Shameful, and rather stupid, because, like most Lao governments of the day, it did not last long.

Multi-platform outlet Mizzima has landed major financial investment, enabling it to greatly bolster its staff. Democratic Voice of Burma has launched a debate series that has taken on some of the country’s tough- est issues, while journalists at the Ir- rawaddy continue to produce some of the most informative pieces about Myanmar. Ethnic media outlets have become more widely read, distancing them- selves from armed groups to provide more unbiased coverage. Local journals have also seen nu- merous positive developments. Closer to home, a dubious liquidation lawsuit brought against The Myanmar Times was recently tossed out. Despite reports to the contrary, the Sun Rays journal, a popular weekly that in its short life has made a name lampooning political elites and busi- ness tycoons, continues to publish, much to the delight of readers and dis- dain of the government. Efforts to warn or caution publica- tions have failed to stick. And jour- nalists at all publications are benefit- ing from increased access to sources, whether government officials, the man (or woman) on the street or interna- tional organisations. Were some newspaper owners short-sighted in their rush to join the daily market? Certainly, but being overeager to publish should hardly be considered a negative. Does the Myan- mar government need to take steps to protect and advance press freedoms? Absolutely, but this is an ongoing pro- cess not a single battle. But instead of the doom and gloom, something else would also be helpful at this time of rapid change: a little recognition for the hundreds, if not thousands, of Myanmar journal- ists and editors who have taken the industry so far in the past three years.

 

The neutralist Captain Kong Le also supported that view, and hence, albeit briefly, became an American pin-up boy. How did he do it? Well, after leaving his village, Kong Le joined the army, knuckled down and im- pressed his superiors. So much so that after serving in northern Laos against the Viet Minh Communists, he was sent for officer training to the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City. Promoted to the rank of captain upon his return, he became deputy commander of the powerful Second Parachute Battalion. At that time, rather like Cambo- dia and Thailand today, Laos was racked by conflicts between rival political factions that would not compromise and were backed by rich and powerful interests. Saddened at how his compatriots were killing each other, Kong Le, then only 26, took decisive action. On August 9, 1960, when Prime Minister Phoui Sananikone had taken his ministers to Luang Pra- bang for a cabinet meeting, Kong Le led his men in a takeover of power in Vientiane. “I am for Laos and the Lao

Kong Le on the cover of Time magazine in June 1964.

Kong Le on the cover of Time magazine in June 1964.

A

year later, another ostensibly

ROGER

neutralist government under Sou- vanna Phouma took over, and Kong Le, now a general, was reappointed head of the armed forces. Soon afterward, on June 26, 1964, he appeared on the cover of Time - no mean feat, given that, unlike today, it was a reliable and substantive magazine that had huge sales around the world. But as often happened, the neu- tralist coalition Kong Le favoured to keep Laos unaligned proved unsustainable, and after it collapsed, he endured several assassination attempts. Knowing there was a bullet with

his name on it, he wisely fled – first to the US and then Paris, where he died last month at the age of 80. He failed in his bid to seek a middle way, a tolerant neutralist position. As a result, Laos today is governed by the region’s most re- pressive and undemocratic regime.

MITTON

roger.mitton@gmail.com

IT seems like it’s yesterday once more, as news reports remind us that it was 50 years ago this month that the Beatles first visited the United States. The Fab Four played on the fa- mous Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, and made the cover of all the major newspapers and magazines. That same year, another figure, who happened to be from this region, also featured on the cover of Time magazine. He did not make as big a splash as Ringo Starr and his chums, but Captain Kong Le, a soldier from Muong Phalan village, just east of Savannakhet in southern Laos, certainly had his fifteen minutes of fame. It seems astonishing now that a poor ethnic minority kid, who had lost his father when he was 10 and who had no family name, could grace the cover of Time and rate

people, for honesty and purity, and against corruption,” the headstrong captain declared. He installed the neutralist Prince Souvanna Phouma as prime minis- ter and assumed command of the armed forces himself. The Thais and Americans, who viewed Souvanna as a closet com- munist, were aghast and promptly arranged to transfer gold and sup- plies to the PM’s opponents, led by Colonel Phoumi Nosavan. After being initially repulsed by Kong Le’s forces, the US-backed Colonel Phoumi eventually pre- vailed. Souvanna was deposed and a rightwing regime installed.

It

is an outcome that the intoler-

ant protesters on both sides in Bang- kok and Phnom Penh might want to bear in mind. Of course, Kong Le’s passing was not mentioned in the state-controlled Lao media.

Phnom Penh might want to bear in mind. Of course, Kong Le’s passing was not mentioned
Phnom Penh might want to bear in mind. Of course, Kong Le’s passing was not mentioned

TRADE MARK CAUTION

NOTICE is hereby given that Miss Narthaya Kirtibhakti of 888 Moo

4, Anusawari Sub-district, Bangkhen District, Bangkok, Thailand is

the owner and sole proprietor of the following trademark:-

the owner and sole proprietor of the following trademark:- (Reg: No. IV/9239/2013) in respect of :-

(Reg: No. IV/9239/2013)

in respect of :- “Ground fault circuit interrupters, voltage surge

protectors circuit breakers, switchboards, constant-voltage regulator for electrical measure, distribution boxes [electricity], flashing lights [luminous signals], switch, plug, ballast, starter, power plug.” Class: 9

Any fraudulent imitation or unauthorized use of the said trademark

or

other infringements whatsoever will be dealt with according to law.

U

Kyi Win Associates

for Miss Narthaya Kirtibhakti P.O. Box No. 26, Yangon. Phone: 372416

Dated: 3 rd February, 2014

26, Yangon. Phone: 372416 Dated: 3 r d February, 2014 1 0 News THE MYANMAR TIMES
26, Yangon. Phone: 372416 Dated: 3 r d February, 2014 1 0 News THE MYANMAR TIMES
26, Yangon. Phone: 372416 Dated: 3 r d February, 2014 1 0 News THE MYANMAR TIMES

10 News

THE MYANMAR TIMES FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014

2014 1 0 News THE MYANMAR TIMES FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014 An Oriental Ballooning Company

An Oriental Ballooning Company pilot prepares a hot-air balloon for flight. Photo: Sithu Lwin

Balloon flights expand to Inle Lake

SI THU LWIN sithulwin.mmtimes@gmail.com

THE Oriental Ballooning Company is preparing to inflate its service by offering hot-air balloon flights over Inle Lake and the surrounding area in southern Shan State, a company spokesperson told The Myanmar Times.

“Our hot-air balloon service is ready for those who want to see an aerial view of Inle Lake and the sur- rounding area,” said the company’s manager, U Zarni. Last November, Oriental Bal- looning started offering balloon flights in Mandalay and Bagan for US$320 a person for both locals and foreigners.

“Most passengers are foreign tourists,” U Zarni said. “They prefer riding over Mandalay because it has more to see than Bagan.” Flights are available in four- seat and eight-seat balloons, which are manufactured in England and flown by experienced English pilots.

Translation by Zar Zar Soe

Mandalay gold shops ‘beckoning danger’ with weak security

gold shops ‘beckoning danger’ with weak security KYAE MONE WIN kyaymonewin@gmail.com DESPITE growing concerns

KYAE

MONE

WIN

kyaymonewin@gmail.com

DESPITE growing concerns about burglars targeting gold-selling shops in Mandalay, most such businesses

still have poor security and are having trouble finding well-trained guards to hire, shopkeepers said.

U Aung from Aung Thamardi gold

shop said that in Mandalay there is “no security firm that can offer great service”. “Most security firms don’t have enough guards to send to gold shops, which is why I find and hire my own security staff for my shop,” he said, adding that he pays the guards a high- er salary than he pays salespeople. “Most gold shop owners think they don’t need to hire security staff, but I think we should post guards based on the number of customers coming and going from the shop,” U Aung said. “Having guards is good not only for the shop but also for customers.” He said he has hired 42 guards for his three gold shops and his own workplace, and he has also installed CCTV cameras and alarm systems to

boost security.

“I installed CCTV cameras before

I hired security staff. By monitoring my shop both electronically and with guards, I can have protection from dangers outside the shop and from thieves inside the shop,” he said. “It can also help me manage prob- lems that might arise in selling or

buying gold in my shop.” U Than Oo, the general manager of Mandalay-based SSS security firm, said most of his company’s staff are hired to guard factories and private homes. “Our company started in 2003, but it’s only been in the past two or three years that we’ve been asked to provide security for small businesses. Among our 60 customers, there is only one gold shop,” he said. “Now we are having trouble find- ing enough staff for our customers

because there aren’t many people

‘If the shop has a wide gate in front or too many entryways and exits, this will be attractive for criminals.’

U Aung Aung Thamardi gold shop

attractive for criminals.’ U Aung Aung Thamardi gold shop interested in working as security guards,” he

interested in working as security guards,” he said, adding that there are

only five security firms in Mandalay compared with about 30 in Yangon. In the aftermath of a well-publi- cised robbery at Maung Kain gold shop this past Christmas Eve, during which the gun-wielding thief was apprehend- ed by staff and bystanders, Weint Sain gold shop is now using metal detectors

and guards for security. Weint Sain owner Daw Phyu Phyu Swe, who runs three gold shops in

the vicinity of 84 th Street, said she has hired seven security guards. “Some are from security firms and some are retired government person- nel,” she said. “Hiring through the se- curity firm is an indirect way of find- ing staff for our shop, so later I started hiring security staff on my own and offering them a good salary.” She added that security guards were essential for gold shops. “We’re selling precious merchandise, so we need guards for the safety of ourselves and our customers.”

U Aung suggested that gold shop

owners open and close at exactly the

same time every day, and also pay at- tention to the layout and location of their shop.

“If the shop has a wide gate in front

or too many entryways and exits, this will be attractive for criminals. If it’s located too close to a busy road, a thief can also get away easily,” he said. “It’s also a mistake to stay open late waiting for customers to come. A gold shop should always open and close at the right time.” One Mandalay resident surmised that thefts in general were increas- ing because people “face difficulty for their living”.

“If shops that sell high-value mer- chandise also have weak security, it looks like they are beckoning danger to themselves,” he said. “Whichever government is in pow- er or whichever political system they use, the people need to take care of the security of their own businesses.” – Translation By Thiri Min Htun

12

News

THE MYANMAR TIMES FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014

President to test new tribunal

SANDAR LWIN sdlsandar@gmail.com

THE government appears to be head- ing for another showdown with the parliament, after President U Thein Sein announced last week he plans to ask the Constitutional Tribunal to examine whether eight new laws con- form to the constitution. The decision could reignite a dis- pute with parliament that erupted in 2012 over the definition of “union-level organisations” and prompted MPs to impeach the entire tribunal. The sub- missions will be the first since a new tribunal was installed in February 2013, with the lower house speaker, upper house speaker and president selecting three members each to sit on the body. The president’s information team announced on January 27 that the eight laws under scrutiny include two pieces of legislation – the anti-corrup- tion law and farmers’ rights protection law – approved by MPs in 2013 and six recently amended laws.

The six amended laws – the Pyithu Hluttaw Law, Amyotha Hluttaw Law, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law, Region and State Hluttaw Law, Union Auditor General’s Office Law and Constitution- al Tribunal Law – were enacted by the military government shortly before the transition to quasi-civilian rule. The president sent all eight pieces of approved legislation back to MPs with suggested amendments that would, he argued, ensure they con- form to the constitution. However, parliamentarians rejected all of the changes. In some cases the president refused to sign the legislation but un- der the constitution approved bills become law after seven days, with or without the president’s signature. Despite the president’s misgivings on the bills, in some cases he enacted them out of respect for the sentiment of the majority of MPs. In 2012 parliament and the gov- ernment locked horns over the Con- stitutional Tribunal’s ruling that parliamentary committees are not

union-level organisations. MPs argued that this made them inferior in status to government ministries and would impede their efforts to hold the govern- ment to account. In September MPs impeached the tribunal’s members for failing to adhere to the constitution and inefficient discharge of duties – but not before its members resigned en masse. U Pe Myint, a political commentator and consultant editor at political affairs journal Pyithu Khit (The People’s Age), said the president’s decision to submit the eight laws would test the independ- ence of the new tribunal. “This is the tribunal’s job,” he said. “But the last tri- bunal was forced out because of argu- ments between the executive and par- liament. We will have to wait and see if this tribunal can stand independently or whether it will support one side.” Under the constitution only the president, lower and upper house speakers, chief justice and Union Elec- tion Commission chairman can make submissions to the tribunal.

Commission chairman can make submissions to the tribunal. Shan shocked as Yawd Serk quits SSA-S NAN

Shan shocked as Yawd Serk quits SSA-S

to the tribunal. Shan shocked as Yawd Serk quits SSA-S NAN TIN HTWE nantin.htwe@gmail.com THE sudden

NAN TIN

HTWE

nantin.htwe@gmail.com

THE sudden resignation of Lieu- tenant General Yawd Serk, leader of the Shan State Army-South ethnic armed group, has sent shockwaves throughout the Shan community, both here and overseas. After steady progress toward

a nationwide ceasefire, and with

no obvious successor in sight, sup- porters have voiced questions and

regret about the general’s decision. “I’m sad about this news. I love him and respect him,” said 25-year- old Ko Sai Naw, responding to re- ports of the resignation first car- ried by the Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN). The news agency reported on January 15 that Lt Gen Yawd Serk would resign as leader of the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) and as chair of its political wing, the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS/SSA). Lt Gen Yawd Serk, 55, has led the armed group for 18 years since the SSA-S was founded in 1994. SHAN quoted him as saying, “I want to hand over to a new leader. But it doesn’t mean that I would stop working. I would support the new leader until he could work well.” Ko Sai Naw, who lives in Yangon and works as a designer, described

Lt Gen Yawd Serk as an “unselfish

and dedicated leader”. He first met the general last June in Nay Pyi Taw. The visit marked the first time a Shan ethnic armed group leader met with Myanmar government officials, including the president. The meet- ing followed a similar visit by the Kayin military leader, Mutu Saypo.

Under Lt Gen Yawd Serk’s lead- ership, the RCSS/SSA entered into a political dialogue with the govern- ment and received promises for the economic and social development of the Shan, said Ko Sai Naw. For U Sai Htwe, chair of the Cali- fornia Shan Social and Cultural So-

ciety, who lives in the United States, the resignation announcement came as a shock. Citing the “char- ismatic” general’s contribution to the ceasefire, he said, “Lt Gen Yawd Serk is greatly respected by his comrades.”

The RCSS/SSA signed the cease- fire agreement in 2011.

U Sai Htwe questioned the rea-

son given by the general for his

resignation at a critical juncture in the peace process when all ethnic armed forces were discussing a na- tionwide ceasefire agreement.

“I don’t accept that 18 years as

chairman of the RCSS/SSA is too long,” he said, suggesting that the general had doubts about the sincer- ity of the Myanmar Peace Center but would not withstand public pressure to pursue the peace process. According to the RCSS/SSA, the group has reached 31 agreements on a range of military, economic, social and cultural matters since signing the ceasefire. However, the group’s spokesperson, Col Sai Hla, told 7 Days News Journal last November that only two of those agreements had been implemented. The Myanmar Peace Center’s U Hla Maung Swe said the general was an important person in the peace process. “I want him to con-

tinue his role as a chairman, but I

respect his decision,” he said. On January 25, SHAN reported that Union Minister U Aung Min had written to Lt Gen Yawd Serk asking him to keep working for a lasting peace. U Aung Min has described Lt Gen Yawd Serk as his “benefactor”.

Serk asking him to keep working for a lasting peace. U Aung Min has described Lt

14

News

THE MYANMAR TIMES FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014

For Chinese community, a home aw

Chinese clan associations in Yangon maintain ties to regions, towns and even family lines, and assist members in need – whether it’s financial

NG XINYAO newsroom@mmtimes.com

YANGON’S Chinatown seems as di- verse as China itself – perhaps even more so, since its residents both in- tegrate into Myanmar culture and also retain ties and traditions of the particular regions from which their families emigrated. One way the history of the home- land is carried into the houses of the present is through the traditional altars. A centrepiece of the home, these large carved wooden displays are usually located in easy view from the often-elaborate doorways. To those with a trained eye, they serve as a link to the past, relating the background of the family. A family’s associations can be clas- sified in several ways, ranging from general to specific. Most broadly, the altar signifies one’s ethnicity as Chi- nese – relative to, say, Malay or In-

25

Estimated number of Yunnan clan associations in Myanmar

25 Estimated number of Yunnan clan associations in Myanmar dian. Identity then breaks down by provincial

dian. Identity then breaks down by provincial clans – Yunnan, Guang- zhou, Hokkien and so on – and is sometimes further subdivided into country or town clans – Hokkien Province, for example, might in- clude Hokkien Yong Ding or Hokkien Hui An clans. Finally, distinction is made by bloodline, in some ways the most intimate and important of categories. Bloodlines are traced by first, family name – Ong, Lin, Huang and so on – and you must be born or adopted into a lineage. Since Chi- nese society is patriarchal, children take on their father’s surname and follow his ancestral lineage, rather

than that of their mother. Clan associations also help those hailing from similar regions, pro- viding social and cultural support whether one is newly arrived or long established. In the late 18 th and early 19 th

centuries, the fall of the last Chinese dynasty, the Qing, left many in the midst of uncertainty and hardship. Searching for a better life, Chinese from Yunnan, Guangzhou and Hok- kien provinces crossed into northern Myanmar. These associations were the migrants’ harbour away from home – a source of food, shelter, jobs and comfort. More than 3 million expat Chi- nese now hold Myanmar identifica- tion, of which two-thirds are from Yunnan, said U Hla Aung, vice presi- dent of the Myanmar Yangon Yun- nannese Association (MYYA), which was founded in 1911. “In the early days, most Yunna- nese stayed in the northern areas of Myanmar, but they gradually shifted south to take advantage of the geo- graphical location of the Yangon jetty to export goods to India,” said

U Hla Aung. There are about 25 Yunnan clan

associations in Myanmar, the largest

of which is based at Hlaing Mingalar

Hall in Yangon’s Mayangone town- ship. Like everyone else, Chinese set- tlers over the years have often been caught up in political events, both here and in China. “The earliest Yangon branch was

located at 30 Latha Road, but it split up from 1968 to 1994 into two camps,”

U Hla Aung said. “The leftists, who

moved to a separate meeting place on Bogyoke Aung San Road, were sup- portive of the Taiwanese Communist Party; the others, who sided with the mainland Chinese party, remained at the original address. “In 1994, the idea of combin-

ing forces was mooted and took place two years later. This reflected that the Yunnanese here were very connected and aligned to the bilat- eral relations between China and Taiwan.”

to the bilat- eral relations between China and Taiwan.” A clan association shrine in downtown Yangon.

A clan association shrine in downtown Yangon. Photo: Zarni Phyo

association shrine in downtown Yangon. Photo: Zarni Phyo Leaders of the Myanmar Yangon Yunnanese Association stand

Leaders of the Myanmar Yangon Yunnanese Association stand in front of Hlaing Mingalar Hall, the group’s Mayangone township headquarters. Photo: Zarni Phyo

Another association vice presi- dent, Sai Aung Kyaw, who is also a member of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Yangon Golf As- sociation, said geography tradition- ally dictated the types of work new immigrants took up. “In terms of trade choices, the early Yunnanese coming from west China usually entered the more risky trades in mining and related fields like [gem] polishing and export, as well as timber logging, partly due to the geographic location in the north,” Sai Aung Kyaw said. “Those from the central prov- inces of Hokkien and Canton tended to go into restaurants, textile and other manufacturing. As progress comes, and they made more money, some have switched into trade, fac- tory production and value-added services.” Today, most members of the clan associations are at least two steps re- moved from life in China, with third- generation descendants now holding the clan association reins. Despite the closing of Chinese schools in the mid-1960s, many fami- lies still encourage their children to speak the Yunnan dialect and carry on traditional celebrations and other customs at home. Many Yunnan parents send their children to external tuition or lan- guage schools to learn Mandarin. Sai Aung Kyaw said some Myanmar Chi- nese have managed, somewhat ironi- cally, to maintain old traditions per- haps even more strictly than those in rapidly modernising China. “I’ve sent both my children, now aged 10 and 12, to language schools to learn Chinese since they were in pre-nursery,” Sai Aung Kyaw said. “I also used to attend an external school when I was young. Back then, I had exceptionally long days. Every day I would be at tuition classes from 6am to 8am and 4pm to 6pm to hone my Chinese language skills, then spend the rest of the time learn- ing in a Burmese school.” The Myanmar Thye Guan Ong As- sociation (MTGOA) comprises those of Hokkien descent. Based at Sin Oh

Dan Street in Yangon’s Chinatown enclave, this organisation represents those whose ancestors hailed from Thye Guan township in China’s Hok- kien Province and carried the sur- name Ong. “Our ancestors have been here since the 1880s,” said MTGOA hon- orary director U Aung Sein Lin. “In those days, Myanmar was the world’s largest rice bank, on top of other trades. It was a land of oppor- tunities. This organisation helped fellow men look for jobs, supported others in times of difficulties, housed the sick and dying, and even took care of funerals for the poor. Then we were formally founded in 1910.”

‘This organisation helped fellow men look for jobs, supported others in times of difficulties, housed the sick and dying, and even took care of funerals for the poor.’

U Aung Sein Lin Myanmar Thye Guan Ong Association

poor.’ U Aung Sein Lin Myanmar Thye Guan Ong Association He said the Japanese occupation halted

He said the Japanese occupation halted the organisation’s operations for three years until 1945, but after the war things more or less returned to normal. “We used to have another head- quarters on 20 th Street, but a family that moved in after their own house was destroyed by fire claimed owner- ship and refused to move out. So we bought another unit at Sin Oh Dan Street,” he said. U Aung Sein Lin said that the Ong family name is the second most

common among Myanmar’s Chinese community. “For the 12 years leading up to 1956, we had 700 people in the register, and now it’s around 800-

1000,” he said. “Every year we gath-

er

founding father, Zi Qiao Gong,” from whom the Ong family descends. The association’s work provides an example of the sort of undertak- ings typical of all clan associations. It primarily serves to connect and support those from similar back- grounds. Other functions include charity work, helping those in need of financial or other support, and promoting active citizenry. Common association activities in- clude Chinese New Year gatherings, scholarships for high-performing and needy students, and ceremonies to pay respect to those in the com- munity older than 75. Clan leaders are also occasionally called on to undertake other activi- ties, such as giving blessings at wed- dings or showing respect at funerals, collaborating for business purposes or acting as intermediaries in busi- ness disputes. As air travel prices become rela- tively more affordable, the group sporadically hosts visiting Ongs from overseas associations and sometimes attends meetings of other clan or trade associations elsewhere. “In 1993, the first global meet-up was held between the Ongs in My- anmar, Singapore, Thailand, Malay- sia and the Philippines,” said U Aye Htun, assistant secretary of the MT- GOA. “Since then, we have met once every two years. This year we met in Kinmen, Taiwan. “We have also hosted many visi- tors from overseas clans and or- ganised visits to other countries. In between the clan associations, we also notify each other of upcoming changes, developments and so on. When we held our centenary cele- bration in 2010, we had visitors from 11 countries attend.” Clan associations may focus on past bonds but forming new ones is essen- tial to avoid being left behind or losing touch with younger generations.

to honour the birthday of our

www.mmtimes.com

News 15

ay from home

 

Cancelled last year, New Year festivities return to Mandalay

The MTGOA, for example, is constantly striving to adapt to new social communication channels to promote itself at home and glob- ally. One helpful tool is the Facebook page that connects Myanmar Ongs with Ongs in other countries - proof that the internet truly has created a global village. “We will have more worldwide gatherings,” U Aye Htun said. “I have plans for a website and will continue to grow the Facebook page, and may- be send invites from there.” Not that all new developments are virtual: The group are also in discussions with neighbours about tearing down its two-storey meet- ing space and replacing it with a larger eight-storey building, which will house a Chinese language tui- tion centre, a women’s club and a youth club. The MYYA has similar plans and is preparing to open a school that will teach Burmese, English and Mandarin all under one roof. Irrelevance is one of but many challenges the clan associations have faced down, along with Japanese at- tacks during the war, anti-Chinese movements in the 1960s and four decades of military rule. Today, more than 100 years after they were first established in Myan- mar, the associations maintain their vibrancy and community impor- tance, and serve as testament to the strong bonds that Chinese groups take with them, wherever they go in search of new opportunities.

JEREMY MULLINS

An acrobat performs a traditional lion dance. Photo: AFP

An acrobat performs a traditional lion dance. Photo: AFP

jeremymullins7@gmail.com

MANDALAY’S largest Chinese or- ganisation has agreed to hold an-

nual New Year’s festivities later this month, despite cancelling the event in 2013 due to security concerns. Organisers said they carefully considered possible threats to the safety of attendees, as well as wider perceptions of Mandalay’s Chinese community, before agreeing to press on with the February 13 to 15 cele- bration, which will be held at Yun- nan Hall on 82 nd Street. “We want to improve the Chinese and Burmese relationships among ordinary people,” said U Soe Sein, director at the Myanmar Mandalay Chinese Yunnan Association. Last year the association can- celled its New Year’s festivities be- cause of perceptions of heightened tension between ethnic Chinese and Burmese in Mandalay. Organisers said they decided that cancelling the event was prudent to protect personal safety and also to maintain

after the Chinese New Year since 1983. Last year was just the second time it had been cancelled. U Soe Sein said the three-day event aims to improve relations be- tween people of Chinese descent and other residents of Mandalay, to support local temples and minor-

Organisers said they felt im- proved relations between those of Chinese background and the broad- er community meant the event could go ahead this year. Yunnan Hall’s membership to- tals about 8000 families. Along with smaller Fujian and Kokang halls, it is a centre of Chinese culture in Mandalay. The facility includes a temple and indoor hall, and often hosts weddings and funerals for the city’s Chinese community. The land was given to the com- munity some 185 years ago, though the structures were rebuilt after World War II. “We have a responsibility for the new generation to keep Yunnan cul- ture going,” U Soe Sein said.

low, apolitical profile for the Chi- nese community during last year’s tensions.

a

ity groups, and to educate younger people about Yunnanese culture. Chinese traditional dance, modern

U

Soe Sein said the association

dance and singing competitions will be held, with organisers expecting between 2000 and 3000 people each

tries to avoid controversy and politi- cal involvement. Yunnan Hall is “just

social centre”, and its construction and operations were funded by do- nation from association members and private companies.

a

day. Around US$30,000 was raised from local companies to hold the event, and no financial support was

It

has been holding the event at

received from any governmental body, U Soe Sein said.

Yunnan Hall on the first full moon

support, resolving a dispute or offering a wedding blessing

body, U Soe Sein said. Yunnan Hall on the first full moon support, resolving a dispute

www.mmtimes.com

News 17

Hundreds of Rohingya found at Thai camp A traffic policeman gestures in front of a
Hundreds of Rohingya
found at Thai camp
A traffic policeman gestures in front of a hotel
hosting ASEAN delegates for the foreign ministers’
meeting in Bagan on January 15. Photo: AFP
Interpol helps police
with ASEAN security
HSU HLAING
“We will also ensure the security of
the media and relatives of the diplo-
mats who visit. We’ve considered eve-
ry angle.” – Translation by Zar Zar Soe
THAILAND has detained more than
500 Muslim Rohingya refugees, in-
cluding women and children, who
were discovered in a raid on a sus-
pected people-trafficking camp, Thai
police said on January 27.
Thousands of Rohingya have fled
sectarian violence in western My-
anmar in rickety boats since 2012,
mostly believed to be heading for
Malaysia. Rights groups say they of-
ten fall into the hands of unscrupu-
lous people-traffickers.
Thailand said last year it was
investigating allegations that some
army officials in the kingdom were
involved in the trafficking of Roh-
ingya, who are officially referred to
as Bengalis in Myanmar.
About 530 Rohingya, includ-
ing one five-year-old, were found
on January 26 at a rubber farm in
southern Thailand near the border
with Malaysia, Police Colonel Kan
Tammakasem said from Songkhla
province.
“They were hungry and some of
them are sick,” he said, adding that
the Rohingya had hoped to travel to
Malaysia.
Three Thai men guarding the
camp were arrested for sheltering il-
legal immigrants.
The Rohingya men have been
taken to detention centres and the
women and children to local shel-
ters, according to Chatchawal Suk-
somjit, deputy commissioner gen-
eral of the Royal Thai Police.
Rights groups have criticised the
detention of hundreds of Rohingya
in overcrowded and insanitary fa-
cilities in Thailand while the govern-
ment waits – so far unsuccessfully –
for a “third country” to offer to take
them.
Myanmar considers its popula-
tion of roughly 800,000 Rohingya as
illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and
most are unable to access citizen-
ship. They face travel restrictions,
forced labour and limited access to
healthcare and education.
Several outbreaks of inter-com-
munal violence between Buddhist
and Muslim communities in Rakh-
ine State since 2012 have left scores
of people dead and about 140,000
people displaced, mainly from the
Rohingya minority.
Rakhine has been left almost
completely divided on religious and
communal grounds by the unrest,
with many thousands of Muslims liv-
ing in squalid camps nearly two years
after being displaced. – AFP
HTUN

hsuhlainghtun.mcm@gmail.com

THE Myanmar Police Force will re- ceive assistance from Interpol to en- sure the security of visitors for major ASEAN meetings this year, a senior official says. Interpol is providing data to pre- vent “terrorists” from entering the country by air or land ahead of the meetings, police force spokesperson Police Brigadier General Win Khaung told The Myanmar Times. “Interpol has a list of terrorists … With this data and other support we can find out almost immediately if anyone suspicious is crossing the bor- der. We have now carried out security checks at all international border cross- ings, including illegal routes,” he said. As chair of ASEAN Myanmar will host between 300 and 500 meetings during the year, the majority in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon. Some events, such as the ASEAN summits, are likely to attract senior ministers or

even heads of state. Venues will be fitted out with x-ray and walk-through screening machines and security cameras, while police will be on hand with mine detectors. Pol Brig Gen Win Khaung said My- anmar Police Force will provide “suf- ficient security” for the meetings. “I can’t say the exact number of of- ficers that will be assigned but it will be a comprehensive security arrange- ment, both in terms of manpower and technology,” he said. “If senior officials bring their own guards we will cooperate with them. We won’t ignore them if they have their own security.

‘We have now carried out security checks at all international border crossings.’

Police Brigadier General Win Khaung Myanmar Police Force

out security checks at all international border crossings.’ Police Brigadier General Win Khaung Myanmar Police Force
out security checks at all international border crossings.’ Police Brigadier General Win Khaung Myanmar Police Force
out security checks at all international border crossings.’ Police Brigadier General Win Khaung Myanmar Police Force

18

News

THE MYANMAR TIMES FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014

IN BRIEF Martyrs of 1300 Revolution to be honoured this month Consumer affairs department to
IN BRIEF
Martyrs of 1300 Revolution
to be honoured this month
Consumer affairs department
to expand reach
Consumer protection is to be extended
March, talks and offerings to monks planned to commemorate independence movement’s coming-of-age
SI THU
U Tin Hla, 86, one of the 75th anniversary
event’s organisers, recounts the history of
the 1300 Revolution. Photo: Si Thu Lwin
LWIN
sithulwin.mmtimes@gmail.com
THE 75 th anniversary of a crucial
uprising against British colonial
rule will be commemorated with a
march in Mandalay to honour those
who died, organisers say, with Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi among the figures
invited.
The 1300 Revolution – named for
the Myanmar calendar year equiva-
lent to 1939, though the earliest
further following its initial rollout in
three regions and one state, said U
Aung Khaing Oo, director of Mandalay
Region’s Consumer Affairs Department.
The first offices were set up late last
year in Yangon, Mandalay and Sagaing
regions and Rakhine State.
The goal was to educate consumers,
producers and civil society groups about
consumer rights and complaint resolu-
tion. U Aung Khaing Oo said so far the
department had received no complaints,
but protection processes could be
broadened in scope following the pas-
sage of the consumer protection bill.
U
Myo Aung, chair of the Myanmar
Consumers’ Union, said consumer
protection would be more effective if all
agencies concerned worked together.
Myanmar needs to set up a proper
consumer protection regime when the
ASEAN free trade area takes effect by
the end of 2015. – Khin Su Wai, transla-
tion by Zar Zar Soe
events actually began the year before
saw oil field workers go on strike
for better pay and working condi-
Moderate quake hits Thabeikkyin
tions, first in Chauk, Magwe Region,
then elsewhere.
At the time, British officers in the
Burmah Oil Company (BOC) were
paid K15 a day, while local workers
earned just K1. But what started as
An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the
Richter scale was recorded in northern
Mandalay last week, in the same
a
local movement soon became a na-
tional uprising, comparable only to
1988 in the nation’s history.
Among other demonstrations,
oil workers, farmers and activists
marched 640 kilometres (400 miles)
from Mandalay to Yangon to set up
dalay when police shot into a crowd
marching along 26 th Street after a
February 20 gathering at Mandalay’s
Eaindawyar Pagoda that marked the
area that was hit by a larger quake in
November 2012 that killed at least 26
people.
The earthquake struck at 7:26pm
on January 26 and was centred on a
forest about 24 kilometres (15 miles)
northeast of Thabeikkyin, according to
a
recording station in Mandalay.
It
was felt in nearby Madaya, Singu
protest’s shift from remote oil fields
strike camp at Shwedagon Pagoda.
The strike fizzled out in 1939: the
British raided the camp at Shwed-
agon, pointedly still wearing their
army boots as a means of adding in-
sult to injury.
In all, 33 people were killed in the
crackdown. The first was Bo Aung
Kyaw, who died on December 20,
1938, when a student blockade of the
Secretariat building was broken up
by baton-wielding police.
In the movement’s bloodiest
day, 17 people were killed in Man-
a
to city streets.
In the end, the movement’s lead-
ers were jailed and the workers’
demands went unmet. But 20 par-
ticipants went on to join the 30 Com-
rades, the group of freedom fighters
who invaded with the Japanese dur-
ing World War II. The 1300 Revolu-
tion is now considered a seminal mo-
ment of the country’s independence
movement, leading to the birth of the
country as a modern sovereign state
in 1948.
Soon after the uprising, a Martyr’s
Mausoleum to the 17 killed in Man-
dalay was built at Tha Kywel Kone
in Chan Mya Tharsi township using
donations from four wealthy citizens.
In 1987, a bank note was issued fea-
turing strike leader Thakhin Pho Hla
Gyi.
But the banknote was soon with-
drawn, and the Ministry of Culture
closed the mausoleum from 1989 to
morning on February 21, organisers
say.
“Seventeen groups holding pho-
tos of the 17 martyrs will then walk
peacefully and orderly toward the
Martyrs’ Mausoleum … We’re certain
no one will behave badly during the
event,” said organiser U Min Htet
Nyein Chan.
Among those invited to attend are
NLD leaders Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
and U Win Tin, along with descend-
ants of the original marchers. A num-
ber of public lectures by historians,
writers, poets and activists – as well
as sermons by monks – will be given
at Eaindawyar February 19-20.
“Mandalay had the most blood-
shed in the 1300 Revolution,” Nation-
al Literature Award winner Saya Sue
Ngat told The Myanmar Times. “The
Martyrs’ Mausoleum was impressive
but it has almost faded away now. So
this 75 th anniversary is a politically
meaningful event to revitalise the
Martyrs’ Mausoleum. As a Mandalay
resident, I think we should be proud
of this.”
Organisers said they have so far
received enough donations to cover
about 60 percent of the cost of hold-
ing the event.
“Business owners from Mandalay
have provided many contributions
to us and we hope they will also par-
ticipate when the ceremony is held,”
said U Min Htet Nyein Chan.
Organisers will also demand that
Mandalay’s 26 th Street, along the south
side of the Royal Palace, be returned
to its former name, Arzarni Road,
the Myanmar word for “martyr”. The
stretch has been known as 26 th Street
since about 1990, when many Brit-
ish place names were replaced with
Myanmar names – though in this
case the shift was not against British
influence but revolutionary fervour.
– Translation by Zar Zar Soe
and Mogok townships but no casualties
or damage was reported. – Than Naing
Soe, translation by Zar Zar Soe
Federalism march unnecessary,
police tell protest organiser
A
Mandalay resident has been told that
his application to stage a protest to
demand genuine federalism, increased
rights for citizens and a democratic
constitution is likely to be rejected
because the country is “already on the
path toward genuine federalism”.
U
Htay Win from Aung Myae Thar
San township applied on January 24
to stage a six-hour procession from
‘The Martyrs’
Mausoleum was
impressive but it
has almost faded
away now.’
2011.
Saya Sue Ngat
National Literature Award winner
To mark the 75 th anniversary of
the end of the strike, more than 30
groups will offer food to monks at
Eaindawyar Pagoda in the early
The Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Mandalay.
Photo: Si Thu Lwin
the junction of 12 th and 86 th streets to
the junction of 22 nd and 86 th streets on
February 9. In his application he said
up to 1000 people would take part.
However, the head of the town-
ship’s police force has recommended
the township administrator reject the
application, arguing that the protest is
unnecessary because genuine federal-
ism is already on the way. He also said
the large number of participants and
the proposed route of the procession
could cause “unnecessary problems or
traffic accidents”. – Than Naing Soe,
translation by Zar Zar Soe
Ambassade du Canada, Yangon Embassy of Canada, Yangon invites applicants to apply to the positions
Ambassade du Canada, Yangon Embassy of Canada, Yangon invites applicants to apply to the positions

Ambassade du Canada, Yangon Embassy of Canada, Yangon invites applicants to apply to the positions of

Development Officer- Asst 09 Starting Salary: USD 18,616 per annum (plus benefits)

Junior Trade - Foreign Policy & Diplomacy Services – Program Officer- Asst 07 Starting Salary: USD 13,974 per annum (plus benefits)

Driver – GS4 Starting Salary: USD 6,480 per annum (plus benefits)

Please read the detailed competition notice & job description available at http://www.india.gc.ca before applying

**Please identify clearly for which position(s) you are submitting an application**

Last Date to Submit Application: February 16, 2014

International Management Group VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT The International Management Group is an international organization

International Management Group

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT

The International Management Group is an international organization with an office established in Yangon and is seeking for the following positions for EU-funded capacity building project.

(a) Secretary/Assistant (national) is required for a new EU- funded project in the IMG office in Yangon. Experience in office administration, basic book-keeping, and letter writing is essential. Experience in arranging workshops, bookings for travel and accommodation essential. The position requires at least 3 years’ experience in programme assistance or office administration. Proficiency in spoken and written English is required as well as excellent computer skills in basic software packages. The position requires working to support a team of 5 staff within a larger office.

The complete Terms of Reference for the position can be obtained at the IMG website: www.img-int.org. Please send application and CV with cover letter to the IMG

e-mail address: vacancy-myanmar@img-int.org before

closing date February 18th 2014.

www.mmtimes.com

News 19

CRIME IN BRIEF Police break up illegal card games 2013, living in the flat of
CRIME IN BRIEF
Police break up illegal
card games
2013, living in the flat of Ma Maw
Yangon Region police have
launched a crackdown on the use
of playing cards for gambling, with
arrests made at Hmawbi and Tha-
keta townships over the past week.
Five people were arrested at
Hmawbi on January 25. They were
found in possession of 110 cards
and K19,000.
They have been charged under
the gambling law and face six to 12
months in prison if found guilty. The
owner of the house in which they
were arrested was also charged
and faces one to three years in jail.
In Thaketa, meanwhile, police
arrested six men who were al-
legedly gambling with cards in a
vacant stall at a market. They were
found in possession of 52 cards
and K35,500, as well as other
gambling-related items. The men
face three to six months in prison if
found guilty.
Gyi, who had forced the girl to work
as a prostitute in Pathein Nyut ward
in
Tarmwe township.
The victim said she had left her
house in September 2012 to buy
snacks and had met Ma Theingi,
aka Ma Thuzar Win, who invited her
to
work for a high salary in a beauty
parlour owned by her mother, Ma
Maw Gyi.
Probox catches fire while
stuck in rubbish dump
A fire rages in a Maungdaw
township village on January 28.
Photo: Ministry of Information
A
Toyota Probox went up in flames
last week after getting stuck in
mud near a rubbish dump in
Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar town-
ship. Police claim the friction of
the spinning tyres on the concrete
road produced a spark, which then
ignited the car.
The burning vehicle was reported
to police at 11:20pm on January 26.
Police are searching for the
Muslims blamed for fire
in Maungdaw village
owner of the vehicle, who will face
a
charge of negligence.
Girl forced into sex work
at beauty parlour
A Yangon woman has been sen-
tenced to 10 years in prison after
she enticed an underage girl to
work in a beauty parlour in Tarmwe
township but then forced her to
provide services as a sex worker.
The woman was sentenced in
Yangon’s Northern District Court on
January 10 under section 24 of the
Anti-trafficking in Persons Law.
The victim’s father filed a miss-
ing persons report for the girl with
Mingalardon township police on
September 30, 2012.
According to the investigation,
the victim was found on March 4,
Disabled man killed by car
while sleeping on road
TIM
A
35-year-old man who police say
MCLAUGHLIN
suffered from a mental disability
was hit by a car and killed in Hla-
ing Tharyar township last week
as he slept on the shoulder of the
Yangon-Pathein Highway.
The man was hit at about
10:30pm on January 25 between
Htantabin and Hlaing Tharyar.
Police are searching for the
driver of the vehicle, who faces
charges of culpable homicide and
fleeing the scene of a crime. – Toe
Wai Aung, translation by Thiri Min
Htun
timothy.mclaughlin3@gmail.com
THE government says a fire that de-
stroyed 16 houses in a Rakhine State
village on Tuesday night - near the site
of an outbreak of violence earlier this
month - was started by Rohingya resi-
dents, who burned their own homes.
The Rakhine State Information
and Public Relation Department said
in a statement Wednesday morning
that police and fire officials respond-
ed to the fire in Maungdaw town-
ship’s Du Chee Yar Tan Anauk village
at about 8:45pm.
While emergency workers extin-
guished the fire a second blaze broke
out in another house. When fireman
went to battle the second fire they
saw “five Bengalis” running away, the
statement said.
“There is no Rakhine village near
that village, and the neighbouring vil-
lages are just Bengali villages. They
ran away after setting fire to their
houses,” it said.
The Maungdaw police are still
searching for the suspects. They face
charges of arson, which carries a sen-
tence of up to 10 years.
Maungdaw was also the site of an
outbreak of violence between security
officials and Rohingya residents in
mid-January. The United Nations and
human rights organisations say up to
40 people were killed in a crackdown
by security forces and Rakhine resi-
dents who entered the village looking
for a missing police sergeant.
The government has rejected the
reports and insists that no civilians
were killed or seriously injured. Yes-
terday it said it would send the Myan-
mar Human Rights Commission and
senior religious figures to investigate
the allegations but refused to grant
international observers access to the
area.
religious figures to investigate the allegations but refused to grant international observers access to the area.

TRADE MARK CAUTION

HISAMITSU PHARMACEUTICAL CO., INC., a Japanese corporation of 408, Tashiro Daikancho, Tosu, Saga, Japan, is the Owner of the following Trade Mark:-

SALONSIP AQUA-PATCH

Reg. No. 1801/1998 in respect of “Pharmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary preparations;

dietetic substances adapted for medical use, food for babies; plasters, materials for dressings; material for stopping teeth, dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides;

herbicides”.

Fraudulent imitation or unauthorised use of the said Trade Mark will be dealt with according to law.

Win Mu Tin, M.A., H.G.P., D.B.L for HISAMITSU PHARMACEUTICAL CO., INC.

P. O. Box 60, Yangon

E-mail: makhinkyi.law@mptmail.net.mm

Dated: 3 February 2014

TRADE MARK CAUTION

POKKA SAPPORO FOOD & BEVERAGE LTD., a Company incorporated in Japan, of 2-29, Sakae 4-chome, Naka-ku, Nagoya, Japan, is the Owner of the following Trade Mark:-

Nagoya, Japan, is the Owner of the following Trade Mark:- Reg. No. 3380/2013 in respect of

Reg. No. 3380/2013 in respect of “Class 32: Beers; mineral and aerated waters and other non-alcoholic drinks; fruit drinks and fruit juices; syrups and other preparations for making beverages”.

Fraudulent imitation or unauthorised use of the said Trade Mark will be dealt with according to law.

Win Mu Tin, M.A., H.G.P., D.B.L

for POKKA SAPPORO FOOD & BEVERAGE LTD.

P. O. Box 60, Yangon.

Dated: 3 February 2014

TRADE MARK CAUTION

NOHMI BOSAI

Kudan-Minami 4-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan is the Owner of the following Trade Mark:-

LTD., a company incorporated in Japan, of 7-3,

N O H M I

Reg. No. 8831/2013 in respect of “ Int’l Class 9: Safety apparatus and instruments, namely, fire alarms, anti-theft alarms not for vehicles, gas leak alarms, bells, fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, fire hose nozzles, fire extinguishing sprinkler heads, fire extinguishing water spray heads, fire extinguishing drencher heads, fire extinguishing foam heads, fire extinguishing spray nozzles, fire extinguishing monitor nozzles, heat detectors, smoke detectors, flame detectors, gas detectors, fire control panels, fire annunciators and transmitters, fire escapes, fire extinguishers using gas, fire extinguishers using dry chemicals, alarm valves; electrical communication apparatus and instruments, namely, intercommunication phone”.

Fraudulent imitation or unauthorised use of the said Trade Mark will be dealt with according to law.

Win Mu Tin, M.A., H.G.P., D.B.L

for NOHMI

P. O. Box 60, Yangon E-mail: makhinkyi.law@mptmail.net.mm

Dated: 3 February 2014

BOSAI

LTD.

Dated: 3 February 2014 BOSAI LTD. 2 0 News THE MYANMAR TIMES FEBRUARY 3 - 9,

20 News

THE MYANMAR TIMES FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014

Charges filed against Chinese medical clinic

3 - 9, 2014 Charges filed against Chinese medical clinic SHWE YEE SAW MYINT poepwintphyu2011@gmail.com POLICE

SHWE

YEE SAW

MYINT

poepwintphyu2011@gmail.com

POLICE have filed charges against the owner of a traditional Chinese medi- cal clinic in Yangon’s Lanmadaw town- ship, which health officials allege con- ducted dangerous surgical procedures without a licence. A township committee set up by the regional government to oversee private clinics and hospitals filed a complaint about the clinic, known as Aung Ze Ya Min, to police on January 17, secretary Dr Ei Ei Khin said. “We discovered that the clinic on 14 th Street was doing surgical operations on haemorrhoids patients,” she said, add- ing that the treatment could be “very dangerous” for patients who also suffer from diabetes or hypertension. Complaints were also sent to the municipal authorities and the clinic’s owner, she said. Police have charged the owner under section 32 of a law relating to

‘We discovered that the clinic on 14 th Street was doing surgical operations on haemorrhoids patients.’

Ei Ei Khin Township committee to oversee medical clinics

Ei Ei Khin Township committee to oversee medical clinics private healthcare services for operat- ing without

private healthcare services for operat- ing without a licence. He faces a jail term of three months to six years, said Police Second Lieutenant Aung Naing Oo from Lanmadaw township. The clinic’s doctor, who is thought to be a Chinese national, has also been charged. When The Myanmar Times visited Aung Ze Ya Min last week a staff mem- ber said the clinic was closing down because it had no patients and the doctor had gone back to China. A spokesperson for Lanmadaw township’s general administration of- fice said it had inspected Aung Ze Ya Min in November 2013 as part of a broader crackdown on illegal clinics launched in June. It had ordered the owner to close the practice but, in- stead of closing permanently, he sim- ply reopened at a new location. “When we inspected it in Novem- ber we found that this clinic was not

inspected it in Novem- ber we found that this clinic was not Pedestrians walk past the

Pedestrians walk past the shuttered Aung Ze Ya Min traditional Chinese medical clinic on 14 th Street in Lanmadaw township. Photo: Thiri

licensed and also the doctor running it was not licensed to offer this treat- ment,” spokesperson U Than Lwin said. He said that since June the com- mittee has inspected three Chinese traditional clinics in Lanmadaw town- ship and warned their owners to close or face criminal charges. In most cases the owners had refused to obey in- structions from local officials and con- tinued to operate, he said. Chinese traditional medical clinics are regularly frequented by patients suffering bone- and joint-related pain and can be widely found in downtown Yangon.

But Minister for Health Dr Pe Thet Khin has previously warned the pub- lic to be careful of Chinese traditional medical clinics because many do not follow government instructions. Myanmar has no formal process for registering clinics that offer foreign traditional treatments. To get around this they often bill themselves as My- anmar traditional clinics, while in some cases the owners and practition- ers do not realise it is illegal to operate without a licence. Dr Ei Ei Khin said that the lack of a regulatory process for Chinese clin- ics made it hard for the authorities to stop them from operating.

Water projects focus on rivers, Inle Lake

PYAE THET PHYO

pyaethetphyo87@gmail.com

THE Ministry of Environmental Con- servation and Forestry plans to launch four projects this year under its long- term plan to provide training and edu- cation for the comprehensive manage- ment of water resources. The projects will be conducted in cooperation with the Norwegian Insti- tute for Water Research (NIVA) as well as with union-level departments re- lated to water resources management, Minister of Environmental Conserva- tion and Forestry U Win Tun said on January 28.

The projects include managing water resources in tributaries to the Sittaung River and Bago rivers; moni- toring of Inle Lake for water quality, growth of aquatic grass, sedimenta- tion and changes in the area covered by lake water; collecting suggestions for drafting new water resource man- agement policies; and upgrading a water resources laboratory run by the ministry. As the first step in the implemen- tation of these projects, NIVA con- ducted a training course on compre- hensive water resources management on January 28. The joint effort between the

ministry and NIVA is one of the chapters of a memorandum of un- derstanding signed between the My- anmar and Norwegian governments, an official from Forestry Department told The Myanmar Times. “We will implement these four plans this year. The NIVA has already conducted a training course, but they have not yet provided funds to carry out the plans,” the official said. The Norwegian government has already provided US$2 million through the United Nations Develop- ment Program for the conservation of Inle Lake. – Translation by Zar Zar Soe

www.mmtimes.com

News 21

Firefighters battle twin blazes TOE WAI AUNG linnhtet.lt@gmail.com SEPARATE fires broke out in Yan- gon’s
Firefighters battle twin blazes
TOE WAI AUNG
linnhtet.lt@gmail.com
SEPARATE fires broke out in Yan-
gon’s Kyeemyindaing and Bahan
townships on the night of Janu-
ary 28, causing a total of more
than K14 million in damage (about
Ministries
ordered
to repay
debts
EI EI TOE LWIN
eieitoelwin@gmail.com
US$14,000).
The first fire started at 9:20pm
at Excel Treasure Tower on Kaba
Aye Pagoda Road in Bahan town-
ship.
According to police investiga-
tors, the fire was caused by a pow-
er inverter in Treasure Beauty Sa-
lon, owned by U Myint Htwe.
Nineteen engines responded to
the fire, which caused nearly K2
million in damage before it was
extinguish around 9:42 pm.
The Bahan Police Station has
opened the file for the case under
Section 285 of the Penal Code (neg-
ligent conduct with respect to fire
or combustible matter).
At 11:45pm on the same night,
another fire broke out at Sinma
furniture factory, which is located
on the third floor of Thirimingalar
Market on Strand Road in Kyee-
myindaing township.
According to the investigation,
the fire resulted from dust being
sucked into a fan at the factory,
causing the motor to jam and over-
heat.
The inferno, which caused
about K12.1 million in damage,
was extinguished by about 1:30am
after 25 fire engines responded to
the call.
– Translation by Win Thaw Tar
Firefighters extinguish flames at Thirimingalar Market in Kyeemyindaing township on January 28. Photo: Zarni Phyo
TWENTY-ONE ministries have
been told to repay debts of more
than K500 billion (US$510 mil-
lion), with the Ministry of En-
ergy and Ministry of Finance the
top offenders.
Presenting a report into the
debts from the Auditor General’s
Office on January 28, Joint Pub-
lic Accounts Committee mem-
ber U Aung Cho Oo said the
ministries have been given until
March 15 to pay off their arrears.
As of November 30, 2013, the
Ministry of Energy had the larg-
est debt, at K193.1 billion, fol-
lowed by the Ministry of Finance
with and Ministry of Finance
with K148.6 billion. The Minis-
try of Hotels and Tourism owed
the least, with a debt of about K7
million.
A central audit team overseen
by Vice President U Nyan Tun
has been tasked with overseeing
the settlement of the debts by
the March deadline.
Meanwhile, seven ministries
were also found to owe K453.7
million to the Treasury based
on income for the second half of
2012-2013 financial year, the Au-
ditor General’s Office said.
– Translation by Zar Zar Soe
for the second half of 2012-2013 financial year, the Au- ditor General’s Office said. – Translation

22

News

THE MYANMAR TIMES FEBRUARY 3 - 9, 2014

FOCUS

FOCUS

FOCUS

Can a minimum wage law work?

Setting and enforcing a minimum wage is just one step in improving the lives of the country’s workers, say labour activists

the lives of the country’s workers, say labour activists NOE NOE AUNG noenoeag@gmail.com KO Than Htwe,

NOE NOE

AUNG

noenoeag@gmail.com

KO Than Htwe, a 19-year-old from a large family, works as a waiter at a hectic teashop in downtown Yangon. Business is booming, so every day Ko Than Htwe gets up at 5:30am and works without rest until the shop clos- es at 8pm. For all this effort – working 13.5 hours a day, seven days a week – he earns K35,000 a month, or just under K1200 a day. Than Htwe still manages to see the positive side of his labours; he gets free room and board from the owner of the teashop. “The good point of my job is that I don’t need to spend money on my liv- ing space or on meals, so I can save all my earnings and send them to my family in Kawhmu [in Yangon Re- gion],” he said. “I enjoy my job. The teashop owner often lets me go out after my working hours are done, but I can’t go all the way back home.” Ma Chit Chit Tone, 18, works in the warehouse of a prominent shopping mall in Yangon while also enrolled in the first year of a tertiary distance edu- cation course. She earns K95,000 a month – about K3166 a day – and said her working environment is “not inconvenient”. “Our working hours are 8am to 8pm. I have to work six days a week but very often when the containers arrive we have to work all night long, checking and listing the imported items,” she said. “We don’t get overtime pay for that but the manager provides us with dinner, snacks and transportation at those times.” Ma Phway Phway, a 24-year-old garment factory employee, works 13 hours a day, six days a week. Her base salary is K18,700, but with bonuses and overtime she usually takes home

but with bonuses and overtime she usually takes home A woman works at a garment factory

A woman works at a garment factory on the outskirts of Yangon in September 2012. Photo: AFP

about K80,000 a month. “But I have to spend K82,500 a month on hostel fees, transportation, meals and so on, without buying new clothes or accessories,” she said. “So I normally have to borrow money to support my family and then pay it back when I get my salary.” Ma Phway Phway is among the many factory workers in Yangon’s industrial zone who are trapped in a vicious cycle of borrowing money and paying off debts each month. “Yangon is so expensive,” she said. These are just a few examples of the pay rates for the millions of workers in Yangon, many of whom get by on almost subsistence wages. According to the report Modern Day Slaves, published last month by the independent activist organisation Labour Rights Clinic, 55 percent of factory workers in Yangon earn a basic salary of K24,000 to K35,000 a

month, or K800 to K1166 a day. The other 45pc are upper-level employees such as managers and supervisors who earn higher salaries. The report also said most blue- collar workers in Yangon earn a basic salary of around K30,000 to K40,000, which, like salaries for factory work- ers, is barely enough to cover daily family expenses. In response to these problems, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw enacted a mini- mum wage law on March 22 of this year, and a by-law was introduced by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security on July 12. The law, which will cover all work- ers except civil servants, family busi- ness owners and seamen, mandates the creation of bodies in each state or region to research the labour market and recommend a minimum wage for their respective state or region to a national committee. This national

body will then set minimum wages, although none have yet been finalised. But some activists point out that not all problems – especially the poor living standards of the workers – can be solved merely by enforcing a mini- mum wage. “Enforcing a minimum wage law without considering the circumstances

‘I normally have to borrow money to support my family and then pay it back when I get my salary.’

Ma Phway Phway Garment factory worker

I get my salary.’ Ma Phway Phway Garment factory worker TRADE MARK CAUTION Nippon Denki Kabushiki

TRADE MARK CAUTION

Nippon Denki Kabushiki Kaisha d/b/a NEC Corporation, a Company incorporated in Japan, of 7- 1, Shiba 5-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, is the Owner of the following Trade Mark:-

FINECHANNEL

Reg. No. 3371/2013 in respect of “Int’l Class 9: Computer application software, namely, software for mobile phones, cellular phones, smartphones and hand held devices; Computer hardware for upload, storage, retrieval, download, transmission and delivery of digital content; Digital media streaming devices; Digital signage monitors; Digital signal processors; Electronic displays, namely, digital signage; Electronic advertisement and messaging display unit with multi-networking (TCP/IP) capabilities and remote connectivity; Electronic equipment for point-of-sales (POS) systems, namely, point- of-sale terminals, bar code readers, optical readers, advertisement display monitors, keyboards, printers, scanners, radio transmitters, radio receivers, computer hardware, and computer operating software; LCD porjectors used to display advertisements. Int’l Class 35: Advertising and business services, namely, securing airtime on all forms of media communications stations, systems, networks, and services for the purpose of promoting the goods and services of others; Advertising and marketing services, namely, promoting the goods and services of others; Advertising and publicity services, namely, promoting the goods, services, brand identity and commercial information and news of third parties through print, audio, video, digital and on-line medium; Advertising, including on-line advertising on a computer network; Agencies for advertising time and space; Creating and updating advertisiing material; Development, operation and

administration of digital signage systems and digital advertising systems for others, namely, providing advertising space by electronic means and global computer information networks. Int’l Class 42: Hosting of web sites; hosting of digital content on the Internet and other computer and electronic communication networks; providing search engines for obtaining data via the Internet and other computer and electronic communication networks; application service provider (ASP) featuring software for use in exchanging, distributing, transmitting, sharing, receiving, downloading, displaying, transferring, uploading, editing, collecting, managing, sending, organizing and storing data, information, software applications and geographical and location information; application service provider (ASP) featuring software for use in transmitting, accessing, organizing and managing of text messaging, instant messaging and text; providing temporary use of non-downloadable computer software for social networking; Providing a website featuring technical information relating to computer software provided; Providing computer software consulting services; Application service provider (ASP) featuring proprietary software for use in networked multimedia systems, which disseminate licensed and proprietary news, music, graphics, advertising, marketing, training and other content and announcements in video and audio formats to employees, customers and the public on displays and speakers”.

Fraudulent imitation or unauthorised use of the said Trade Mark will be dealt with according to law.

Win Mu Tin, M.A.,H.G.P.,D.B.L. for Nippon Denki Kabushiki Kaisha d/b/a NEC Corporation P.O. Box 60, Yangon E-mail: makhinkyi.law@mptmail.net.mm Dated: 3 February 2014

of workers would not be a real cure for

their plight,” said U Chit Oo Maung from the Labour Rights Clinic. “Of course the biggest problem for the workers is low payment but there are other hidden problems behind their poor living standards.” Even after the minimum wage is

determined, problems related to work- place communication, discrimination, salary cuts, forced overtime labour, unsafe working conditions and lack of proper safety equipment will remain, said U Chit Oo Maung. The Ministry of Labour, Employ- ment and Social Security has or- ganised two seminars to tackle the minimum wage issue, the most re- cent occurring on October 10. Beside officials from relevant government departments, hundreds of workers and management representatives also attended. But many of the workers who were there did not seem to be engaged by the presentations, which relied on academic language rather than the vernacular.

“I came here because my manager

told me to but I’m afraid of taking part because I don’t know what to say,” said one employee of a frozen food fac- tory in East Dagon township, echoing the sentiments of many others at the seminar. Among those giving presentations was U Zaw Oo, a researcher from Myanmar Development Research In- stitute and an adviser to President

U Thein Sein; U Win Shein from the

Factories and General Labour Laws Inspection Department; and U Myo

Aung, a director of the Department of Labour.

U Myo Aung said most countries

set a minimum wage primarily for the cutting, manufacturing and packag- ing (CMP) sector, which manufactures garments for export. “Besides the CMP sector, we will fix the minimum wage based on the de- sire of the workers but it also has to be balanced with the situation of the country,” he said. “We know the problems of workers cannot be solved just by enforcing a minimum wage law. We will organise

more seminars in the future and invite workers to participate in the discus- sions so they can keep in touch with the government’s progress and express their needs at the same time.”

Dr Zaw Oo said the minimum wage

will take into consideration workers’

incomes and expenditures, the costs of supporting a family and current con- sumer prices. “According to some research, the production of a worker can improve by increasing his salary. On the other hand, owners can reduce the number

of workers if a worker’s efficiency in-

creases. We need to find a balance,” he said. Activist U Yan Naing Htwe said the government must also exert closer control over factory owners. “Other- wise the law will be vain,” he said.

As an example, he pointed out that

in mid-2012, officials from the Minis-

try of Labour, Employment and Social Security drafted the Kanaung Con- tract, in which the government, fac- tory owners and workers agreed on a set of employment principles.

“Officials stipulated that basic sal- ary shouldn’t be lower than K56,700

a month. The factory owners agreed,

but then they twisted it so that for them K56,700 meant overall salary [including bonuses and overtime],” said U Yan Naing Htwe. “Government officials never com- plained about this, which is why I have said that if officials cannot control factory owners, we will still have the same problems even after the mini- mum wage law comes into force.”

www.mmtimes.com

News 23

Dog lovers issue appeal for donations

HLAING KYAW SOE

hlaingkyawsoe85@gmail.com

ANIMAL lovers in Mandalay are appealing for donors to help them rescue dogs from traffickers. The money would go to feed the dogs and to build a stronger fence around their sanctuary in Pathe- ingyi township, said the secretary of the Stray Dogs Rescue Group. The group established the 40-by-100-foot (12-by-30-metre) compound in Mekingone village to house dogs from Mandalay’s Singaing township after they had rescued them from exporters who were going to send the dogs to China, where they would be sold as meat. But the dogs either broke through the makeshift fence of

60

Dogs that have escaped from a Mandalay stray dogs home because it lacks the funding for proper fencing

dogs home because it lacks the funding for proper fencing Chan Myae Thukha chairman U Aung
Chan Myae Thukha chairman U Aung Naing. Photo: Si Thu Lwin
Chan Myae Thukha
chairman U Aung Naing.
Photo: Si Thu Lwin

Mandalay charity receives regional prize

SI THU LWIN sithulwin.mmtimes@gmail.com

A MANDALAY philanthropic or- ganisation has been honoured for its social activities by the regional government. Chan Myae Thukha was founded in 2006 to provide funeral services, or- ganise blood donations, support edu- cational needs, care for older people and provide disaster relief. It now has more than 1000 members.

Organisation chair U Aung Naing said the award was given “in recogni- tion of our social and philanthropic works”. Chan Myae Thukha’s 20 vehicles operate over a wide area, including Mandalay and Ayeyarwady regions and Mon, Shan, Kachin and Chin states. It provides educational support to more than 130 students and social care to more than 200 elderly people. – Translation by Zar Zar Soe

Govt spends K600m on cyclone shelters

AYE SAPAY PHYU

ayephyu2006@gmail.com

THE government plans to spend K600 million on two cyclone shelters in Ra- khine State that can also be used as schools. A deputy director of the Relief and Resettlement Department said a ten- der was issued to build the shelters, in Pauktaw and Myebon townships, at the end of January, with construction completion scheduled for late March. “We invited bids from companies to build the shelters in the last week. The buildings will be one storey, made of reinforced concrete and with a high base. One shelter can hold about 200 people,” she said. “The shelters will also be used as schools.” The cost of construction will be met by the ministry, she said. The government acknowledged it needed to invest more in cyclone shelters in Rakhine after Cyclone Ma- hasen narrowly missed the region in May 2013. More than 1 million people were evacuated to safer locations as the cy- clone approached. The government also announced in 2012 that it planned to build 45 cyclone shelters in Ayeyarwady Re- gion, which was seriously affected by Cyclone Nargis in 2008. It invited sup- port from international development agencies for the projects.

bamboo, tarpaulin and barbed wire, or tunnelled underneath it, said the group’s secretary Ma Saw Yu Aye. “We built the temporary com- pound as a matter of urgency when we heard the exporters were rounding up street dogs. We bought the dogs from the export- ers and put them in the compound to keep them safe, but they kept getting out,” she said. Only 40 dogs are left of the 100 originally accom- modated. Ma Saw Yu Aye said her group would accept all stray dogs. But the compound would need a concrete wall and kennels. The group has hired staff to guard the sanctuary and feed the dogs. “It takes eight baskets of bro- ken rice and more than a viss of pieces of dried beef,” she said (1 viss equals 1.6 kilograms or 3.6 pounds). Though some contributions have come in, the group says it needs another K3-5 million. Ma Saw Yu Aye said her group would look after the dogs for the natural term of their lives, which she put at about five years. They would also use birth-control methods to

keep the dog population down. – Translation by Thiri Min Htun

five years. They would also use birth-control methods to keep the dog population down. – Translation

24

THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014

Business

Ooredoo, Telenor get licences

Foreign operators promise to launch services within six to eight months

PhiliP heijmans

pheijmans13@gmail.com

aung Kyaw nyunt

zeezee383@gmail.com

AFTER months of delays, the path is finally cleared for global Qatari tele- communications provider Ooredoo and Norway-based Telenor to devel- op a nationwide mobile network in Myanmar after obtaining operators licences from the government, offi- cials said on Thursday. The government announced in June that the two firms had won an international tender to develop and operate a mobile infrastructure in Myanmar, helping to solidify the quasi-civilian regime’s plan to open to the country to foreign investors. Since then, however, the is- suance of an operator’s licence – which would allow the two firms to begin building their multi-billion dollar networks – has been delayed as lawmakers struggled to put a reg- ulatory framework for the telecom sector in place. On Thursday, the government announced they had finally granted telecommunications licences to both firms, while Telenor and Ooredoo have pledged to launch initial ser- vices in cities such as Yangon in the next six to eight months. “The licences granted to Tel- enor and Ooredoo … have been ac- cepted by both new operators and will come into effect on February 5, 2014, for an initial duration of 15 years,” Minister of Communications and Information Technology U Myat Hein said during a signing ceremo- ny with Ooredoo last week.

more on Business 28

Labour shortages plague nascen

week. more on Business 28 Labour shortages plague nascen nyan lynn aung Bridget di certo A
week. more on Business 28 Labour shortages plague nascen nyan lynn aung Bridget di certo A

nyan lynn aung

Bridget di certo

A SHORTAGE of skilled labour in

the garment sector is hampering

Myanmar’s ability to take advantage

of increased interest from interna-

tional investment in manufactur- ing, industry sources said.

Myanmar faces myriad problems

in bolstering its fledgling garment

sector, including transport, logis-

tics, infrastructure and electricity supply. But skilled labour shortage

is the most immediate hurdle to in-

dustry growth, sector players said.

“We just can’t get the human re-

sources,” Ma Myat San Win, director

of UMH company, told The Myan-

mar Times. Her voice is echoed by many of Myanmar’s garment manufacturers who say workers do not yet have the

skills required to secure high-end manufacturing contracts. Most factories in Myanmar are willing to take on workers with no experience and train them in-house, Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) development manager Daw Kyawt Kay Thi Win said. The MGMA also has its own training centre and runs a two-week workshop every other month for about 20 workers seeking advanced skills such as quality assurance

‘We are held back from production while we get the workforce skilled up.’

dr Khin maung aye Owner of the Lat War Garment Factory

dr Khin maung aye Owner of the Lat War Garment Factory Garment workers stitch together clothes
dr Khin maung aye Owner of the Lat War Garment Factory Garment workers stitch together clothes

Garment workers stitch together clothes at a Korean-owned factory in Pyin Ma Bin Industrial Estate in Yangon. Photo: Philip

and mechanical engineering and repairs. But once trained, workers tend to shop around factory owners and flock to where the highest salary is, factory owners said. “We are always taking on new employees. We are held back from production while we get the work-

force skilled up,” said U Khin Maung Aye, owner of the Lat War Garment Factory on the outskirts of Yangon. “But then, most of the trained labour will move from one factory to another where they get paid more salary – even if it is only 3 to 5 per- cent more,” he said.

After the EU lifted the last of its trade sanctions in April 2013, three or four new garment factories were launched within a month, includ- ing one that hired more than 500 employees. But, U Khin Maung Aye said, the number of start-ups with dollar signs in their eyes far outweighed

than 500 employees. But, U Khin Maung Aye said, the number of start-ups with dollar signs

buSINeSS edItOr: Philip Heijmans | pheijmans13@gmail.com

25

a better life on the oilfields

Business 27

@gmail.com 2 5 a better life on the oilfields Business 27 Exchange Rates (January 31 close)

Exchange Rates (January 31 close)

bogyoke Market row heads to court

 

Currency

Buying

Selling

Euro

K1338

K1356

Malaysia Ringitt

K279

K299

Singapore Dollar

K768

K778

Thai Baht

K28.8

K30.3

ProPerty 30

US Dollar

K980

K988

t garment sector

ProPerty 30 US Dollar K980 K988 t garment sector Heijmans the availability of skilled labour. “Most

Heijmans

the availability of skilled labour. “Most of the new factories com- ing here in 2012 and 2013 came without any labour force. So they try to poach other skilled workers from other factories,” he said. MGMA chair U Myint Soe said that investors in the garment sector in Myanmar were usually experienced

players who had market confidence, technology and management skills. But as most factories were sim- ply training workers themselves there was no way for the factories to have the human resources to com- pete with global heavyweights. “The products here might not compete with Vietnam’s products. Vietnam [has the manpower and skills] to produce 10 products, Chi- na can do 15 where we can do only five,” U Myint Soe said. Even so, as political and market unrest plagues Cambodia, Thailand and even Malaysia and China, inves- tors from Europe, America, Japan, Korea and China are turning their minds to Myanmar, he added. The tipping point, at which for- eign investors were expected to turn their money, not just their minds, to Myanmar, would be export earn- ings of K2 billion annually, he add- ed. The government’s most recent estimates put this at K1.6 billion. In addition to manufacturing start-ups snatching trained workers from each other, the siren song of Thailand’s higher wages continues to call workers away from the bur- geoning sector in this country. U Myint Soe said more advanced workers often crossed the border in search of higher-paying skilled work not yet available in Myanmar’s garment factories. Andy Hall, a Bangkok-based mi- gration expert, said about 1.5 million foreign workers were documented in Thailand. “Undocumented, perhaps 1 million,” Mr Hall told The Myan- mar Times by email. “The number of documented work- ers has increased significantly due to the regularisation policies of the Myanmar/Thailand government(s),” he said, adding that the number of undocumented workers in Thai facto- ries was also increasing. Myanmar’s garment workers have one of the lowest minimum wages in the region at around US$25 to $37 according to a report released by a consortium of labour unions last year, significantly lower than Thai- land and even Cambodia.

TRADE MARK CAUTION

NOTICE is hereby given that HOYU KABUSHIKI KAISHA (also trading as Hoyu Co., Ltd.) a company organized under the laws of Japan and having its principal office at 501, Tokugawa 1-Chome, Higashi-Ku, Nagoya-Shi, Aichi-Ken, Japan is the owner and sole proprietor of the following trademark:-

the owner and sole proprietor of the following trademark:- (Reg: Nos. IV/7872/2008 & IV/12302/2013) in respect

(Reg: Nos. IV/7872/2008 & IV/12302/2013)

in respect of:- “Hair dyes; hair color preparations; bleaching

preparations for hair; color-removing preparations for hair; hair

lotions; hair spray; hair waving preparations; hair tonic; hair creams; hair shampoo; hair conditioner; hair treatment cream; cosmetics; toiletries” Class 3

Any fraudulent imitation or unauthorized use of the said trademark or other infringements whatsoever will be dealt with according to law.

U Kyi Win Associates

for HOYU KABUSHIKI KAISHA (also trading as Hoyu Co., Ltd.)

P.O. Box No. 26, Yangon. Phone: 372416

Dated: 3 rd February, 2014

Myanmar gets new SEZ law

aye thidar Kyaw ayethidarkyaw@gmail.com

IN an effort to draw more foreign interest in Myanmar’s future Special Economic Zones (SEZ), the state- run media last week announced the promulgation of a new SEZ law, su- perseding the relevant laws adopted by the former military regime in

2011.

“The new law seems to decentral- ise decision-making to the SEZ com- mittee, so that central government is

no longer involved. This is probably

attractive to investors,” said advocate

U Than Maung, adding that the new

law provides for a management com- mittee responsible for administra-

tion, management and supervision

of the zone.

“The committee has to protect citizens’ rights, and solve problems,” he said.

The law allows seven years’ in- come tax exemption for local and foreign investors and eight years for construction companies in designat- ed areas, while those involved have promised further incentives this year. Economist U Maung Aung, of the Advisory Board for Kyaukphyu SEZ, said the new law would encourage developers to speed up construction

49%

Japanese ownership equivalent of

the thilawa SeZ that is now under construction

equivalent of the thilawa SeZ that is now under construction of the SEZ. “This law, especially

of the SEZ.

“This law, especially its tax provi- sions, seems likely to encourage in- vestors to make huge investments,” he said. The Advisory Board is currently seeking a prominent international consultant to work on inviting ten- ders for developers. “We want a fair competition for

a developer,” said U Maung Aung,

adding that the government plans to implement the three SEZs next year. In the 2400-hectare Thilawa SEZ 20km south of Yangon, the govern- ment and nine domestic enterprises are providing 51 percent, while a Japanese consortium contributes 49pc. Japanese investors are also be- ing courted to get involved in the Da- wei project in southern Myanmar, as the lead developer, Italian-Thailand Development Company, suspended work several months ago.

in southern Myanmar, as the lead developer, Italian-Thailand Development Company, suspended work several months ago.

26

Business

THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014

Japanese trade expo to be held

Country to get first look into new appliances

myat noe oo myantnoe.mcm@gmail.com

IN a sign of continued trade interest from Japan, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) will stage an exhibition next month geared at pro- moting a variety of products from the long-time partner nation, officials said.

200

Number of Japanese firms expected to participate in yangon’s third annual Japanase exhibition

participate in yangon’s third annual Japanase exhibition Japan Festival 2014 will be held in Yangon at

Japan Festival 2014 will be held in Yangon at Tatmadaw Hall February 7 to 10 and will showcase Japanese- made electrical appliances, cars and motorcycles, household goods, phar- maceuticals, solar devices, bathroom appliances and cosmetics, said JETRO Myanmar’s managing director Toshi- hiro Mizutani. Myanmar companies will also participate alongside the 200 Japanese firms involved. “This is our third festival in Myan- mar,” said Mr Mizutani. “We plan to also show the Japan Entertainment Festival at the National Theatre, fea- turing Japanese and Myanmar profes- sional musicians.”

Power lines, healthcare in World Bank $2b loan

THE World Bank announced on Sunday a US$2 billion development program for Myanmar, including pro-

jects to improve access to energy and healthcare in the impoverished for- mer military-ruled nation. Bank president Jim Yong Kim, on his first visit to the country, said half of the funds would be used to expand power supplies, in a country where more than 70 percent of the popula- tion does not have access to reliable electricity. “We are increasing our support for the huge reform effort underway in Myanmar because we want to help the government bring benefits to poor people even more quickly,” Kim said in a statement. “Expanding access to electricity in a country like Myanmar can help transform a society – children will

be able to study at night, shops will stay open, and health clinics will have lights and energy to power life-saving technology. Electricity helps brings an end to poverty,” he said. The program also includes $200 million to help Myanmar achieve universal health coverage by 2030, the Bank said, noting that only one in four people in the once-isolated coun- try has access to quality healthcare. The Washington-based institution closed its Yangon office in 1987 and ceased new lending after the then- ruling junta stopped making pay- ments on debts worth hundreds of millions of dollars left from previous programs. Myanmar last year cleared its ar- rears to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank with the help of a

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, talks during his meeting with the
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank
Group, talks during his meeting with the press
at a township hospital on the outskirts of
Yangon on January 26. Photo: AFP

MILLION

$200

amount given by World bank to help Myanmar achieve universal health coverage by 2030

to help Myanmar achieve universal health coverage by 2030 Japanese bridge loan, enabling the two lenders

Japanese bridge loan, enabling the two lenders to resume assistance to

the country. President U Thein Sein has over- seen a series of dramatic reforms since taking office in 2011, including the release of political prisoners and the election of Nobel Peace Prize win- ner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to parlia- ment. In response, the West has be- gun rolling back sanctions and for- eign firms are lining up to invest in

the country, eyeing its huge natural resources, large population and stra-

tegic location between China and In- dia.

The country was once known as the “rice bowl of Asia” because of its agricultural riches. But economic mis- management during nearly 50 years of direct military rule left the country deeply impoverished. Mr Kim is due to meet former general U Thein Sein, other mem- bers of the government and oppo- sition and business leaders in the capital Nay Pyi Taw where he will

also attend a development forum this week. – AFP

PATH is an international nonprofit organization that transforms global health through innovation. Having just recently

PATH is an international nonprofit organization that transforms global health through innovation. Having just recently opened an office in Yangon, PATH currently seeks qualified candidates looking for an opportunity to make a positive impact on the health of people in Myanmar.

Project Manager, Introduction of Rice Fortification in Myanmar (Tracking code #5898), will coordinate and manage all aspects of the project including:

advocacy and rice fortification policy development with key government ministries, capacity building along the supply chain for fortified rice, and social marketing demand generation activities. They will manage partner relationships and drive the project planning, execution, monitoring, and assessment of the project schedules, deliverables, and donor reporting requirements.

Knowledge, skills and experience required: AnMBA and/or MPH/MS degree in Nutrition and/or Public Health, plus 5+ years' progressive, directly related experience. Demonstrated ability to lead teams in health improvement projects, advocacy, communications and social mobilization is required. Strong management skills, ability to respond to diverse work styles and experience working in cross functional and cross organizational teams is required. Should have business negotiation experience, demonstrated success interfacing with stakeholders in all sectors, and experience with building alliances for generating demand for health improvement products. Also desired is experience working with international organizations and private sector companies, especially in the agriculture industry. Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills in English is required, and proficiency in the local language (Myanmar) is preferred.

To apply for this position please visit the jobs section of the PATH website (www.path.org) and apply online. Applications for this position will not be accepted via email.

Government expects foreign capital to double in 2013-14

aye thidar Kyaw ayethidarkyaw@gmail.com

FOREIGN investment in Myanmar is set to more than double this year, the country’s investment commission pre- dicts. MIC anticipates an inflow of about US$3.5 billion for fiscal 2013-2014, com- pared to last year’s total of $1.4 billion, said U Aung Naing Oo, director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). “Much of the investment is going to manufacturing, especially the garment industry,” he said. Foreign investments had already reached $2 billion as of November, of which 80 percent went into the manu- facturing sector. The MIC is still negotiating with foreign companies for about $300 mil- lion, with another $1 billion expected to

come in from two telecom companies next year.

The sources of the investment in-

clude countries estranged from Myan- mar for many years, including Austral- ia, the US and France, as well as some newcomers like Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates, he said. “Foreign direct investment will grow further when infrastructural needs are

met. The amount of investment in the extractive industries fell this year. We have to analyse which investments ben-

‘[FDI] will grow further when infrastructural needs are met.’

u aung naing oo director general of dICa

needs are met.’ u aung naing oo director general of dICa efit us and protect our

efit us and protect our economy,” he

said, adding that China and Vietnam were good examples to follow. Investment in small projects can take about six or seven months to nego- tiate, while larger enterprises can take up to two years, he said, citing Nissan Group, which has just decided to invest after many visits and long discussions. U Aung Min, associate director of MMRD Research Services, said FDI flows into Myanmar had been slow for 20 years before 2011 due to economic sanctions and a poor investment cli- mate. During these years most of the country’s FDI came from Japan, he said, adding that Myanmar had yet to maximise its geographical advantage by developing economic corridors to the Mekong region. “If Japanese companies want to move their factories from China to Viet-

nam or Myanmar, the linkages have to be in place,” he said.

companies want to move their factories from China to Viet- nam or Myanmar, the linkages have

www.mmtimes.com

Business 27

FEATURE

A better life on the oilfields

Business 27 FEATURE A better life on the oilfields aung shin koshumgtha@gmail.com THE lure of profit

aung

shin

koshumgtha@gmail.com

THE lure of profit to be made from oil hunting is drawing people from their homes and farms to work the hand- gouged wells of the country’s midsec- tion in Magwe Region. The labour-intensive oilfield in Htankine, Minhla township, has de- veloped since 2006 and although oil production has been in decline over the past four months, people are still com- ing from throughout the region with the hope of earning beyond their typi- cal salary as farmers. “I was a farmer before. But I could not earn enough from agriculture be- cause weather conditions have not been good, so I decided to work in the oilfields,” oil hunter U Tin Hlaing. Six months ago, U Tin Hlaing brought his family from their home in Minbu township, located 145 kilome- tres (90 miles) from Minhla township. At first, he worked as a labourer for an- other oil hunter, but after a few months started his own well once he was able to save the K1,000,000 needed to buy the land and the drilling gear and ma- chinery necessary to get the job done.

Today, he has a total of seven wells, from which he harvests about one-and a-half-barrels of crude oil a day. He can sell a day’s harvest for about K100,000, substantially lower than the interna- tional rates for crude oil. But success is not guaranteed for an oil hunter. Securing a prospective land plot in the oil-rich Magwe Region plains does not necessarily mean achieving oil yields. But the rewards outweigh the risks as micro-oil producers can earn a promising income, said U Myo Lwin, another oil hunter from Thahmyar village in Natmauk township, Magwe Region. “Life is good, as far as food, cloth- ing and shelter are concerned,” he said, adding that he worked as a merchant before moving to Htankine seven months ago. “I became an oil hunter because the investment was not much, and even though I’m not rich yet I can support my two sons’ schooling,” he said. He said that the current mar- ket price for crude oil in the area is K120,000 per 50-gallon barrel. Hunt- ers delve 40 to 1000 feet (12-300m) below the surface of the plains to hit the sweet spots in Magwe. “If you’re lucky, your well can pump one barrel a day in the beginning,” he said. “I think the yield will fall, but the

well will continue to produce at least one or two gallons a day,” said U Tin Hlaing. Labourers earnings, meanwhile, start from as little as K5000 a day, while the more experienced hands who operate machinery could earn four times that. “We work in a team of six, each earning K20,000 per day,” said Ko Nyo Win Thant, a farmer-turned-oil-driller from Tawchaungkone village in Saku township. Apart from the literal hit-and-miss of drilling for oil, the rudimentary ma- chinery operated by an unskilled work force creates a hazardous working environment. “I have experienced fire breaking out often here,” said U Myint Win, a former farmer from Sakhangyi village in Aunglan township. “And sometimes oil workers are in- jured in accidents during the drilling.” Safety problems aside, the influx of prospectors with dollar signs in their eyes has led to a swathe of social turmoil in the fields. Cramped in close quarters, under flimsy tarpaulin tents, oil hunters and their families number in the thousands now in Magwe. “The characters come from all walks of life here,” a crude oil buyer from Da- hatpin oilfield said. “Recently, we have experienced fake

hatpin oilfield said. “Recently, we have experienced fake An oil worker wrings out a cloth containing

An oil worker wrings out a cloth containing extracted oil from an excavation site in Minhla township, Magwe Region. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

oil such as selling crude oil mingling with other useless things. I have been [fooled] on that,” he said. Others complained of the soaring crime rate in the lawless fields. “Today prostitutes have been in the oilfield. Here the majority of oil work- ers were young men earning well, so they won’t be stingy to pay for that,” rig driver Ko Moe Gyi said, adding he hoped the young men remembered to protect themselves with condoms. “There is no rule of law here. If any criminal was hiding here, no one would know. I wonder how the government

would conduct the census in 2014 for thousands of people in these oilfields.” Nevertheless, oil hunters are in demand and moving throughout Magwe in search of oil-dense land, such as in Dahatpin, about 20 miles from Htankine. “Right now, Dahatpin produces more crude than other fields as the average well is 400 feet deep,” said Ko Pho Htoo, who became an oil hunter in Dahatpin after giving up farming in Kankone village in Salin township. “Business is going well here,” he said amid the rising cacophony of workers.

toKyo

Japanese airline profits tank

Weak currency helps to put losses into the billions

JAPAN’s two biggest airlines said last week that the weak yen sent fuel costs soaring and profits into a nosedive as they struggled to recov- er from the global grounding of the Boeing Dreamliner plane last year. However, while the surge in fuel costs, often a carrier’s single-biggest expense, hit the bottom lines of Ja- pan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), they said a recovery in international travel helped lift sales. Both companies are US-based Boeing’s biggest customer for the state-of-the-art plane, which only resumed flying after a months’ long grounding – caused by a se- ries of battery problems – forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights. ANA said its net profit dived 36 percent to 33.3 billion yen (US$325 million) between April and Decem- ber, citing the jump in fuel prices. JAL fared a little better, saying its nine-month net profit turned down 12.2pc to $1.2 billion, despite sales climbing 5.1pc on rising de- mand for international travel and its cargo service. “The weak yen is a major factor holding back their profit,” said Ma- saharu Shirokane, aviation analyst with Nomura Securities. “It’s a real headache for the Japanese aviation industry and as long as the yen remains weak, their bottom line will remain under pressure.” The yen has lost about a quar- ter of its value against the dollar since late 2012 following a policy blitz launched by Japanese premier Shinzo Abe and his hand-picked team at the Bank of Japan aimed at kickstarting economic growth and beating deflation. – AFP

Abe and his hand-picked team at the Bank of Japan aimed at kickstarting economic growth and
WWF – MYANMAR VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT (WWFMM/001-6/2014) The World Wide Fund for Nature in Myanmar (WWF-Myanmar)

WWF – MYANMAR

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT

(WWFMM/001-6/2014)

The World Wide Fund for Nature in Myanmar (WWF-Myanmar) is seeking applications from dynamic and highly motivated Myanmar nationals for the following vacancies:

1.

Policy Manager

2.

Policy Officer

3.

Green Economy Senior Policy Officer

4.

Green Economy Policy Officer

5.

Green Economy Policy Assistant

6.

Human Resource Officer

Application deadline is open until filled. Detailed Job Description for the position is posted on www.panda.org/jobs, www.panda.org/greatermekong under Jobs. Application documents should be addressed as Document_Yourfullname. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. UNOCHA MYANMAR VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT (UNOCHA/YGN/2014/001)
UNOCHA MYANMAR VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT (UNOCHA/YGN/2014/001) The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian

UNOCHA MYANMAR VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT

(UNOCHA/YGN/2014/001)

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) is seeking the applications from dynamic and highly motivated Myanmar nationals for the following vacancy. Detailed terms of reference/ requirements for vacancy can be requested at the UNOCHA Office. The position below is Fixed Term Appointment for 1 year with possibility of extension, for multiple duty stations (initial duty station is Sittwe, Rakhine State).

Field Coordination Officer (NOA, 1 position) Requirements

• Bachelor Degree in Economics, Social Sciences, International Relations, Political Sciences or related field. • Minimum 2 years of progressively relevant professional experience in the field of humanitarian/ recovery affairs; knowledge on global policies and guidelines related to humanitarian/recovery affairs and humanitarian reform. • Ability to write clearly and concisely in English and local language(s) including verbal translations. Strong computer skills. Proven high-level representation skills, such as speaking at meetings and providing situational analysis. Proven capacity to work effectively in small teams. • Experience working in implementation and delivery of humanitarian/recovery projects at the field level is a must. • Experience working in a complex settings that requires sound judgment, and operational flexibility. • Previous experience in a similar capacity with humanitarian agencies, in particular the UN, preferred. • Fluency in English and Myanmar language. Knowledge in any other local languages will be an asset.

Candidates should clearly indicate the Vacancy Number and Post Title in their applications, and should submit them together with complete duly filled UN-P11 form, bio- data stating personal details, academic qualification and work experience, copies of educational credentials, and a recent passport sized photograph. Applications should be addressed to:

Admin and HR Unit, UNOCHA Myanmar Room (211), No (5), Kanbawza Street, Shwe Taung Kyar (2) Ward, Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar (In front of Pearl Condo) Closing Date: Friday, 14 February 2014 (COB)

Only short-listed candidates will be notified. Interviews will be competency based.

28 Business

THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014

The Fine Print Legal & tax insight Shooting straight the best way to invest alessio
The Fine Print
Legal & tax insight
Shooting straight the best way to invest
alessio
Polastri
alessio@pwplegal.com
ANYONE who remembers
Yangon the way it was just
over two years ago – the
empty roads, the cheap hotels
and nothing but a visit from
Hillary Clinton to hint that
things were about to change –
can be regarded as something
of an old hand. That would ex-
plain why I have so often been
asked, by investors or by the
merely curious, to share my
views on how to get ahead in
business here.
In dealing with authori-
ties, always be prepared to
explain in detail your mar-
ket approach. Do not expect
them to be familiar with pro-
cedures in other countries,
or with business models con-
sidered standard elsewhere.
Marshal your arguments and
stick to them, supported by
the facts. Remember you are
talking to politicians and
government employees, not
businesspeople, or experts
in your particular field. Take
all the time you need, and
they need, to explain, and to
convince them that your ap-
proach is commercially viable
and will benefit the country’s
economy.
A local partner in emerg-
ing markets can be a valuable
asset who can help speed up
bureaucratic procedures, fa-
cilitate contacts with locals
and serve as your alter ego.
But picking the wrong partner
is a total nightmare.
Do your homework before
throwing in your lot with
someone who is said to have
“connections”. Be especially
wary of locals who tell you
they have such connections.
Those who really have them
do not advertise. They don’t
have to.
But the most important
consideration is this: Myan-
mar will continue to trans-
form itself rapidly for years to
come.
Your team, your invest-
ment and the way you ap-
proach the market must be
ready to change likewise to
adapt to the shifting commer-
cial perspectives and political
scenarios.
Alessio Polastri is managing
partner of Polastri Wint &
Partners

continued from Business 24

Sigve Brekke, vice president of Telenor Group and head of Telenor’s operations in Asia, said that the licence comes follow- ing an “extensive consultation process”

with the government and international organisations. “It [the telecommunications law] now represents an acceptable framework that we believe will go a long way to provide the necessary long-term predictability that Telenor requires when it formally starts operations in Myanmar,” he said in a sepa- rate statement on Thursday. During the signing ceremony held in Nay Pyi Taw last week, representatives from Ooredoo detailed their short and long term rollout plans. Ross McCormack, CEO of Ooredoo, pledged to begin selling “affordable” SIM cards in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, and Mandalay by the middle of

2014.

‘It [the telecommuni- cations law] now represents an acceptable framework that we believe will go a long way.’

sigve Brekke Vice president of telenor Group

a long way.’ sigve Brekke Vice president of telenor Group While low-cost Myanma Posts and Tel-

While low-cost Myanma Posts and Tel- ecommunication SIM cards are offered through a lottery system, the cards are quickly circulated into the black market where they are resold for as much as $450 each. Mr. McCormack said he believed the sheer volume of cards they plan to sell will be able to guard against such a secondary market. Furthermore, he pledged that 97 per- cent of the population will have access to their 3G networks by the end of 2018, in keeping with their contract with the gov- ernment. Ooredoo has promised to invest $15 bil- lion for the duration of its licence, which will last 15 years. With 60 million people estimated to be living in Myanmar, just 7.08pc had access to mobile phones as of July, according to government data, while only 5pc has ac- cess to the internet. “In the short term, as mobile networks are built, the investment and related fi- nancial flows, including licence fees, will add to growth and improve budget rev- enues,” Matt Davies, deputy division chief at the Asia and Pacific department of the International Monetary Fund, told The Myanmar Times. U Than Lwin, economist, deputy chair- man of locally owned KBZ Bank and for- mer deputy governor at the Central Bank of Myanmar, said that developing a mobile infrastructure will not only give millions of people access to mobile services, but will pave the way for mobile banking, an alternative banking model that has been wildly successful in countries like Kenya, China and Cambodia.

bILLION

$15

Promised Ooredoo investment for the duration of its 15-year licence

Ooredoo investment for the duration of its 15-year licence “We, as banks, will have more access

“We, as banks, will have more access to rural areas where no [banking] infrastruc- ture exists.” During military rule, telecommunica- tions were tightly controlled by the gov- ernment, who held a monopoly over the sector, while mass communication was looked at as a tool for radicals to spread rhetoric that could lead to change. Despite Thursday’s milestone, analysts have said that several challenges stand in the way of Telenor and Ooredoo’s reaching their launch targets, including the acquisi- tion of land to build the necessary towers as well as the formation of an independent regulator. “Operators working in areas close to Myanmar’s borders will need to compete with subscribers currently making use of Thai and Chinese SIM cards and networks that are likely to be superior to their own for the foreseeable future.” Tom Mowat, co-author of Myanmar Telecoms Market:

Overview and Emerging Opportunities. has said in the past.

 
   
 

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Myanmar is inviting qualified candidates to apply for the following positions:

Sr.

Title and level

Duty Station

Position

Deadline

1.

Public Health Analyst (ATM/MNCH), (LICA-6) Yangon National 06 Feb 14

2.

Communication Officer (NOC) Yangon National 13 Feb 14

3.

Project Management Advisor(PMA) (IICA2)

Nay Pyi Taw Multiple Duty Stations

International

13 Feb 14 14 Feb 14 14 Feb 14

4.

Field Finance Assistant (LICA-3)

National

5.

Equity and Social Inclusion Analyst (LICA-5) Yangon

National

The benefit package for the above positions includes an attractive remuneration, 30 days annual leave and 10 holidays per year, medical insurance (for national positions), learning and development opportunities and a chal- lenging work environment with 250 national and international colleagues.

All applications must be made through the UNOPS E-recruitment System. Please go to https://gprs.unops.org and click on the post that you are interested in applying for. If you do not have access to the internet, please contact UNOPS directly on the numbers below.

For any quires please do not hesitate to contact UNOPS at 95 1 657 281-7 Ext: 147

 

www.mmtimes.com

Business 29

mumBai

India raises interest rate to curb inflation

High consumer prices takes front stage as economists worry that high inflation may pose a substantial risk

helsinKi

Nokia Siemens verification laboratory of Liquid Core in Espoo, Finland. Photo: AFP
Nokia Siemens verification laboratory of
Liquid Core in Espoo, Finland. Photo: AFP

Nokia reports drop in mobile sales ahead of Microsoft handover

FALLEN Finnish telecom star Nokia unveiled last week a steep drop in sales of the handset business that it is to soon hand over to Microsoft. The fourth-quarter results pro- vided what was likely a last glimpse of the health of its mobile business before finalising the deal with the US technology giant. Nokia’s devices and services unit – the operations it has agreed to sell to Microsoft – recorded net sales of 2.6 bil- lion euros (US$3.6 billion) in the fourth quarter of last year, down 29 percent from the same quarter the year before. The devices and services busi- ness also saw an operating profit of 97 million euros in the fourth quarter of 2012 transformed to an operating loss of 198 million euros in the fourth quarter of 2013. Sales of smart devices, primarily the Windows-based Lumia devices, took a hit in the fiercely competitive market for smartphones. “Our smart devices net sales were affected by competitive industry dynamics including the strong mo- mentum of competing smartphone platforms,” Nokia said in a statement.

Analysts said the quarterly figures were likely to be scrutinised closely for what they had to say about Mi- crosoft’s chances of making it in the handset business. “Microsoft bought the handset division, so of course they are in- terested in what shape they will get it,” said Sami Sarkamies, an analyst with Nordea. “But the decision (to take over the handset business) has been made. Even if the fourth quarter has gone badly, there’s no stepping back.” For the full year 2013, Nokia’s de- vices and services unit reported sales of $14.6 billion, also a drop of 29pc year-on-year. Furthermore, Nokia expects the devices and services business to “gen- erate a negative operating margin” in the first quarter of 2014, the Finnish company said in the statement. The struggling Finnish company’s plan to sell the handset business to Microsoft for $7.3 billion was an- nounced in early September. The sale of the assets, which in- clude the Lumia smartphone trade- mark and technology, must take

place in early 2014. Once the world leader in mobile phones, Nokia has experienced a spectacular fall in sales since the ar- rival of Apple’s touchscreen iPhone in 2007. “What [Microsoft] will want to see is what demand and market share Nokia currently has in the world and how popular the devices are against other rivals,” said Ishaq Sid- diqi, an analyst at London-based ETX Capital. “I think it’s more of a symbolic gauge of what Nokia still means in the smartphone world and what Mi- crosoft can take from there, and then take it apart and make it better.” Nokia’s interim chief executive, Risto Siilasmaa, described the end of 2013 as a “watershed moment in Nokia’s history.” “I am pleased with the progress we have made thus far in our strat- egy evaluation and excited by the op- portunities ahead,” Mr Siilasmaa said in a statement, which added that the new slimmed-down company was “more focused, more innovative and more disciplined.” – AFP

INDIA’S central bank last week an- nounced a surprise quarter-point rise in its key interest rate, signal- ling that taming inflation is the pri- ority rather than spurring growth months before an election. After a meeting in the financial hub Mumbai, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) lifted the benchmark repo rate, at which it lends to com- mercial banks, to 8 percent. The cash reserve ratio, the amount banks must keep in hand to with- stand financial shocks, was left un- changed at 4pc. The currency rose on the news, firming by about half a rupee to 62.66 rupees to the dollar from a two-month low on January 27. The unit has come under re- newed pressure amid investor fears about the impact of a rollback in the US Federal Reserve’s easy mon- ey policy on India and other emerg- ing markets. “The decision was a close one this time around,” RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, who has steered a hawkish course since he took over last year, told reporters. “But we chose to act,” he said, adding, “Some aspects of inflation continued to be sticky despite a fall in vegetable prices that suggested to us some more medicine was required.” The rate hike was unexpected, with most economists forecasting borrowing costs would remain on hold, especially after a fall in the widely watched Wholesale Price Index last month to 6.16pc year- on-year in December from 7.52pc in November. Last week’s announcement dis- appointed business leaders, who have been clamouring for a rate cut to spur an economy which has been

8%

benchmark repo rate as set by the reserve bank of India (rbI) last week

rate as set by the reserve bank of India (rbI) last week growing at a decade

growing at a decade low. Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry, said he was “sur- prised” by the decision. “This is an opportune time to ac- cord a precedence to growth over inflation,” he said. But Mr Rajan said there were still upward pressures on infla- tion from factors such as rising services prices, which needed ad- dressing “resolutely” even while “recognising the economy is weak and substantial fiscal tightening is likely” in the January-March quarter. Madan Sabnavis, chief econo- mist, Care Ratings, said, “Usually the RBI talks about growth and inflation. But this time it was just inflation and inflation. “The signal is, corporates should not expect growth to be driven by interest rate adjustments.” The RBI raised rates in both Sep- tember and October to fight infla- tion, but then surprised markets by holding them steady in December even after inflation accelerated to a 14-month peak. According to a macroeconomic report on January 28, the central bank expects headline consumer price index inflation to remain above 9pc for the rest of this finan- cial year to the end of March. “Today’s decision suggests the RBI is not going to be overly fo- cused on the growth angle unless of course [growth] collapses,” said Ashutosh Datar, economist at India Infoline brokerage. India must hold by May a gen- eral election in which the scandal- tainted Congress-led government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to fare poorly. Mr Singh, a renowned econo- mist, is desperate to see signs of an upturn in the economy, which some analysts forecast will grow below 5pc in the year to March – a far cry from near-double digit levels just a few years ago. The RBI said it expects growth of 5-6pc in the financial year 2014- 15. Its next policy review will be on April 1.

– AFP

The RBI said it expects growth of 5-6pc in the financial year 2014- 15. Its next

30

THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014

Property

30 THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014 Property Yangon gets new exhibition space myat
30 THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014 Property Yangon gets new exhibition space myat
Yangon gets new exhibition space myat nyein aye said Forever Group director U My- myatnyeinaye11092@gmail.com
Yangon gets new
exhibition space
myat nyein aye
said Forever Group director U My-
myatnyeinaye11092@gmail.com
int
Zaw.
The company will use the space
YANGON has a new exhibition and
event space after locally based For-
ever Group last week opened the
US$6 million Myanmar Event Park
adjacent to Yangon Regional Govern-
ment offices in Ahlone township.
The 4-acre (16,194-square-metre)
venue can accommodate 15,000 del-
egates for a concert, or 30,000 visi-
tors as well as up to 300 booths for
an exhibition.
“As a broadcasting and media
company, we needed a space for
shooting and events, so we built
one,” said company spokesperson U
Myo Myat Thu.
The 6000-sq-m event hall, built
by local engineers, is already open.
“We started building the hall
last June and finished at the end
of December. We are using it for a
book exhibition on January 25-26,”
remaining for the use of the public
events.
Yangon currently has three other
major event venues: the Myanmar
Convention Centre (MCC), Tatmadaw
Hall and Minder Ground, though the
Yangon City Development Commit-
tee
(YCDC) has recently announced
plans to upgrade Mayangone town-
ship’s MCC into an international
standard exhibition hall, said U Nay
Win, deputy director of the building
department of YCDC.
“We have a rare and great op-
portunity to develop exhibition
halls in Yangon and that is why we
have a plan to build more … while
upgrading the MCC into a large
hall,” he said, adding they will ten-
der the property this year offering
a
50-year build-operate-transfer
agreement.
in Brief
Washington
us home prices edged lower in november: case-shiller
Home prices in the united States fell slightly in November, the S&P/Case-Shiller
home price index showed last week, offering some new evidence that the hot
housing market is slowing down.
the Case-Shiller index for 20 leading cities fell for the first time since Novem-
ber 2012, losing 0.1 percent in the month.
Nine of the 20 cities lost ground, nine saw prices rise and there was no change
in two cities.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, prices in November gained 0.9pc. year-on-year
gains remained strong, rising 13.7pc.
but with mortgage interest rates rising, analysts said the strong market of the
past two years and the double-digit annual price gains could soon be over.
“Home prices continue to rise despite last May’s jump in mortgage interest
rates,” said david blitzer of S&P dow Jones Indices.
even so, he said, “While housing will make further contributions to the
economy in 2014, the pace of price gains is likely to slow during the year.”
Las Vegas, one of the worst-hit cities in the housing crisis, continued to bounce
back with a 0.6pc gain in the month, and 27.3pc in the year.
also strong were Miami and San Francisco, where housing price gains driven
by booming tech industry salaries have become a political issue.
but other hot markets of the past two years, Washington, New york, Chicago,
Portland and denver, all showed a monthly fall.
– aFP
HOUSE OF THE WEEK
a place of my own
Proximity to transportation and good
shopping (though far from downtown),
and high-quality design justify this newly
built apartment’s fairly pricey rental. Its
1530 square feet contain three bedrooms
(one double, two single). Situated on the
third floor of the newly built Prime rose
Condo at 8 Mile Junction, the apartment
comes fully furnished, with white walls
and Korean parquet flooring. Five air
conditioners and satellite connections
are available, and 24-hour security is pro-
vided. – ei the the Naing
Location
: Prime rose Condo,
8 mile, Mayangone tsp
Price
: K4.5 million (rent)
Contact
: Moe Myint thaw tar
real estate and
General Service
Phone
: 01 9669061

buSINeSS edItOr: Philip Heijmans | pheijmans13@gmail.com

buSINeSS edItOr: Philip Heijmans | pheijmans13@ gmail.com A woman walks through a partially closed Bogyoke Market

A woman walks through a partially closed Bogyoke Market past security cameras. Shopkeepers and management are embroiled in

Bogyoke Market co

After rejecting an eviction notice, the plight of shopkeepers at Yangon’s iconic jew

notice, the plight of shopkeepers at Yangon’s iconic jew su Phyo win Bridget di certo THE
notice, the plight of shopkeepers at Yangon’s iconic jew su Phyo win Bridget di certo THE

su Phyo win

Bridget di certo

THE site manager for Super World hall in Yangon’s Bogyoke Market has launched a civil lawsuit for K600 mil- lion in damages against tenants in the popular jewellery market, officials said last week. U Chit Ko Ko, lawyer for U Mg Mg Lwin and Daw Shu Kyi, whose com- pany The Private Super World Co- operative manages the Super World hall, said his clients are demanding that 35 shopkeepers pay the equiva- lent of US$608,500 in compensation following the “loss of dignity” they claim to have suffered in a bruising public confrontation with the ven- dors, who are defying a threatened eviction ahead of renovations “We demanded an apology from the shopkeepers,” said U Chit Ko Ko, referring to a notice published by the informal union of jewel ven- dors in the Mirror on December 21

declaring they intended to ignore the December 1 eviction notice. The notice requested all shop owners vacate their stands by Decem- ber 31 so renovations could begin on the popular gold, silver and jewel- smith hall. Decrying what they called a manoeuvre to evict them, the retail- ers publicly cast doubt on the right of the hall “owner” that had posted the demand. The Private Super World Coop- erative extended the eviction date to January 31 and issued a counter notice on January 8, demanding an apology, which was not forthcoming. “We are suing them in Yangon Region High Court,” lawyer U Chit Ko Ko told The Myanmar Times on January 29. The case is scheduled to be heard on February 18, when the shopkeepers will be summoned to ap- pear before a judge, he said.

At the heart of the alleged defa- mation is the shopkeepers’ stance that the Super World hall, as part of Bogyoke Market, is state-owned prop- erty and an eviction can only come from the government, not a private management company. Amyotha Hluttaw representative from No 3 Yangon Region constitu- ency, U Phone Myint Aung, raised the matter in parliament earlier in Janu- ary, asking how and why the Ministry

of Cooperative Property had sold state property to a private company without

a transparent procedure to execute the

sale and called on parliament to inves- tigate the matter. “I just want to know if they had

the right to sell it,” U Phone Myint said on January 22, saying that the re- sponsible minister had not provided

a satisfactory explanation. “If someone wants to sell state

‘We will give the rent to the real owner as decided by the hluttaw.’

Bogyoke market shopkeeper

wants to sell state ‘We will give the rent to the real owner as decided by

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“If someone wants to sell state property, that person must be the state ranking official. These facts cannot change.”

— U Phone Myint , Amyotha Hluttaw representative

US seeks execution for Boston bomber

world 35

31

 

Yuzana Plaza shops going out of business

noe noe aung noenoeag@gmail.com

the competition from new shopping centres. “Apart from the ground floor, all the other shops are open on Mondays, but most customers think the whole plaza is closed. And Yuzana Plaza is open only from 9am to 5pm. It’s not easy to compete with the malls that are open from 9am to 9pm,” said Ko Thiha. But he is not going to move, he added. “My regular customers know the shop well. Since I’ve been here since 1998, it’s difficult to move and start again somewhere else.” Once one of the country’s busiest markets, Yuzana Plaza started losing customers when the glittering new malls started opening a couple of years ago, said U Kyaw Aung, owner of Thin Yadanar jewellery shop. “Demand fell by 35-40 percent from 2010 to 2013. Almost every shop is struggling. Many old shops moved out. Now if Yuzana company increas- es the rent, we can barely cover our costs,” he said. “I’ve heard rents will rise by 20 to 40 percent depending on location and floor area,” he added. The Monday closing issue has taken its toll, said U Kyaw Aung. “The company chairman sided with the ground-floor owners and said that he

would solve it after six months. But it’s almost a year now,” he said.

RETAIL shop owners at Yangon’s Yu- zana Plaza said last week that they have filed a letter with parliament complaining that they would likely lose their business if the plaza enforc- es a substantial increase in rent slated for next month. In recent years, several stalls have already been forced out of the market as growing competition in the area, poor building management and ris- ing costs have driven away customers, causing profits to sink, shopkeepers said. “The situation is getting harder and harder,” Ko Thiha, owner of the Idea Club bag shop, told The Myanmar Times on January 28. “While we are struggling with falling market share, compared to high-end malls like Taw Win Centre and Junction Square, the plaza management committee has an- nounced a rent increase.” The five-storey plaza’s ground floor is dominated by wholesale outlets, which are owned by their operators. The shops on the upper floors of the busy Mingalar Taung Nyunt complex are owned by the company and rented out to the shopkeepers. Shop owners on the first floor received notice of the increase on January 24, said Ko Thiha, and the remaining shops expect to receive notice soon. The monthly rent for his 750-square-foot shop will rise 17.3 percent from K1.15 million to K1.35 million. “With maintenance and electric- ity bills, we’ll have to pay K1.5 million even before wages,” said Ko Thiha. Store owners blame a number of factors for falling demand, includ- ing a controversial decision to close the ground-floor shops every Mon- day. They also cite lack of customer service, poor maintenance and in- adequate opening hours, as well as

U

Soe Myint Thein, owner of Lad

N’ Lass fashion shop on the second floor of the building, said shopkeep- ers had written a letter of complaint to the chair of Yuzana company, U Htay Myint, a member of Pyithu Hluttaw, on January 24. “We asked to meet with the chair- man or management committee, but they refused. The management called the representatives of owners to meet one by one, which lacks transparency,” he said.

A

Yuzana Plaza management of-

ficial declined to speak to The Myan-

mar Times, or to disclose his name.

 

to

U Mg Mg Lwin and Daw Shu Kyi,”

Super World hall have not paid any

Shopkeepers at Yangon’s Yuzana Plaza wait for shoppers last week. Photo: Zarni Phyo

Shopkeepers at Yangon’s Yuzana Plaza wait for shoppers last week. Photo: Zarni Phyo

property, that person must be the state ranking official. These facts can- not change,” he said. Deputy Minister of Cooperative Property U Than Tun said the deal had been done to ensure repayment of a government loan taken by the govern- ment association charged with manag- ing the iconic downtown marketplace. “They sold Super World hall 1 for K35 million and hall 2 for K15 million

U

Than Tun said.

rental charges to the management company since the end of last year. “We will give the rent to the real owner as decided by the hluttaw,” the shopkeeper said. On January 21, the shopkeepers published a notice saying they would not apologise for any of their actions, which they say did not damage Daw Shu Kyi’s integrity.

Speaking to The Myanmar Times on condition of anonymity for fear of further reprisals in court, agi- tated shop owners refused to cooper- ate with the defamation trial. “As our case is being discussed at hluttaw, we just need to wait for its decision,” one shopkeeper said. The 35 remaining jewellers in

a dispute over who the real owners of Yangon’s top market are as tenants refuse to pay rent. Photo: Boothee

nflict to go to court

ellery market has hit the halls of Parliament – and now the chambers of court

Photo: Boothee nflict to go to court ellery market has hit the halls of Parliament –
TRADE MARK CAUTION NOTICE is hereby given that CANON SINGAPORE PTE. LTD. a company organized

TRADE MARK CAUTION

NOTICE is hereby given that CANON SINGAPORE PTE. LTD. a company organized under the laws of Singapore and having its principal office at 1 HARBOURFRONT AVENUE #04-01 Keppel Bay Tower Singapore 098632 is the owner and sole proprietor of the following trademark:

IMAGE SQUARE

(Reg: No. IV/8892/2013)

in respect of: “Class 35 Advertising; business consultancy; office function ; business administration; business management; computerized filed management; database management; office machines and equipment rental; data and image processing; rental of photocopier; photocopying services; document and image copying, duplicating and scanning services; electronic publication of publicity texts; event management services (organization of exhibitions or trade fairs for commercial or advertising purposes); organization of exhibitions for commercial or advertising purposes; providing information, including online, about advertising, business management and administration and office functions; retail services featuring consumer and business electronic products.”

Any fraudulent imitation or unauthorized use of the said trademark or other infringements whatsoever will be dealt with according to law.

U Kyi Win Associates for CANON SINGAPORE PTE LTD P.O. Box No. 26, Yangon. Phone: 372416

Dated: 3 rd February, 2014

TRADE MARK CAUTION

NOTICE is hereby given that GREE ELECTRIC APPLIANCES, INC. OF ZHUHAI. a company organized under the laws of P.R. China and having its principal office at Jinji West Road, Qianshan, Zhuhai, Guangdong, China is the owner and sole proprietor of the following trademark:-

the owner and sole proprietor of the following trademark:- (Reg: No. IV/4186/2010) in respect of :-

(Reg: No. IV/4186/2010)

in respect of :- “air conditioning installations; ventilation [air-

conditioning] installations and apparatus; air reheaters; radiators, electric; heat accumulators; laundry dryers electric; fans [air- conditioning]; air dehumidifiers; air purifying apparatus and machines; cooking apparatus and installations ; extractor hoods for kitchen use; coal gas water heaters; electric water heaters; electromagnetic oven; cooking utensils, electric; electric drinking water dispensers; electric kettles; air humidifiers; pressure cookers [autoclaves], electric; air conditioners for vehicles; fans (parts of air-conditioning installations); filters for air conditioning; heater for vehicles; air dryers; air sterilizers; electric hair dryers; evaporators, sterilizers; sterilizing cupboard; heat exchangers [not parts of machines]; exhaust fans; solar energy water heaters; electric iron pans; heaters for baths; gas burners; air refreshers; refrigerators; microwave ovens [cooking apparatus]; water purification installations; dish washers; egg boilers; electric appliances for making yogurt; steam facial apparatus [saunas]; bread toasters; electric coffee machines; electric foot washers bakers’ ovens; electric slow-cookers.” Class: 11

Any fraudulent imitation or unauthorized use of the said trademark or other infringements whatsoever will be dealt with according to law.

U Kyi Win Associates

for GREE ELECTRIC APPLIANCES, INC. OF ZHUHAI.

P.O. Box No. 26, Yangon. Phone: 372416

Dated: 3 rd February, 2014

32 Property

THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014

mariel

2 Property THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014 mariel The Mariel “megaport” in Artemisa

The Mariel “megaport” in Artemisa Province, Cuba, is inaugurated last week. Photo: AFP

Cuba opens ‘megaport’ with high hopes for increased trade

CUBA officially opened its new Ma- riel “megaport” last week, hoping the project will put it on the map as a re- gional shipping hub despite scant for- eign investment and the US economic embargo. Leading the ceremony were Cuban President Raul Castro and his Bra- zilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff, whose country provided technical and financial help for the port’s con- struction in the joint project. Only the first 2300 feet (700 metres) of what is slated to be a 2400-meter wharf were inaugurated, with hopes the project – when com- pleted – will welcome 1 million con- tainers per year. “From this moment, Mariel is part of the Cuban and Latin American port system,” Mr Castro said. “It’s the first phase of the project, we must continue working.” After cutting an inaugural rib- bon with Mr Castro, Ms Rousseff said, “Brazil is proud to be associ- ated with Cuba on this project, the first large terminal port for contain- ers in the Caribbean.” But Mariel, located 28 miles (45 kilometers) west of Havana, still faces major hurdles – including lack of in- vestment and the American economic embargo placed on the communist is- land for the last half-century. The first shipment, unloaded smoothly, was frozen chicken from

the United States. Despite the em- bargo, American farmers can sell food to Cuba as long as Havana pays in cash. Cuba is hoping to establish itself

as a regional hub for shipments from

Asia after an expansion of the Pana- ma Canal is completed in 2015, allow-

ing for the passing of larger ships car- rying up to 12,000 containers. The largest infrastructure pro- ject ever launched by Cuba, Mariel will cover some 180 square miles (465 square kilometres) and include

a free-trade zone where foreign-

owned factories can produce goods for other markets. Authorities are hoping the goods redistributed across the Atlantic

from Cuba will allow the island na- tion to reassume the status of com- mercial nerve center it once held during the Spanish empire’s grasp

on Latin America. Cuban authorities have already in-

dicated that they will target high-tech businesses, particularly in agro-busi- ness, biotechnology and information technology. According to Ana Igarza, director

of Mariel’s Special Development Zone

(ZED), “investment proposals” have already been put forth by businesses in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and the Dominican Republic. Ms Rousseff said last week that Brazil wants to be a “first-order

economic ally to Cuba.” Her govern- ment already financed US$802 mil- lion of the first phase of the project and $290 million toward its free- trade commercial zone.

And a logistical base is already in place for foreign businesses related to oil. A highway and railway link- ing the port to Havana are under construction. But all these projects require capi- tal that is still largely lacking, par- ticularly in light of the US embargo. “We need investments of around

$3 billion per year,” Cuban econo- mist Juan Triana, of the University of Havana, recently estimated. The opening of the megaport comes as the communist country prepares to push through a new law on foreign investment in March meant to attract much-needed capi- tal for the country’s sagging Soviet- style economic system. Built by the Brazilian company Odebrecht with the help of a $600 million credit from the state, the port will be managed by PSA In- ternational of Singapore, which already runs several of the world’s

largest ports. Last week’s ceremony was attend- ed by heads of state who participated in the inauguration on the sidelines of the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). – AFP

sofia

Bulgaria annuls ban on sale of land to foreigners

BULGARIA’S top court last week

quashed a controversial ban on land sales to foreigners approved by parlia- ment last year, amid concerns the move violated Bulgaria’s EU commitments. “Parliament breached basic con- stitutional principles that Bul-

governed

garia has a rule of law

by the constitution and the law of the European Union,” the constitu- tional court ruled.

Foreigners who were not per- manent residents were initially banned from acquiring land in the EU’s poorest member for seven years, under a moratorium negoti-

ated by Bulgaria before it joined the EU in 2007. But its parliament voted last Oc- tober to extend the deal until 2020,

in a move proposed by the national-

ist Ataka party and backed by left-

and right-wing lawmakers. The decision caused an uproar in the local media with legal experts saying it went against the constitu- tion and Bulgaria’s EU accession treaty commitments. Last week’s ruling was widely ex- pected after a recent statement by Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski

that the bill was “a bad decision” and “will be reviewed”. – AFP

www.mmtimes.com

Science & Technology 33

in Briefs

robot lovers, rejoice

the world is one step closer to “robocat”. Many mammals use special hairs on their faces to feel for unseen objects. researchers realized artificial whiskers could help robots sense the world around them, but until now, attempts at whiskerlike sensors have been bulky and inefficient. using cutting-edge materials, a team of researchers has now developed electronic whisk- ers with a sensitivity and size mim- icking their natural counterparts. the team coated flexible strands of silicon rubber with a mix of long chains of carbon atoms, called carbon nanotubes, and tiny bunches

of silver molecules, called silver na- noparticles. the carbon nanotubes added flexibility and durability while the silver nanoparticles added a way to measure small changes in strain on the whiskers. as each whisker flexes, the electrical resistance inside changes. by running a current through the whisker, the research- ers measured the change in resist- ance and, therefore, the amount of flex. this design proved 10 times more sensitive than previous ef- forts, with each whisker capable of detecting the pressure equivalent of

a dollar bill resting on a table, the researchers report online this week in the Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences.

genetics gets spicey

the hot pepper is one of the most widely grown spice crops globally, playing an important role in many medicines, makeups and meals worldwide. although the plant’s so-called capsaicin chemical is well

known for spicing things up, until now the genetic spark responsible for the pepper’s pungency was unknown.

a team of scientists recently com-

pleted the first high-quality reference

genome for the hot pepper. Compar- ing the pepper’s genome with that of its tame cousin, the tomato, the scientists discovered the gene respon- sible for fiery capsaicin production appeared in both plants. While the tomato carried four nonfunctioning copies of the gene, the hot pepper carried seven nonfunctioning copies and one functioning copy, the team reported online Sunday in Nature

Genetics. the researchers believe the pepper’s capsaicin-creating gene ap- peared after five mutations occurred during dNa replication, with the final mutation creating a functional copy. the mouth-burning chemicals likely protected the mutant pepper’s seeds from grazing land animals millions of years ago, helping the mutant gene spread.

the case of the astro-carbon

Scientists have long been mysti- fied by how large, complex organic molecules like hydrocarbons form so abundantly in the near-vacuum of space, especially when their atomic building blocks are sparse and might interact only rarely. New lab studies suggest that a certain type of organic molecule, instead of being assem- bled from smaller bits, may instead be produced when ultraviolet light blasts apart the carbon-rich veneer on some types of stardust. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — or PaHs, which often form when carbon- containing materials like wood, coal, and fossil fuels burn incompletely — come in many shapes and sizes, but they all contain three or more rings of carbon atoms; hence the term “polycyclic”. but graphite, the

form of carbon found in pencil lead but also found coating the surface of

many particles of interstellar dust, is also made of one-atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms arranged into hexagonal rings. researchers placed tiny particles of silicon carbide covered with graphite in a vacuum chamber that duplicated the deep- space conditions surrounding many stars (temperatures between 900 and 1500 kelvins and pressures less than one-billionth that found at earth’s surface). then, they bombarded the faux stardust with intense ultraviolet

light and bathed it in single hydrogen atoms, which are found in profusion in the environment near stars. under certain combinations of conditions, large fragments of carbon coating were eroded away, the researchers reported tuesday in Nature Com- munications. If the same processes occur in space, it could help explain observations suggesting the pres- ence of PaHs and other organic molecules around distant stars.

– Washington Post

Paris

US must ‘renounce’ spy tactics: climate activists

THE UNITED States and other gov- ernments accused of spying on ne- gotiators at crucial UN climate talks in 2009 should “publicly renounce” such tactics, environmental groups involved in the process said Friday. Climate Action Network (CAN), a grouping of more than 850 envi- ronmental groups, reacted to media reports citing a leaked document from rogue US National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden claiming to show the NSA and allies had monitored the communications of other governments ahead of and during the 2009 round of talks in Copenhagen. “CAN condemns such actions,” said the grouping, an active par- ticipant in the annual talks toward sealing a new, global pact to curb Earth-damaging climate change. “The work currently underway already suffers from a dearth of trust between nations. If we are to achieve this monumental deal for

the planet, all countries must work on repairing these burnt bridges.” The Snowden document, carried by online news site the Huffington Post, states: “Analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party part- ners, will continue to provide poli- cymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries’ preparations and goals for the con- ference. “While the outcome of the Co- penhagen Climate Change Confer- ence remains uncertain, signals in- telligence will undoubtedly play a significant role in keeping our nego- tiators as well informed as possible throughout the two-week event.” According to the Huffington Post, these “Second Party partners” were the intelligence agencies of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The document was dated Decem- ber 7, 2009 – the first day of two weeks of fraught negotiations. “The countries who have been

accused of spying, including the US, UK, Canada and Australia, are among those who have done the most to cause the climate crisis, and can also be leaders in deliver- ing solutions,” the CAN said in a statement. “But we need a radical shift in ambition and trust to tackle the planetary emergency.” The world’s nations have com- mitted to signing a global pact by next year on curbing Earth-warm- ing greenhouse gas emissions, to take effect by 2020. The previous attempt to con- clude such a worldwide climate deal was the Copenhagen meeting, which ended in a near-fiasco with- out a formal agreement. The United States, the world’s second-biggest carbon emitter after China, is opposed to any kind of a pact that imposes targets on indi- vidual nations for curbing green- house gas pollution. – AFP

nations for curbing green- house gas pollution. – AFP in Pictures TWO traffic robot cops were

in Pictures

TWO traffic robot cops were recently installed in downtown Kinshasa to help tackle the hectic traffic usually experienced in Congolese city. The prototypes are equipped with four cameras that allow them to record traffic flow, the information is then transmitted to a center where traffic infractions can be analyzed. Photo: AFP

traffic flow, the information is then transmitted to a center where traffic infractions can be analyzed.
traffic flow, the information is then transmitted to a center where traffic infractions can be analyzed.

34

THE MYANMAR TIMES February 3 - 9, 2014

World

Disputed claims in the South China Sea

China is considering declaring a new Air Defence Identification Zone over the South China Sea,
China is considering declaring a new Air Defence Identification Zone
over the South China Sea, says a Japanese report on Friday
TAIWAN
Chinese claim
CHINA
(Claims
Spratly
Islands)
Philippines
Vietnamese claim
EEZ*
claim
Paracel
islands
Scarborough
Shoal
Philippines
Kalayaan**
claim
VIETNAM
Malaysian
PHILIPPINES
claim
Spratly
Bruneian
Palawan
Islands
claim
BRUNEI
MALAYSIA
*Exclusive economic zone
**Kalayaan islands,
Palawan province
Sources: D.Rosenberg/MiddleburyCollege/HarvardAsiaQuarterly/Phil gov’t

Beijing eyeing South China Sea, Japan reports

CHINA is considering declaring a new Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea, according to a new Japanese report, a move likely to fan tensions in an area riven by territo- rial disputes. The report on January 31 came months after Beijing caused conster- nation with the sudden declaration of an ADIZ above the East China Sea, covering islands at the centre of a sovereignty row with Tokyo. Countries in the region are grow- ing increasingly concerned about what they see as China’s aggressive territorial claims. Working level officials in the Chi- nese airforce have drafted proposals for the new zone, which could set the Para- cel islands at its core and spread over much of the sea, reported the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, citing un- named sources, including from the Chi- nese government. The draft was submitted to senior Chinese military officials by May last year, the respected daily publication said. Beijing claims the South China Sea almost in its entirety, even areas far from its shoreline. The countries surrounding the sea have competing and overlapping claims to the area and are in dispute

with Beijing, including over the owner- ship of islands. Many countries, including the US and Japan, use ADIZs as a form of early warning, allowing them to track air- craft approaching their airspace. Planes entering the area are frequently asked to identify themselves and to maintain radio contact with local authorities. Any aircraft caus- ing concern can trigger the launch of fighter jets, which are scrambled to intercept it. The draft says the zone would at a minimum cover the Paracels, and could go as wide as the majority of the South China Sea, the Asahi said. Beijing is still deliberating the extent of the zone and considering the timing of an announcement, the paper said. Japan, South Korea and others reacted with anger in November when Beijing unilaterally declared an ADIZ in the East China Sea. China demanded all aircraft provide flight plans when traversing the area, give their nationality and maintain two-way radio communication, or face “emergency defensive measures”. The US said it would not comply, and, in what was seen as a challenge to Beijing, promptly flew military planes through it. – AFP

Beijing, promptly flew military planes through it. – AFP World editor: Fiona MacGregor   IN PICTUREs

World editor: Fiona MacGregor

 

IN PICTUREs

An Israeli member of the “Taiji Dolphin Action Group”, with red body paint to evoke blood curls up on a sheet depicting the Japanese flag during a protest outside the Japanese Embassy in Tel Aviv on January 30 against the killing of dolphins. Photo:

AFP

BaNgkok

Thailand risks ‘civil war’, warns analyst

THE deep political split between the Thai government’s northern strongholds and opposition heartlands could “lead to a violent but low-intensity civil war”, Paul Chambers, director of research at the Institute of South East Asian Affairs at Chiang Mai University in northern Thailand, has warned. At least 10 people have died and dozens more have been wounded in clashes, grenade attacks and drive-by shootings in political violence and anti- government protests which brought parts of Bangkok to a standstill in re- cent weeks. And analysts fear there is worse to come. Anti-government protesters have called for embattled Prime Minister

Yingluck Shinawatra to step down to make way for an unelected “people’s council” to oversee reforms. They say she serving as a proxy for her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006. The anti-government protesters, known as Yellow Shirts, accuse Mr Thaksin, whose “Red Shirt” support base comes mainly from the rural poor, of orchestrating an assault on Thai social order, which is headed by the nation’s revered king and supported by the Bangkok-based establishment. An election was due to take place on February 2 amid concerns of violence and intimidation. But there was little hope it would bring any resolution with results expected

to face legal hurdles which would render it invalid, according to Election Commission member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn. Mr Somchai said opponents of the election were expected to file lawsuits after it took place to have it invalidated. According to Duncan McCargo, professor of Southeast Asian politics at the University of Leeds, the troubles could still end in a military coup, “The protestors appear to have no clear political agenda other than a desire to (return) Thailand to an imagined pre-Thaksin era in which the ruling network and its supporters can still call the shots, and provincial voters can be marginalized,” he told CNN. “In the short term, they are trying to provoke a military coup of some kind.”

Afghanistan election campaign laun

AFGHANISTAN’s election campaign began on February 2 with 11 candi- dates vying to succeed President Ha- mid Karzai as the country enters an uncertain new era without the aid of NATO combat troops to fight the Taliban. A dispute between Kabul and Wash- ington over whether a small force of US soldiers stays behind beyond 2014 is likely to dominate the two-month cam- paign, which will culminate in Afghani- stan’s first-ever democratic transfer of power. Mr Karzai has ruled the country since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, sur- viving assassination attempts and the treacherous currents of Afghan politi-

cal life as billions of dollars of military and development aid poured into the country. He is barred from seeking a third term, leaving an open field to compete in the April 5 vote, which is likely to trig- ger a second-round run-off in late May between the two strongest candidates. Tipped to go through to the run-off stage is Abdullah Abdullah, the suave opposition leader who came second to Mr Karzai in the chaotic and fraud- riddled 2009 election. Among the other heavyweight can- didates are former finance minister Ashraf Ghani, Karzai loyalist Zalmai Rassoul and the president’s low-profile elder brother Qayum Karzai.

Afghan politics has been focused for months on the bilateral security agree- ment (BSA), which would allow about 10,000 US troops to be deployed in the country after NATO withdraws by De- cember. Mr Karzai was expected to sign the deal late last year, but he has stalled and said his successor might now complete negotiations -- plunging relations with the US, Afghanistan’s key donor, to a fresh low. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Mr Karzai’s foot-dragging risked leaving Washington no time to plan its post-combat mission. “You can’t just keep deferring and deferring because at some point

35

35 China’s new year sees world’s largest yearly migration WoRld 37 Asian countries leading new era

China’s new year sees world’s largest yearly migration

WoRld 37

Asian countries leading new era of moon exploration

WoRld 39

Asian countries leading new era of moon exploration WoRld 39 Kenya fights back against asia’s ivory

Kenya fights back against asia’s ivory criminals

WoRld 41