Friday, February 21, 2020

Week in Review: Myanmar

Mar 27. 2016
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By Myanmar Eleven

Labour rights violations at Korean firms
Almost 30 per cent of the factories surveyed failed to abide by the maximum 16 hours weekly overtime limit, said labour rights group, Action Labour Rights (ALR).
In researching its report called “Under Pressure”, it inspected labour conditions in a number of garment factories that are either wholly Korean owned or joint ventures with Korean companies.
Nearly two thirds of workers surveyed (62 per cent) reported being unable to refuse working excessive hours. This is unsurprising given that almost two-third of workers (63 per cent) said that their take home pay was not enough to live comfortably. 
Nearly one third of workers said they were provided payslips only in English or Korean, another direct breach of Myanmar law which requires payslip information to be provided in Burmese. 
Only 40 per cent of workers claimed that they have signed employment contracts; many of these did not have their own copy.
Insurance firms fail to move
No foreign insurance companies have applied for a licence to do business in Thilawa Special Economic Zone, according to Insurance Scrutiny Board.
The eligible must have had an office in Myanmar for at least three years before applying. 
Currently, 21 foreign firms have offices in the country. 
Foreign aid tops US$3.8 bn
During the Thein Sein era starting in 2011, Myanmar received more than US$3.8 billion (Bt134.1 billion) in foreign aid and assistance for 1,270 projects, said Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.
Aid came from 24 donor countries, five international monastery associations, 20 UN- affiliated organisations, 106 NGOs and five other organisations implemented development projects in Myanmar.
The central committee for receiving foreign assistance approved 43 projects, and the ministry is planning to sign future deals with six countries, 12 ministries and two organisations, according to the ministry’s statement.
Detained students seek NLD help
Detained student leaders expected NLD to raise a motion about the issues of detained students and political prisoners. 
Phyo Phyo Aung said she believed the issue would be raised in parliament since most parliamentarians were elected by people who want to see reforms.
“Aung San Suu Kyi is our democracy icon. She is also the leader we have expected. So we hope for change,” she told reporters.
To date, 69 students and supporters have been detained after a crackdown in Letpadan in March 2015. 
USDP MP praises Suu Kyi role
Ko Ko Naing, MP of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), welcomed Suu Kyi's decision to sit as the minister for foreign affairs and the President’s Office, titles that allow her to become a member of the National Defence and Security Council (NDSC), which manages international and domestic affairs.
“She can deal with the international community and she can also make domestic decisions as a member of the NDSC,” he said.
Parliament on Thursday approved the list of 18 ministers for 21 ministries, which included Suu Kyi. It was not announced who would handle which ministry. 
The MP said: “I am pleased with the selection of ministers. It is what they said about national reconciliation. In the list of ministers, members of the NLD and USDP and other people are included. The list is rather satisfactory.”
NLD spokesman Zaw Myint Maung said the party is considering reducing the number of chief ministers for regions and states, if the ministers can do their jobs well.
President’s chief bodyguard killed in car crash
Brig-General Win Myint, the chief bodyguard of outgoing president Thein Sein, died from injuries sustained in a car accident in Nay Pyi Taw.
Police said his car skidded and crashed into a post. He was found dead in the driver’s seat. 
The traffic police transferred the case to Maj Zaw Lwin Oo from No 11 Military Police. In a related case, Police Colonel Aung Tun Tun Lwin, head of special police forces for the president, passed away on May 19 of last year from gastritis.
Htin Kyaw promises corruption-free society
President-elect Htin Kyaw has promised a corruption-free society. In a speech to Parliament, he also said current government staff would not lose their jobs if they work in accordance with the laws, rules and regulations.
Htin Kyaw spoke during his proposal on ministries and the ministerial appointments in parliament today.
He said the new government would be composed of 21 ministries.
The government under Thein Sein has 36 ministries.
“I heard that some government employees are worried about losing jobs as the number of ministries is being reduced. In fact, only the number of ministers will be reduced, and some of the ministries are combined. We will ensure job security for the government staff,” he told the parliament.
He also said the state will enjoy less spending as a result of the reduction of ministers and ministries, cutting around 5 billion kyat (Bt146 million) over five years, which will improve Myanmar’s chances of shedding its status as a least-developing country.
More spending could be put into the country’s education, health and rural development sectors thanks to the expenditure cutbacks from the reduction of the ministers and ministries, he said.
The parliament approved the president-elect’s proposal for 18 ministers and 21 ministries on Thursday.

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