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international

Week in Review: Myanmar


Protection law mulled The Commerce Ministry mulled a law to protect local entrepreneurs from negative impacts of trade liberalisation.

Maung Aung, an advisor to the commerce minister, said the Asean Economic Community would lead to an influx of imports to Myanmar. This would hurt the local economy, as imports have already outstripped exports.
A public hearing on the planned law would be soon hosted. The security blanket law would be enforced for eight years.

Wage fiasco
Applied Systems Development (ASD) Corp was sued for an involuntary redundancy of a security guard who asked for the minimum daily wage of Ks3,600 (US$2.8).
Khin Zaw, earning Ks80,000 a month, was forced to resign on October 7. The Myanmar Trade Unions Federation filed the lawsuit on his behalf.
More than 3,000 workers from the Opal garment factory in Yangon staged 3-day protest over unfair overtime pay.
They were paid for only 95 hours, instead of 120 hours a month. The employer later agreed to pay the wage in full.

EU aquaculture training
Ninety nine people took part in the European Union’s first training courses of the Food Safety component of the EU Myanmar Trade Development Programme.
The training is to raise awareness for important points to boost production and trade.
The EU recently approved exports of aquaculture fish from Myanmar.


Moderating growth
The World Bank expected Myanmar's economic growth to moderate to 6.5 per cent in the 2015-16 fiscal year, from 8.5 per cent in the previous year, due to the severe impacts of the recent floods across the country. It foresees rebound in the next fiscal year, when FDI should pick up after the election.
Some economic indicators posed concerns. Inflation is expected to hit 11.3 per cent in this fiscal year due to supply pressure caused by floods and kyat depreciation.  The kyat has weakened by around 20 per cent in the past 12 months through August on the back of dollar rise, growing current account deficit and slowing FDI.

‘Lawful’ status to some groups
The Myanmar Peace Centre in Yangon announced eight ethnic armed groups would be recognised as lawful on October 12, three days before the signing of the ceasefire agreement with the government.
Officials from 67 countries with diplomatic relations with Myanmar and from more than 90 political parties will be invited to attend the signing ceremony.
Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) is not among them. Its troop last week clashed with the army. More than 100,000 Kachin residents are living in refugee camps facing difficult living conditions.
Some ethnic groups also protested in Yangon, demanding the release of their people arrested and detained under the Unlawful Association Act. Among them are Saw Maung Gyi, chairman of the student branch of the 88 Kayan Youth Generation, and eight other people now detained in Kayin State. Others are detained in Shan and Rakhine states.

130 murders in Yangon
Yangon Police Force’s data showed the city processed 132 murder cases, including the murders of police officers, in the first nine months of this year.
Over 10,000 minor cases were reported, including 3 robberies, 46 sexual assaults, 92 rapes, and 17 burglaries. 9,805 misdemeanors included theft.
In 2014, Yangon processed 321 major cases and 10,093 minor cases. However, sexual assault increased from 37 in 2014.
Different types of sexual assault include groping from bikes and in taxis.

Drug bust extended to Sittwe
The authorities raided fishing boats in Sittwe, Rakhine State, in bid to find more culprits involved in drugs seized in Yangon Region.
Around 26.7 million pills, worth an estimated Ks133 billion, were found Yangon in July. In connection with the case, 2.1 million tablets were seized later. Out of 12 suspects arrested in connection with the cases, one was recently arrested in Myawaddy near the Thai border.
The authorities say they will keep inspecting financial transactions and possessions in Sittwe.

Green ribbons
Several teachers attending the World Teacher’s Day celebration in Mandalay, wore green ribbons to protest the appointment of retired military officers to high-level positions within the Education Ministry.
The teachers viewed that such appointments was a provision by the military establishment to maintain control even in the event that an opposition party wins the election.
Thuta, vice president of the Myanmar Teachers Federation, said Myanmar’s education had not improved a bit in the past five years.

Phantom voters
The National League for Democracy instructed its candidates and regional campaign teams to monitor strictly the voting results, since millions of ineligible voters might still be included in the voter lists. The party's request for a discussion with Union Election Commission chief is not yet approved.
The NLD estimates there might be millions of ineligible voters included in the voter lists.
In his weekly address, President Thein Sein urged voters to check their names on the voter lists and report any irregularities. 

Published : October 13, 2015

By : The Nation