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  • Myanmar to have first Thai-operated powerplant in Dawei SEZ

    03/30/2016

    Myanmar’s Energy Ministry has signed a 10-billion-baht concession agreement with a Thai company to produce electricity within the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

    The Thai company, United Power Of Asia PCL (UPA), recently inked the 30-year agreement with the government of Myanmar to build a natural gas power plant, which has a capacity of 200 megawatts.

    It will be the first Thai power plant operating in the Dawei SEZ. Under the agreement, the Myanmar government will supply natural gas to the UPA power plant for free. The Thai company will also earn 1.18 baht for every unit of the electricity sold in the country.

  • Tenasserim Chief Minister Lei Lei Maw: ‘We Will Rebuild Our Country’

    03/30/2016

    Lei Lei Maw, a sitting lawmaker in the regional legislature for Tenasserim Division, was appointed chief minister of the division on Monday, becoming one of Burma’s first females to hold the position.

    Burma’s state and divisional parliaments this week announced the incoming regional heads, appointed by President-elect Htin Kyaw, and the list included two women—Lei Lei Maw and Karen State’s Nang Khin Htwe Myint. Despite pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s prominence in Burma, women have been largely excluded from top political posts in her incoming National League for Democracy (NLD) government.

    Lei Lei Maw, 51, is a medical doctor who joined the NLD in 2012 and ran in the November 2015 general election, representing Thayetchaung constituency. The ethnic Karen-Burman, Christian, and mother of four has run a private clinic for more than 20 years and has delivered free health care in remote villages.

    She will succeed the Union Solidarity and Development Party’s (USDP) Myat Ko, who sought re-election in 2015 but was defeated. The ceremonial transfer of power will occur on Wednesday night in Naypyidaw.

    The Irrawaddy spoke with Lei Lei Maw following her parliamentary appointment on Monday.

  • Thailand’s transparency deficit: Haste makes waste on mega-projects

    03/29/2016

    One of the country’s top bankers is stressing the need for faster action to transform Thailand into a hub for CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).

    Kevin Tan, CEO of HSBC Thailand, was speaking during an interview on Vietnam’s increasing attractiveness to foreign investors. Vietnam’s gross domestic product grew a whopping 797 per cent between 1995 and 2014, from US$20.74 billion to $186.2 billion. Thailand’s GDP growth was sluggish in comparison, rising from $169.28 billion to $404.8 billion over the same period.

    And with big names like Intel, Apple and Samsung now showing interest in Vietnam, it seems the times are against Thailand.

  • Dawei locals raise concerns over violation of human rights

    03/18/2016

    Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and local residents living near the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) have called for action from the Japanese, Myanmar and Thai governments to tackle human rights violations before allowing the project to resume. They issued a joint statement urging the governments to take action against, among others, corruption among governmental departments related to the project, forced relocation, and to solve the problems before resuming the ground construction of the project.

  • Vanishing Roots

    03/17/2016

    In Cambodia’s Northern Prey Lang forest, one of the last remaining evergreen forests in Southeast Asia, a community is organizing itself to preserve its roots, traditions, and protect the land to which it belongs.

  • Order flawed but regime doesn’t care

    03/15/2016

    In plain words, the NCPO’s order No.9/2559 can only quicken projects when it assumes the EIA and EHIA will be approved as a rubber stamp. All other attempts to justify it are illogical.

    But then again, there is a similar failed logic here as in past suggestions that people grow velvet beans instead of rice, shower less in the face of drought or refrain from making sparks to avoid wildfires.

    As the military regime lingers on, the daily dose of illogicality is increasing and becomes more flagrant. If a fast-track solution is ever needed, it’s to expedite the exit of one immodest man’s rule to the more sensible one-man, one-vote.

  • Civil society steps up Dawei SEZ campaign

    03/09/2016

    A civil society group has published a comprehensive report on mistakes made by the developers of a highly ambitious project in Dawei in the hope the new government will address their concerns before allowing the project to continue.

    The report urges the project’s Thai and Japanese investors to resolve problems affecting local communities before they continue building the special economic zone and deep-sea port in Tanintharyi Region.

    Published on March 7 it outlines a range of issues dating back to the zone’s inception in 2008. The recurrent theme is a lack of transparency, dialogue or compensation based on the developers’ lack of respect for local communities and its reluctance to engage.

  • NLD to scrutinise special economic zones

    03/08/2016

    As speculation mounts over whether the new government will back Myanmar’s divisive special economic zones, a National League for Democracy spokesperson says in theory such projects are good for the economy and will continue to receive support. However, the party will need to scrutinise details before deciding whether or not individual projects have a future.

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