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201334669

201334669

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Published by The Myanmar Times

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Published by: The Myanmar Times on Apr 06, 2013
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myanmar
times
     t     H     e
No. 669: March 11 - 17, 2013
 
Heartbeat of The Nation
www.mmtimes.com
   1   2   0   0   K  y  a   t  s
By Kyaw Hsu Mon
THE National League forDemocracy has suspendeda member apparentlysuspected of trying to unseatDaw Aung San Suu Kyi asparty leader.
 
The man, U Khin MaungShain, has strongly refutedthe allegation. He is one of four NLD members selectedto take part in the party’sgeneral assembly on March8-10 whose participation wasblocked by the organisingcommittee. A statement issued by thecommittee on March 5 saidthree representatives from Yangon Region, U KhinMaung Win from Lanmadawtownship, U Thant Zin fromShwe Pyi Thar townshipand U Khin Maung Shainfrom northern Yangon; andone female representativenamed as Daw Mi Mi Gyifrom Kawlin township inSagaing Region, would notbe permitted to serve as NLDassembly representatives.The committee said it had“solid evidence” that the fourhad engaged in actions tobreak the unity of the NLD.In a
BBC
interviewon March 5, organisingcommittee member U OhnKyine said the committeehad heard that somerepresentatives were actingindependently of the party,and said a full accountwould be provided to theassembly.Speaking to reporters onMarch 6, U Khin MaungShain said he was awareof a plan “to remove thechair of NLD if she waselected president in 2015”but only through reportshe had read in the news.He denied knowledge of theother three members beingsuspended, and said he hadbeen severely wronged bythe suspension.U Khin Maung Shain saidhe had joined the NLD in1998 in Insein township, andserved as election campaign
Four repsbarredfromassembly
By Bill O’Toole
 AFTER more than a year and a half of bloodyconflict, fighting between the Tatmadawand the Kachin Independence Army cameto a lull earlier this year as the two sidesannounced peace talks.The United Nations and otherhumanitarian groups have stepped in amidthe relative peace to deliver aid along roadsthat were previously caught in the crossfire,but now observers say the Tatmadaw hastaken advantage of the uncontested supplylines to reinforce its own positions.The military convoys that residents andaid workers have reported moving throughthe area raise questions about the sincerityof the peace talks and the possibility of further conflict.“[The army] does not care about helpingthe people or peace, they just want to takeover the area,” one Myitkyina residenttold
The Myanmar Times
.In a memo obtained by
The MyanmarTimes
, a member of the UN team directingthe relief mission in Kachin State reportedseeing “trucks with government soldierstaking advantage of the passage of the aidconvoy to take new positions” as aid supplieswere being transported late last month.“Needless to say, this is of serious concern,”the memo said.Since fighting between the KachinIndependence Army and the Tatmadawreignited in June 2011, an estimated100,000 civilians have been displaced bythe fighting, with an unknown numberkilled. The affected residents have beenliving mostly in local monasteries andInternally Displaced Persons (IDP) campsthat often lack the resources to care for somany people, leaving tens of thousandswithout basic amenities such as soap andblankets.The aid convoy, which was allowedaccess after the recent peace talks betweengovernment ministers and the KIA in Chinaon February 4, distributed aid in KachinState’s Hpakant township from February17-23, bringing food and other supplies toover 6000 IDPs in the countryside aroundHpakant. The mission marked the first timeinternational aid groups had been granteddirect access to the region since fightingresumed in 2011.During last month’s relief effort, severallocal residents and activists reported seeingtrucks full of soldiers and weaponry on roadsthat had been cleared for aid deliveries.Ms Khon Ja, a coordinator for the KachinWomen’s Peace Network who has workedand travelled extensively in the region,reported that she and her team membershad seen 20 trucks carrying soldiersand supplies heading towards militaryinstallations just south of Hpakant onFebruary 23.
By Kyaw Hsu Monwith AFP
 YANGON National Leaguefor Democracy chair Daw AungSan Suu Kyi issued a call forunity on March 9 at the party’sfirst congress amid concernsthat internal squabbles couldundermine its push for power atelections in 2015.Daw Aung San Suu Kyi saidmembers needed to revive thespirit of the party, referring towidespread reports of conflictwithin Myanmar’s majoropposition group.But she acknowledged “therewas some fighting” within theparty, something analystsattribute to the reluctance of elderly senior advisors – veteransof the democracy struggle – togive way to an eager youngergeneration.“We have to act with restraint,”the Nobel laureate, who wasexpected to be re-elected asparty chairman on March 9, saidurging delegates not to fight overpositions.“The spirit of fraternity isvery important. We have beenstrong in the past because of thisspirit.” Although the NLD is hugelypopular, some experts questionwhether the party is ready torun a nation whose economy,education and health systemshave been left in tatters bydecades of military rule.The party is expected to winthe national elections in 2015, if they are free and fair. But expertssay it must first resolve internaldivisions, which flared ahead of theconference as four members werebanned from attending, accused of trying to influence the voting. Addressing the issue of theparty’s chairmanship, Daw AungSan Suu Kyi said delegates mustelect a “leader who is in accordwith this era, in accord with thiscountry and the party”.She urged members to actresponsibly for the party and “notfor a seat” in parliament.Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 67,has not ruled out an ambitionto become president but aconstitutional rule bars her fromthe role as she was married to aBriton and has two sons who areforeign nationals.But doubts persist overwhether her opposition party canremodel itself for the challengesof government, with many seniormembers – known as the “NLDuncles” and in their 80s and90s –refusing to make way foryounger members.“We must have people of everyage in our party, not just the oldor young,” she said.The NLD also faces the financialand political might of PresidentU Thein Sein’s Union Solidarityand Development Party, createdby former generals who shedtheir uniforms to run for officein elections held in 2010.
Tatmadaw usingaid convoys toreinforce troops
NLD party holdslandmark congress
National League for Democracy delegates at the party’s rst ever party congress at the Royal Rose
Hall in Yangon on March 8.
Pic: Aung Htay Hlaing
More page 4More page 4More page 4
 
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March 11 - 17, 2013
Comment by Adam McCarty
IF there were prizes for “worst policy” thelicensing of inland waterways would probablybe the winner. The British introduced it whenthey ran the country to tax poor Burmese,along with other taxes, including those oncommodities such as salt. In India, Gandhifamously protested against the salt tax.Normally, one of the reasons for throwing outcolonialists is to remove such taxes, but thisone seems to have stayed on.There are two reasons for this policy: to raisegovernment revenue and to stop over-fishing,which destroys the resource. The presentpolicy fails on both counts. The Departmentof Fisheries sells fishing areas wholesale,and then private agents break these up intosmaller plots. Although nobody has measuredit properly, it probably means that for everyK10,000 paid by fishing people, maybe justK2000 ends up as government revenue.Further, it makes over-fishing worse, as toomany licenses are given out and fishermenwith licenses must work harder to make aprofit. I have just spent three weeks travellingaround Ayeyarwady Region and everywherefish stocks are falling every year.What can be done to make this policy work?Every village should have its fishing areafixed,with the number of licences they canissue also fixed (much fewer than presently). Village authorities will determine their ownsystem to allocate licenses at a price fixed bythe fisheries department (and reviewed everythree years).They could then auction the licences,taking the department’s price as aminimum. From this, the village keeps 70percent of revenue and passes the rest tothe department. The department uses themoney to pay for monitoring the licencesystem and enforcement of fishing. Villagesmust pay fines for violations, not individualfishermen (so villages have the incentive tomake them follow the rules); and the finesare made sufficiently large to discourageflouting the rules. This must be followedwith an education program.This would hopefully prevent the issuingof too many licences, overfishing and the useof illegal fishing techniques or equipment –since it lays the burden of responsibility on awhole village for the fines that may ensue.Using a licence system to protect the fishingresource – and efficiently raise governmentrevenues (from fewer and relatively richerfishing households) – is a good policy, andit’s high time that this holdover from Britishrule is replaced.
 Dr Adam McCarty is an Australian economist who has been living and workingin Vietnam since 1991 as a universitylecturer and consultant. He is chief economistat Mekong Economics Ltd, which is in the process of establishing a branch in Yangon,and can be contacted on adaminhanoi@ gmail.com
Outdated fishingtax a flashpoint
By Stuart Deed
SEVERAL months ago I wrote a coupleof editorials for this paper decrying thedecision to allow in tens of thousands of dollars of newer cars without dramaticallyupscaling public transport spending.The stories earned me a reputation withsome of my friends as being a socialist orcommunist. Well, today I plan to set thatrecord straight. As you sit in increasinglyclogged traffic and watch as pedestriansovertake your vehicle I’d like to suggestthat what this city needs is not less cars, butmore of them. That’s right, open the importfloodgates (as if they aren’t already belowthe water level), lower the taxes and pareback the bureaucracy – let’s flood this finecity with newly imported metal. Hell, mostcars have functioning air-conditioners andDVD players so we can all sit back and enjoytaking 10 minutes to get to the end of ourdriveways – I know I do every morning.Of course a decent portion of the taxescollected must be reinvested in the roadsand infrastructure, police and ambulanceservices but let’s keep public spending to aminimum, at least so I can better promotea US Republican low-taxation agenda andperhaps repair my red-tainted image – Iam, after all, a business editor of a privatelyfunded newspaper.What we’re looking to achieve here iscitywide gridlock all the time. Only when thesuper wealthy cannot drive their Hummers,Bugattis, Bentleys and Ferraris without therisk of running out of fuel on Inya Road – oruse helicopters to get around – will things getbetter for the rest of us.Like most people I’ve heard of reports inthe Myanmar-language media stating thatthe city’s traffic problems will be solvedwithin three months – a friend suggestedthat the brilliant key to that plan wouldbe to allow cars to drive depending onthe final digit of their number plates: oddnumbered plates one day, followed by evensthe next. To me that would only lead topeople making sure they have two cars –one with an even final digit, and one withan odd number.In fact, I predict that there’s a half-decentchance the city’s planners will reversethe ban on motorcycles or at least relaxthe boundaries and let them closer to thecentre. Is that the answer to the congestionproblem? I think not but it would certainlyincrease demand for accident insurance andthe emergency wards at hospitals wouldhave more work to do.Nope, Yangon has just started its loveaffair with the car while the developedworld is doing its level best to encouragepublic transport, and we need to encouragethis blossoming relationship, even thoughthere are already precious few places topark.Nor should any pressure be placed onour friends at Shwe Taung Developmentor Capital Construction to hasten theiroverpass projects at the Hledan and ShweGondaing junctions – these are perfecthands-on tutorials for the gridlocked future.I mean, I’ve heard that a prefabricatedoverpass was built in Bangkok in a weekend(at the Rama IV and Wireless roadsintersection) but we motorists need timeto adapt to moving at 3 kilometres an hourand squeezing five lanes of traffic into twolanes. We must all learn the extremities of our vehicles to ensure we can fit throughthe smallest gaps. And when the love affair finally startsto lose its shine I would hope that theentrepreneurs, with their huge “groups” thatoperate across multiple industries, will feelthe need to give something back to the peopleof Yangon – and probably Mandalay by thatstage – and do what they can to build subwaysor skytrains to ease congestion.Perhaps by then the traffic police willhave realised that sitting in their boothsand blowing a whistle in the generaldirection of a jammed intersection is noteffective traffic management.
We need more cars, not less
 
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March 11 - 17, 2013
By Claire Rosemberg
BRUSSELS – U Thein Sein, on thefirst visit to Brussels by a Myanmarpresident, received new pledges of EU economic assistance coupledwith calls to protect his country’sethnic minorities on March 5.The Myanmar leader, setting outon the fourth leg of an historic 10-day tour of Europe, met successivelywith European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, EU presidentHerman Van Rompuy, and foreignpolicy chief Catherine Ashton.“You have in the EuropeanUnion a committed and long termpartner for the historic journeythat Myanmar and its people havestarted,” Van Rompuy told U TheinSein, who was warmly welcomedfor his ground-breaking reforms inMyanmar.Since the former premier tookover the presidency in March 2011,thousands of political prisoners havebeen released and elections held,including the election to parliamentof long-detained opposition leaderDaw Aung San Suu Kyi.“The EU and Myanmar areturning a page in their relationship,”said Barroso. “More dialogue, moreand better aid, more trade andinvestment.”While EU development aid hasmore than doubled to about 150million euros (US$195 million) for2012-13, Brussels said it was nowready to explore the feasibility of abilateral investment agreement. Ashton, flanked by commissionerfor industry Antonio Tajani, willvisit Myanmar later this year tolook at further economic support.The EU has also offered toreinstate a preferential tariffs dealwith Myanmar.U Thein Sein, however, calledon the EU to once and for all liftsanctions against Myanmar, saying“we are one of the poorest countriesin the world”.Though Myanmar had enacteda new foreign investment law toattract capital to exploit its vastmineral resources “it is still a greathindrance that sanctions exist”,U Thein Sein said after meetingEuropean Parliament presidentMartin Schulz.The EU in April rewardedMyanmar’s historic changes bysuspending for one year a wide rangeof trade, economic and individualsanctions while warning it would“monitor closely the situation on theground, keep its measures underconstant review”. And Brussels on March 5 madeclear it was monitoring minorityrights, notably the conflict inthe northern state of Kachin,and communal Buddhist-Muslimunrest in Rakhine State – wherethe bloc has provided some 5.5million euros ($7.15 million) to helpthe internally displaced from bothcommunities.“Important challenges remain.In particular, on the need for acomprehensive peace settlement inethnic areas,” Van Rompuy said.Speaking through an interpreter,U Thein Sein said his governmenthad been able “to reduce a culture of fear” and vowed to continue to workto strengthen democracy. “You havemy promise we will continue on thispath,” he stated.He also said his government hadworked to end armed conflicts thathad lasted more than 60 years byengaging with 11 armed groupsfighting in the field when it tookoffice.“We cannot say we have a lastingpeace because we have a ceasefire,we have to continue the dialogue,”he said.But groups such as HumanRights Watch urged leaders inBrussels to press the head of state to honour pledges on rights,including a promise to allow the UNCommissioner for Human Rights toset up an office in Myanmar.There was deadly sectarianviolence against ethnic RohingyaMuslims and rights abuses bysecurity forces in ethnic conflictareas, particularly in Kachin Statesince the resumption of fighting in2011 against separatists.The minority, numbering about800,000, has been described by theUnited Nations as one of the mostpersecuted minorities on the planet,with thousands seeking refuge inneighbouring countries as boatpeople.“Any realistic analysis of thecurrent situation on the groundin Burma would conclude muchmore needs to be done to entrenchreforms,” said the group’s EUdirector Lotte Leicht.U Thein Sein, who has alreadyvisited Norway, Finland and Austria, will end his 10-day trip inItaly.
 – AFP
President offered fresh EU help
By Win Ko Ko Latt
BOWING to the constitution,President U Thein Sein is tohand over leadership of hisparty, the majority UnionSolidarity and DevelopmentParty, to its current vicechairman and Speaker of Pyithu Hluttaw, Thura UShwe Mann. No date has yetbeen set for the handover.“The president will handover the chairmanship of theparty to U Shwe Mann,” saidThura U Aung Ko, a memberof the central committee of USDP. A request from
The Myanmar Times
for furtherinformation from presidentialspokesman U Ye Htut has sofar received no response.Thura U Aung Ko saidthe election of President UThein Sein as party chair inOctober 2012 had met withcriticism on the grounds thatit appeared to infringe theconstitution.“The president chairsUSDP, but doesn’t take partin party activities becausethe constitution states thatthe president shall not doso. Since the chairman hasto engage in party activities,the president will give up thechair at an appropriate time,”he added.U Win Myint, PyithuHluttaw representative forPathein township, has askedthe hluttaw for a definitionof the terms used in theconstitution. But MinisterU Soe Maung from thePresident’s Office said thedefinition had to come fromthe constitutional tribunal.Speaker Thura U ShweMann has said he will askthe tribunal for a definitiononce it is formed.“Under the constitution,political party members shallnot take part in their partyactivities while performingduties at the union level.But no provision requiresresignation from the party,”said U Htay Oo, a USD vicechairman. –
Translated byThiri Min Htun
President tohand overUSDP chairin future
By Yu Yu Maw
DEPARTURE forms forpeople leaving the countrycould be on the way out. TheMinistry of Immigrationand Population ispreparing to cancel theso-called D-form, said animmigration departmentsource at YangonInternational Airport onMarch 6.“The minister is raisingthis proposal in the hluttaw. As yet we have no cleardecision or instruction tocancel the departure form,”the source said.Outward bound travellerU Nyi Myint said: “This isvery good news. You can’tleave the country unlessyou present a departureform at the immigrationdesk at the airport. I thinkthis is an unnecessarystep.”“Applying for a D-formevery time you leave thecountry is a waste of time.” Anyone wishing to leavethe country has to depositK200 with MyanmarEconomic Bank for aD-form, and fill out theform on the official websitewith bank code number. An approval letter takes aweek to 10 days dependingon the connection, saidDaw Hla Dar Li Khin of Tour De Travel company.Internet cafés can alsoprovide the form, for K1000to K2000.
Ministry signals theend of departure forms
President U Thein Sein with his Austriancounterpart, Heinz Fischer, during aceremony in Vienna on March 4.
Pic: AFP 

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