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Published by The Myanmar Times

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Published by: The Myanmar Times on Apr 29, 2013
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No. 673, April 15 - 21, 2013
Heartbeat of The Nation
By Aung Shin
OFFICIALS from several regionalgovernments have admittedthey are in the dark about thedistribution of K1500 SIM cardson April 24, as it emerged one-thirdof SIM cards would be reserved forcivil servants.State media announced on April3 that distribution responsibilitiesfor the CDMA SIM cards had beenawarded to regional governmentsrather than private companies inorder to avoid price gouging bybrokers.The announcement cameafter President U Thein Seinheld a meeting with regionalcommunications ministers in NayPyi Taw on March 29.Mandalay Region Minister forTransport and Communication UKyaw San said his government alsolacked information about the SIMcard sale, particularly how manyit will receive. The governmenthas promised to distribute 350,000cards a month nationally.“We haven’t yet got detailedinformation about the sale,” hesaid. “For example, we don’t knowhow many SIM cards we are goingto get but it will probably depend onthe population ratio. The presidentinstructed that one-third of SIMcards will be for government staff,and the remaining two-thirds forthe public.” Yangon Region Minister forTransport and CommunicationU Aung Khin told the YangonRegion Hluttaw last week thatthe government “doesn’t haveany detailed plan for the sale of low-cost SIM cards”, and that ithad received no instructions fromthe central government on how todistribute them.He was speaking in response toan “urgent” question submittedon April 8 by Yangon RegionHluttaw representative Dr NyoNyo Thin, who asked how theregional government planned tosell the SIM cards and urged itto ensure transparency duringthe sale. Three representativesexpressed support for her proposal.
The Myanmar Times
also triedto contact the Sagaing RegionMinister for Transport andCommunication but was toldthat the minister was travellingoverseas and would not arrive backuntil April 24. Another minister from theSagaing Region Government said:“We just know that the cardswill be distributed based on thepopulation in the region. We arenot sure about the exact details.”U Thet Naing Win from EliteTech, a company owned by UTay Za’s Htoo Group that haspreviously distributed SIM cards,said he knew “nothing” about thesale.“We are not making any plans for[the release of SIM cards] at all. Weunderstand that private companiesare not involved in the sale of low-cost SIM cards, according to thegovernment announcement.”
Regional govts in the dark on cut-price SIM card sale plan
Tme s nt rght fr refugee reptrtn, ss UNHCR
Young Muslim refugees attend a school at the Mae La camp on the Thai-Myanmar border. Despite the government and most armed ethnic groups reaching ceaseres over the
past 18 months, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says conditions are not yet right for refugees to return home. Full story page 10.
Pic: AFP 
Govt opens oil and gas auction
Policy shit sees oreign investors allowed to bid or 19 deepwater blocks without a Myanmar partner
By Stuart Deed
THE Ministry of Energyhas invited bids for therights to 30 offshore oil andgas blocks and, crucially,dropped the requirementfor a domestic partner fordeepwater exploration.Of the blocks put upfor tender, 11 are shallowwater, which still requirea domestic partner, andthe remaining 19 aredeepwater.The April 11 invitation,which calls for expressionsof interest and otherrelated documents fromprospective bidders by June14, says winning bidderswill be required to enterinto production sharingcontracts with the state-run Myanma Oil and GasEnterprise (MOGE).It adds that bidders“must have technicalcompetency, financialcapability, experience,expertise and technicalknow-how to conductpetroleum explorationand development works inoffshore areas and musthave [a] good track recordwith respect to offshorepetroleum operations” to beconsidered. As with other recenttenders, such as thenational telecoms licencesand onshore oil and gasblocks, potential bidderswill be required to undergoprequalification. Those whopass the first stage will bepresented with a generaloverview of each block“consisting of representativedata and information, free
More page 4
Model threatens journals over Danishband article
Government reusesto conrm news oreshufe
Thingyan securitytightened inMandalay, NPT
Leading local banksprepare or jointventures
Naing Group torenovate Blazon intooce tower
April 15 - 21, 2013
IT has been said that thedefinition of frenzy is agroup of women working in afishprocessing plant.Right now, it might be moreapt to say that it is a bunch of Malaysian politicians running for election in the southernstate of Johor.Frenetic is the right wordfor their behaviour since April3 when Prime Minister NajibRazak, 59, finally dissolvedparliament.Likely to be held in the lastweek of this month, the nation’s13
general election willfeature some of the most hotlycontested battles in Malaysia’shistory and the outcome isanybody’s guess.The victor may be Najib’sNational Front, which won 137seats in the 2008 election, or itmay be the ascendant People’s Alliance helmed by formerdeputy prime minister AnwarIbrahim, 65, which won 75seats.Everyone is on tenterhooks,as indicated by the unseemlyfrenzy in Johor, the birthplaceof the Front’s dominant party,the United Malays NationalOrganisation.Normally, UMNO and itscoalition allies would sweepmost of the seats in thissouthern state bordering Singapore, while the oppositionwould focus on other areaswhere the prospects look morepromising.Not this time. Such is theconfidence of Anwar’s men thatlast week it stunned observersby revealing that some of itsheavyweight candidates willforego their safe seats and runin UMNO’s bastion of Johor.It sounded bonkers at first,but upon further considerationit becomes clear that there ismethod in this madness.Who dares, wins. Andthis, the most astonishinglydaring move in the annals of Malaysian politics, may well bethe pivotal move that wins aslew of seats for the opposition.One of its veteran leaders,the pugnacious warhorse LimKit Siang, has announced thathe will not only switch fromhis safe Perak constituency toJohor, but that he will fightfor the fortress seat of Gelang Patah.That means he will likely faceJohor Chief Minister GhaniOthman, the most powerfulpolitician in the state.On the surface, it looks likepolitical harikiri but Lim is nofool, nor is he prone to suicidaltendencies.He knows that the decent, butbland Ghani is vulnerable, andhe knows that Geylang Patahis 52 percent Chinese and 12pcIndian. And he knows that thosenonMalays have turned againstthe front and that if he can winmost of their votes, and justget a little support from theconstituency’s 34pc Malays, heis in. As well as Lim, formerMalaysian army chief, HashimHussein, will fight for Anwarin the state capital, JohorBaru, and other “big name”oppositionists will also contestthroughout UMNO’s heartland.The move has spooked Najib’smen and they sent former PMMahathir Mohamad down southto stiffen sinews.He urged Johoreans tocontinue to make their state thegovernment’s “fixed deposit” of seats and called on them to endthe political careers of Anwarand Lim.While Mahathir, 87, deridedLim for being in politics too long and being biased, there weresigns that many voters thoughtbeing called old and biased bysomeone like him was like being called ugly by a warthog.Perhaps an even moredisturbing sign for Najib’s teamwas the way one of its brightestnew stars, the electrifying UMNO youth leader KhairyJamaluddin, announced that hewill not run in the election.Naturally, people assumehe did this because he knowswhich way the wind is blowing and that he is distancing himself from imminent defeatand the dispatch of Najib to theglue factory.That prospect still remainsa long shot, and it would be alittle unfair on Najib, who hasdone a halfdecent job and ismore likable, if less incisive andvisionary, than Anwar.But then, life’s not fair. If itwere, Anwar and Lim wouldnever have been jailed andTuya would still be alive.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak holds a copy of his coalition’s election manifesto during a politicalrally at a stadium in Kuala Lumpur on April 6.
Pic: AFP 
Close race has Malaysia in a frenzy
For Myanmar,lessons fromthe transitionin Indonesia
By Jim Della-Giacoma
INDONESIA, with its free media,rambunctious democracy andfrequent elections could well bethe most democratic country inSoutheast Asia. Its robust economicgrowth is something others want toemulate. It is not surprising thatit is regarded as something of aglobal success story and has beenstudied by those leading Myanmar’stransformation as they also try tocreate a stable, prosperous anddemocratic postauthoritarian nation.But Indonesia is neither a perfectnor model democracy. Its transition15 years ago was incredibly violent.The sudden end of 32 years of authoritarian rule brought aboutdramatic political change, but it alsounleashed a series of deadly ethnicand religious violent conflicts acrossthe archipelago. It is easy to forgetthe first dark years of “reformasi”and how many feared that thisdiverse country would break upinto its component ethnic parts.The lessons from this period provideMyanmar with the opportunity tolearn from Indonesia’s mistakes. According to one study, between1998 and 2002, six Indonesianprovinces, including East Timor,experienced largescale extendedviolence that killed almost 16,000people. This is a conservativeestimate, and the death toll wasalmost certainly higher. But thegood news is that in the last decade,four out of the remaining five of Indonesia’s extended violent conflictshave ended. How did this happen?For answers, it is useful to lookat how the government haltedcommunal fighting in Poso in theprovince of Central Sulawesi.Between 1998-2001, this conflictwas one of several outbreaks of Muslim-Christian fighting in easternIndonesia that had its origin insomething else – political struggles,land disputes, elite competition for jobs – but ended up with partiesidentified by religious affiliation.The imperfect 10-point MalinoDeclaration brokered by thegovernment in 2001 did not endthe killing but it was the turning point. It led this community awayfrom deadly conflict to a wary butdurable peace. Each communitysent representatives to talks ina resort area outside the conflictzone. The government did its bestto get those in command of militiascommitting violence or otherwisedirectly involved in the conflict to thenegotiating table. After three days,an agreement was signed.When trying to distil lessons fromthe Malino agreement for Myanm-ar’s recent intercommunal violence,it is important to look not at thenegotiations but the agreement’spragmatic substance. Conflictwearycommunity leaders pledged to ceaseall disputes, abide by the law andpunish wrongdoers. The signatoriesrequested the state take firm andimpartial measures against thosewho broke the law.Leaders made a publiccommitment to respect one anotherin an attempt to foster an atmos-phere of religious tolerance, a pledgethat has for the most part held. Theyrecognised that any citizen had theright to come and live peacefullyin Poso as long as they respectedlocal habits and customs. It wasimportant in this multiethnic andmultireligious country that theagreement reinforced respect forfollowers of all faiths to practice theirrespective religions as stipulated bythe constitution.The agreement said propertywould be reinstated to its rightfulowners and those displaced by theviolence returned to their place of origin. Government support wasgiven to rehabilitate the economyand damaged infrastructure. Analysts studying Indonesia’sconflicts believe that one reasonwidespread intercommunalfighting persisted for so long waspoor law enforcement. The policeand government lacked experienceand did not act quickly enough tocontain violence before it escalatedout of control. The reluctance of law enforcement agencies to actmeant either that violence wentunpunished to the point that peoplelost faith in police and courts, orthat people took the law into theirown hands. In the end, the centralgovernment had to reassert itself in provincial conflicts, rather thanleave it to local leaders to resolve.The Indonesian experience shouldbe instructive for Myanmar as itlays some practical, if difficult steps,that are in line with President UThein Sein’s speech on March 28.In the long term, the country needsto imagine itself as a modern staterather than dwell on the gloryof ancient kingdoms. Looking toIndonesia, another multiethnicnation with ethnic and religioustensions unleashed by the easing of tight central control, may help.The mosaic of cultures and religionsthat is modern Myanmar mustbe the foundation upon which itsdemocracy is built and the state mustbe unequivocal about protecting allthe people inside its borders.But to succeed in achieving anational vision of unity andprosperity, resolving local conflictsis essential. There cannot bedevelopment if violence spreads.To succumb to mob rule at thispoint in the transition will onlyencourage the spread of violence andthe postpone any future democraticdividend.(
 Jim Della-Giacoma is the South East Asia Project Director of the International Crisis Group (www.crisisgroup.org) and is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Roger Mitton
The government hadto reassert itsel inprovincial conficts,rather than leave it tolocal leaders.
April 15 - 21, 2013
By Lwin Mar Htun
 A NEWS journal hasapologised to model EmeraldNyein for publishing anarticle that inferred she hada sexual relationship witha member of Danish bandMichael Learns to Rock.Following the apology,Emerald Nyein said shewould not follow throughwith earlier threats to filea defamation suit against
 Myanmar Newsweek
.The model took part inan advertising shoot withMichael Learns to Rocksinger Mikkel Lentz on April5 for Amazing Hotels andResorts’ Ngapali property.She posted the photo on herFacebook page, explainingit was an advertisement,but another Facebook userreposted the photo withoffensive text, saying sheshould be ashamed of herbehaviour and had damagedthe reputation of Myanmarwomen.“When I read that post, Iwas very sad and angry athim (the Facebook user).But a lot of my friendssupported me and believedme so I ignored that post.Then
 Myanmar Newsweek
 also published that photoand they accused me in that journal,” Emerald Nyeintold
The Myanmar Times
 on April 10.“They didn’t check withme whether it was true ornot and they didn’t ask mypermission to use my photofrom Facebook,” she said.On April 9, EmeraldNyein called the
 Myanmar Newsweek
office but wastold there were no editorspresent. Shortly afterwards,she told
Yanae Khit
  journal she would sue thepublication.Later, an editor from
 Myanmar Newsweek
calledand offered to print anapology in their next issue.“If they really apologiselike that then I won’t suethem. I asked them toresolve this problem as soonas they can and now I’mwatching to see how theygo about doing it,” she said.Emerald Nyein said inthe past she had “always”uploaded news and photosabout her work to Facebookbut this experience haspersuaded her to be moreselective in future.“Next time I won’t uploadeverything. This has taughtme I need to be more carefulin the future.”
 Myanmar Newsweek
 editor Nay Min Theik saidthe journal would “apologiseuntil [Emerald Nyein] issatisfied”.“We did not put that newsin journal to destroy herimage and future. We sawthe news on Facebook and just put it in to our journalas a short photo news,” hesaid.Ma Hlaing HlaingWin, general managerfrom Amazing Hotelsand Resorts, confirmedthe Danish rock star andEmerald Nyein had takenpart in a photo shoot.“When [Mikkel Lentz]came to our hotel, weasked him to take someadvertising photos and heaccepted. Photos were takenof him with his family andalso with Emerald Nyein,”she said last week. After his band playedin Yangon on March 31,Mikkel Lentz and his familyvisited Ngapali and stayedat Amazing Hotels andResorts from April 2 to 7,she said.
By Win Ko Ko Latt
THE Union ElectionCommission will submita proposal to change theelection system when thenext session of parliamentbegins in June, chairmanU Tin Aye told parties lastweek.“The UEC cannot decidewhether to change to aproportional representationsystem as some politicalparties proposed. Thehluttaw will decide on it,”U Tin Aye said at a meetingwith 56 political parties inNay Pyi Taw on April 8.Seven parties, includingthe National Unity Partyand National DemocraticForce, expressedsupport for proportionalrepresentation at themeeting, while the NationalLeague for Democracy,Rakhine NationalitiesDevelopment Party, InnNationalities DevelopmentParty and Wa DemocraticParty spoke out against theproposal. The remainingparty representativesdid not participate in thediscussion.But U Tin Aye saidthat if the proposal is notapproved in 2013 first-past-the-post voting willremain in place for the 2015election, as there will not beenough time to prepare fora new voting system afterthis year.Union Solidarity andDevelopment Party vicechairman U Htay Oo didnot comment on the issue.However, changing to PRis likely to be beneficial forthe party and significantlyreduce the likelihood of anNLD landslide in 2015.U Win Myint, theNational League forDemocracy representativefor Pathein, said his partyopposed the change becauseit believed many Myanmarcitizens struggled to voteunder the much simplerfirst-past-the-post system.He said the system alsomade it easier for a singleparty to form government.“If proportionalrepresentation is used, MPswill have little connectionto their constituency, sothere will be a questionof who is responsible forwhich constituency,” hesaid.He said those who votefor unsuccessful candidatesin the first-past-the-postsystem do not lose outbecause the winner has aresponsibility to improvethe socioeconomic situationof all members of theirconstituency.But other partiessupported the change. UHan Shwe, a senior memberof the National UnityParty, said proportionalrepresentation would helpto create a genuine multi-party system.“We should have it so wedon’t waste votes and thehluttaw is all-inclusive,”he said.
Bill on voting system to besubmitted inJune: UEC
Model threatens journal with suitover Michael Learns to Rock article
Mikkel Lentz and Emerald Nyein in the promotional photo for Amazing Hotels andResorts Ngapali.
Pic: Supplied 
Changes will not be consideredi bill is not passed in 2013,commission boss tells parties

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