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HEARTBEAT OF THE NATION

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DAILY EDITION

ISSUE 55 | TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 2015


NEWS 3

Government blocks access


to 727 rescued migrants
Aid groups have been unable to reach
those found off Ayeyarwady Region,
despite Myanmar agreeing on May 29
to ensure UN agencies have access to
people rescued from smugglers.
NEWS 4

China announces live-fire


drill along Kokang border
Two months after Myanmar artillery
strayed across the border, the Chinese
military has announced it will begin
a live-fire exercise today near the
Kokang region of northern Shan State.

BUSINESS 9

Mobile penetration tops


50% after liberalisation
There are over 28 million SIM cards
now in use in Myanmar, representing
over 50 percent of the countrys
population, according to government
officials. Penetration rates have
climbed significantly from a year ago.

BUSINESS 10

PAGE

PHOTO: AUNG KHANT

Students cross Anawrahta Street in front of Basic Education High School 6 Botahtaung
yesterday at the end of the first day of classes for the 2015-16 school year. Parents have
praised the governments decision to make high school free this year, after introducing
free primary and middle schoooling in 2010-11 and 2013-14 respectively. The move to
make high school free is expected to cost about K5 billion a year.

First online property site


receives new funding
Myanmars oldest property website
has received funding from a regional
investor. The number of property sites
has rapidly increased, but investor
Justin Sway says there are still two or
three years before the sector takes off.

Coal faces a fight in Rakhine


A planned 1320-megawatt coal power plant in Kyaukpyu township has divided communities, with some joining forces
with anti-coal activists and others advocating for what they believe will be a cheap source of power. BUSINESS 8

2 News

THE MYANMAR TIMES JUNE 2, 2015

Final door
slams shut on
journalists
in parliament
PYAE THET
PHYO
pyaethetphyo87@gmail.com

Students and parents leave a high school in Botahtaung yesterday after the first day of class for 2015-16. Photo: Aung Khant

Parents welcome end of school fees


MAY THINZAR NAING
maythinzarnaing.mcm@gmail.com
THE first day at school is often a day
of high emotion. After a long and happy holiday, many students may have
been dreading the approach of June
1. But for many parents, too, yesterday
was quite a learning experience: They
found they did not have to spend any
money.
For the first time, free education
has been extended to the high school
students this year, bringing free tuition to more than 40,000 schools
around the country.
As part of its plan to keep children
in school for longer, the Ministry of
Education introduced free primary
education in 2011-12, providing textbooks, six exercise books and K1000
to each primary student. Free middleschool education began last year, and
from this year, high school education
is free of charge.
The Ministry of Education intends
there to be no difficulties for teachers,
students and parents in student enrolment in basic education schools. This
year, school uniforms are provided

to each primary student instead the


K1000 we provided last year. The ministry plans to provide school uniforms for
middle- and high-school students this
year, said a director in the ministry.

Tuition fees were


really expensive
... Its about time
they adopted a free
education system.
Daw Swe Swe Thein
Parent from Latha township

Parents no longer have to pay fees


for stationery, sports, the library, or
parent-teacher organisations, as well
as tuition fees.
I didnt pay any fees to enrol my
child in kindergarten this year, and
they gave me six exercise books and
a school uniform. Last year, I had to

pay fees when enrolling my older


children, plus some more for a donation. I think free education is great,
said Daw Myat Sanda, a parent from
Tarmwe township who enrolled her
children on May 25.
I didnt pay school fees in enrolling
Grades 10 and 11 and everything went
fine. Tuition fees were really expensive
[before] - its so good to not have to
pay. Its about time they adopted a free
education system, said Daw Swe Swe
Thein of Latha township.
The year has started well, said one
headmistress in a Bahan school. The
children all attended class, and the
teachers are ready for the next year.
The results of the 2014 census released on May 29 show that about 80
percent of Myanmar 10-year-olds attend school - a number considerably
higher than previous estimates - but
this falls to just over 40pc by the age
of 15.
The national literacy rate compares
well with the wider region, at 89.5pc
of the population, below the rate of
93.5pc in Thailand but well above
62.8pc in India.
Translation by Khant Lin Oo

THE news blackout imposed by


parliament last week has now been
extended to both houses. The upper and lower houses, the Amyotha
Hluttaw and Pyithu Hluttaw, have
joined the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in
closing off media access to their respective chambers.
As of yesterday, journalists no
longer have access to a room where
they can observe the proceedings in
person and watch debates and votes.
Amyotha Hluttaw deputy director general U Lwin Oo said the decision was for security.
I dont know why the other two
hluttaws restricted media access. As
for me, I dont agree with it, he said.
A number of MPs criticised the
move, which will mean journalists can only watch sessions on
a television in another section of
parliament.
Representative Daw Khin Wine
Kyi said she regretted the decision
to prevent journalists from following debates and taking pictures of
MPs at work. I feel sorry for journalists and the media. We cant interfere with it because they said it
was for security, she said.
A different explanation is circulating, however one that has more

to do with threats to politicians images than to their physical safety.


Union Solidarity and Development Party MP U Hla Swe, who
represents Magwe Region in the
Amyotha Hluttaw, said he believed
the decision was prompted by embarrassing photos of MPs being
published in the media.
This happened in Pyidaungsu
Hluttaw after a military MP was
photographed voting for another
MP who was absent. They also took
a photo of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
[while she was] asleep. Thats why
they closed the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and the Pyithu Hluttaw. Then
they closed the press room in the
Amyotha Hluttaw as well, on security grounds. I dont know what
message this sends, or how long the
restriction will last, he said.
U Hla Swe attributes the decision to the two hluttaw Speakers
rather than to hluttaw office officials, who are civil servants. I
think its the decision of Thura U
Shwe Mann, who may have his own
reasons, he said.
The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw closed
its media room on May 26 and the
Pyithu Hluttaw followed suit, with
the Amyotha Hluttaw close behind.
Director general U Lwin Oo insisted there were security concerns,
but did not elaborate. In the past,
we didnt have to worry about security but now we believe we do, he
said. It would be terrible if something happened.
Translation by Thiri Min Htun

ELECTION IN BRIEF
Election commission tallies up
Mandalays disabled voters

Special provision will be made to


allow people with disabilities to vote
in Novembers elections, the chair
of Mandalay Election Commission
chair said yesterday. U Aung Htut
said the commission was listing the
number of voters with disabilities.

We started drawing up the list


in March so that we can provide assistance, he said.
We want everyone who is entitled
to vote to do so in comfort and
safety.
So far the names of 565 disabled
voters have been compiled. Mg
Zaw, translation by Khant Lin Oo

www.mmtimes.com

NEWS EDITOR: Thomas Kean | tdkean@gmail.com

News 3

KUPANG, INDONESIA

Australia
turns back
asylumseeker boat

Migrants and asylum seekers sit on board a boat rescued by the navy off the coast of the Ayeyarwady Region on May 29. Photo: Ministry of Information

Aid groups stopped from


reaching boat in delta
Journalists have also been stopped from approaching vessel that was rescued off Ayeyarwady coast on May 29

LAIGNEE
BARRON
laignee@gmail.com

HUMANITARIAN relief teams have


been unable to gain access to 727 migrants and asylum seekers rescued
by the Myanmar navy off the Ayeyarwady delta. Those rescued are thought
to still be held in cramped conditions
on the small fishing trawler they were
discovered on four days ago, sources
told The Myanmar Times.
After being alerted by Thailand to
a vessel in distress, a Myanmar navy
patrol seized the overcrowded fishing trawler turned smuggling boat
at about 6:30am on May 29 off the
southern coast of Ayeyarwady Region, according to the Ministry of
Information.
The 608 men, 74 women and 45
children have been on boats since
March. Rights workers told The Myanmar Times yesterday they believe
that the passengers have still not
been allowed to disembark. Fifty

people are believed to have died


while at sea.
The government said those found
on the boat had initially been on
three separate vessels that departed
from the Bay of Bengal but the boats
turned back after traffickers found
the well-worn route was disrupted by
crackdowns in Thailand and Malaysian officials were not willing to fetch
the passengers. The passengers were
then loaded together into the iron
hull of a single vessel and abandoned
at sea by their captors.
The government initially said that
the boat full of Bengalis would be
taken to a remote island at the mouth
of the Ayeyarwady for the necessary
investigation before repatriating them
to their country of origin.
Then the UN office in Myanmar
was told there had been a change of
plans.
We were asked by the Myanmar
authorities to provide assistance at a
disembarkation point that was indicated to be in the Ayeyarwady delta.
We were subsequently told that the
place of disembarkation had been
changed, said Kasita Rochanakorn,
a spokesperson for the UN Refugee

Agency (UNHCR) in Myanmar.


While we wait for information on
the revised place and time of disembarkation, we remain ready to assist.
The government says the Tatmadaw has been providing assistance
to those on the vessel, but officials
refused to say why external aid has
been blocked.

727

People on board a boat rescued off the


coast of Ayeyarwady Region on May 29

At an emergency meeting convened in Bangkok on May 29 to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis,
the Myanmar delegation agreed to
ensure that the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration
would have access to the migrants.
But even as the delegates were

agreeing to the statement, the latest intercepted boat was being kept
away from UN agencies, NGOs and
journalists.
Reuters reported that on May 31
that its team had sighted the boat, as
well as rake thin passengers crowded onto the deck of the trawler and
also sitting on four Myanmar navy
boats in the area.
Those on the boat were initially
called Bengalis by the Ministry of
Information, but a local official told
AFP that the passengers are now believed to be Bangladeshis and will
be deported.
Myanmar and Bangladesh have
been trapped in what has been called
a game of political ping-pong over
200 people rescued off Rakhine State
s coast a week earlier on May 21. Myanmar has been keen to portray those
leaving as economic migrants from
Bangladesh, while Bangladesh has
made it clear it will not repatriate any
who claim to have Myanmar origins.
U Zaw Htay, director of the Presidents Office, declined to comment on
the boats or rescued migrants yesterday, saying only that the government
would release a statement soon.

SCORES of asylum-seekers have come


ashore in eastern Indonesia after their
boat was intercepted by the Australian
navy and pushed into Indonesian waters as they headed for New Zealand,
police said yesterday.
The 65 migrants from Bangladesh,
Myanmar and Sri Lanka were spotted
by the Australians, said Hidayat, an Indonesian police official on Rote Island
in the east of the archipelago.
According to their testimony, they
were pushed back by the Australian
navy and immigration after they were
interrogated, said the official, who
goes by one name. They said they were
on their way to New Zealand.
He said they were spotted by local
residents May 31 near a beach after
their boat sank.
Australias conservative government
introduced tough immigration policies
in 2013 to stop an influx of would-be
refugees. Asylum seekers arriving on
vessels are sent to Pacific camps and
vessels are turned back when it is safe
to do so, or taken back to their country
of origin.
The new arrivals in Indonesia come
as Southeast Asia is gripped by a human-trafficking crisis, which has seen
thousands of migrants come ashore
after a Thai crackdown threw the illicit
trade into chaos.
Around 1800 Rohingya from Myanmar as well as Bangladeshis have landed in Indonesias Aceh province this
month alone, and others have landed
in Malaysia and Thailand.
Hidayat did not say where the latest group, which included women and
children, had started their journey,
although asylum seekers have in the
past set off from Indonesia en route to
Australia.
The would-be refugees were being
held at a police station and would be
processed by immigration officials today, the official said.
Since Australia introduced its military-led operation two years ago, the
numbers attempting the route from Indonesia to Australia have declined.
An official said last week that Australia had prevented 18 boats carrying
asylum seekers from arriving in the
country since September 2013.
New Zealands Prime Minister John
Key warned last year that people smugglers were looking to target his country after the introduction of Australias
tough border protection policies.
While the voyage to New Zealand
from places such as Indonesia and Sri
Lanka is potentially far more perilous
than trying to reach Australia, Mr Key
said people smugglers and asylum seekers were willing to take the risk in the
wake of Canberras clampdown. AFP

NLD cautiously wades into regional migration crisis


NYAN LYNN AUNG
LUN MIN MANG
newsroom@mmtimes.com
AS pressure mounts on Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi to comment on the ongoing
smuggling boats crisis and the Rakhine State tensions helping to fuel it,
her party yesterday used its first formal statement on the unfolding tragedy to call for stronger action to stop
human trafficking in the region.
The National League for Democracy also said the basic principles of
human rights should be respected
in Rakhine State, and called for the
speedy resettlement of people living
in internally displaced person camps.
The NLD leader has long stayed

silent on the issue, she has drawn renewed criticism for failing to speak
out about the thousands of refugee
seekers who have been left stranded
at sea on what the UN warned could
become floating coffins if they are
not rescued.
Fellow Nobel peace laureates, including South Africas Archbishop
Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama,
have urged the opposition leader to
address the contentious issue.
In an unsigned statement yesterday, the NLD called for a resolution
to the crisis in which several hundred
are thought to have died and several
thousand more subjected to horrific
abuses, including beatings, sexual assault and starvation.

The smugglers or human traffickers should be investigated and they


should be taken into police custody,
said the NLD statement, which was
not addressed to any specific domestic
or international entity.
The statement also said that solutions to the crisis will depend on
building peaceful coexistence and improving socioeconomic conditions in
Rakhine State, as well as accelerating
the citizenship verification process.
The party outlined seven points
that should be implemented to alleviate problems in the restive state,
including enforcing the rule of law,
enhancing border security, reducing
corruption of border officers, increasing humanitarian aid and quickly

resettling people living in internally


displaced persons camps.
In resolving the social conflicts in
Rakhine State the basic principles of
human rights, democracy and rule of
law need to be upheld and hate speech
and discrimination [need to be] prevented, said the statement.
Earlier this month, party spokesperson U Nyan Win said he doesnt
support the Rohingya whom the
government calls Bengalis or recognise them as a distinct ethnic group,
but added that they should be respected as human beings deserving of human rights.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has
often been pressed to enumerate her
opinions on the issue, maintains that

any statement she may make could


have violent ramifications.
The NLDs statement was criticised yesterday for being too little,
too late.
The statement issued was very
general. Even though this is the biggest opposition party, were not seeing
any points or specific demands made
directly to Myanmars government,
said U Soe Aung, of the Thai-based
lobby group Forum for Democracy in
Burma.
Moreover, it seems the statement
is very cautiously worded they dont
the term Rohingya at any point, he
added.
NLD party officials could not be
reached for comment yesterday.

4 News

THE MYANMAR TIMES JUNE 2, 2015

Chief Executive Officer


Tony Child
tonychild.mcm@gmail.com
Editorial Director U Thiha Saw
editorial.director.mcm@gmail.com
Deputy Chief Operating Officer Tin Moe Aung
tinmoeaung.mcm@gmail.com
EDITORIAL
Editor MTE Thomas Kean
tdkean@gmail.com
Editor MTM Sann Oo
sannoo@gmail.com
Chief of Staff Zaw Win Than
zawwinthan@gmail.com
Editor Special Publications Myo Lwin
myolwin286@gmail.com
Editor-at-Large Douglas Long
dlong125@gmail.com
News Editor MTE Guy Dinmore
guydinmore@gmail.com
Business Editor MTE Jeremy Mullins
jeremymullins7@gmail.com
World Editor MTE Fiona MacGregor,
Kayleigh Long
The Pulse Editor MTE Charlotte Rose
charlottelola.rose@gmail.com
Sport Editor MTE Matt Roebuck
matt.d.roebuck@googlemail.com
Special Publications Editor MTE Wade Guyitt
wadeguyitt@gmail.com
Regional Affairs Correspondent Roger Mitton
rogermitton@gmail.com
Sub-Editors Peter Swarbrick, Laignee Barron
Chief Sub Editor MTM Aye Sapay Phyu
Business & Property Editor MTM
Tin Moe Aung
tinmoeaung.mcm@gmail.com
Timeout Editor MTM Moh Moh Thaw
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MCM BUREAUS
News Editors (Mandalay)
Khin Su Wai, Phyo Wai Kyaw
Nay Pyi Taw Bureau Chief Hsu Hlaing Htun
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China launches live-fire


exercises along border
A 100-kilometre stretch of the border in northern Shan State will host land and air exercises until further notice

China
YE MON

GUY DINMORE

CHINA is to launch live-fire land


and air military exercises from today along a 100-kilometre stretch of
the border between Yunnan province
and northern Shan State, close to
mountain ranges where the Tatmadaw is battling ethnic Chinese Kokang
rebels.
U Zaw Htay, director of the Presidents Office, told The Myanmar
Times yesterday that the Tatmadaw
would not be involved in the exercises. Myanmar had given its consent
to China to go ahead with the operation, he said.
Myanmars close relations with
China have been sorely tested by
the four-month border conflict,
which has driven tens of thousands
of mostly ethnic Chinese civilians
out of the Kokang region. China has
repeatedly warned the Tatmadaw
against shelling and bombing its territory, while Myanmar has called on
China to tighten border security to
stop supplies of food and weapons
reaching rebels of the Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance
Army (MNDAA).

Yunnan Province

Myanmar

Laukkai
Namtit

Shan North

Thanlwin
River

Lashio

U Zaw Htay said he did not see


the exercises as a warning to the Tatmadaw, however. It is just normal
practising. I think this exercise is a
threat to the MNDAA, he said.
For weeks official media have reported a series of heavy Tatmadaw
offensives against the retreating
MNDAA forces, which are said to
be penned against the mountainous border. The Tatmadaw said it
had captured more hill posts with

artillery barrages and air strikes to


the north of Laukkai on May 31.
A source close to the MNDAA
said the Chinese war games could
be interpreted as a warning to both
the rebels and the Tatmadaw. He
recalled that a Tatmadaw warplane
had killed five Chinese villagers on
March 13 while artillery fire had
wounded five villagers on the Chinese side on May 14.
Myanmar apologised for the first

incident and is investigating the latter.


According to map coordinates
issued by China, the exercises will
cover a stretch of border territory
from where the Thanlwin River, also
known as the Salween, crosses from
Yunnan province into northern Shan
State, skirting the Kokang region to
the east and then reaching south to
the Namtit border crossing.
The combined land and air live
ammunition exercises would continue until further notice, a Chinese
military spokesperson said on state
television yesterday. He said no aircraft should enter airspace without
approval, while vehicles and personnel should obey controls in the two
counties of Gengma and Zhenkang.
The exercises would not affect normal life, he said, adding that Myanmar had been informed of the
plans.
As casualties mount on both sides
in Kokang, a five-part documentary
series produced by the militarys
Myawady media network portrays
the MNDAA as drug-trafficking
insurgents.
The documentary, broadcast from
May 27 to 31, shows piles of drugs
and production-related equipment
reported to have been seized from
rebel-held territory in Laukkai township and valued at more than 28
billion kyat (US$25 million). Additional reporting by Sandar Lwin

Yangon court sentences three human MP seeks


traffickers to 10 years imprisonment death for
antiquity
smugglers

AUNG KYAW MIN


aungkyawmin.mcm@gmail.com

YANGONS Eastern District Court yesterday sentenced three people to 10


years imprisonment for their role in
trafficking a Yangon woman to China,
where she was sold off as a bride and
had a baby.
Judge U Nyein Myint handed down
the sentence after Ma Zar Ni Tun, 24,
Ko Nyi Nyi La Htet Lin, 24, and Ko
Thura Tun, 21, were found guilty under section 24 of the Anti-Trafficking
in Persons Law.
East Dagon resident Ma Ei Pyae
Phyo accused the trio of luring her
to the Chinese border town of Shweli in April 2011 with the promise of
a job.
When she arrived there she was
sold to a Chinese man, identified as
Margadet, for 55,000 yuan (K9.7
million). After giving birth to a boy
in 2013, her husband allowed her to
return to Myanmar, where she filed a
complaint with police in June of that
year.
The judge convicted the trio on the
basis of Ma Ei Pyae Phyos testimony.
He rejected Ko Thura Tun and Ko Nyi
Nyi La Htet Lins defence that they
were not involved and had travelled to
Shweli with Ma Ei Pyae Phyo to find
a job. They said they returned shortly
afterward because they could not get
any work.
The judge said on the basis of the
evidence he believed they had plotted
together to sell Ma Ei Pyae Phyo as
a bride.
Ko Nyi Nyi La Htet Lins father, U
Nay Myo Aung, said outside court that
his son planned to appeal the decision.
My son wasnt involved. He just
went there to find work, he said. If
he really committed a crime, I can

A convicted human trafficker is led away from Yangons Eastern District Court
yesterday after receiving a 10-year prison term. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

accept the judges decision but I will


appeal to a higher court.
They all know who really committed the crime. They are running a buying centre in China. The authorities
can arrest them if they work together,
so why do they let them go free?

But Ma Ei Pyae Phyo said she was


satisfied with the verdict.
I think its the right punishment,
she said.
They can still appeal to a higher
court if they want.
Translation by Thiri Min Htun

TRAFFICKERS in antiquities who cut


off the heads of Buddha images should
face the death penalty, a prominent
businessman-turned-MP proposed
yesterday during a debate in the upper house on protecting the national
heritage.
Zaykabar owner U Khin Shwe,
who represents the Union Solidarity
and Development Party, noted that
chapter 8 of the Protection and Conservation of Antiquities Bill carries a
penalty of five to 10 years in prison
for traffickers.
I agree with the punishment. Actually, some people should be punished
by death sentence because they cut off
the heads of Buddha images and sell
them. Such kind of people deserve the
death sentence, rather than five or 10
years imprisonment, he said.
He also questioned section 17 of
the bill, which says that anyone who
collects, possesses or buys antiquities
with the intention to resell them shall
face imprisonment of not more than
five years and be liable to a fine.
A person has the right to sell his
or her ancestrally owned things on the
grounds of financial problems. It is not
an offence if he or she puts some antiquities in shops and the shopkeeper
sells them to those who can collect
them. But, if the antiquity is sent
abroad, it is an offence, he said.
He also urged a review of section 18
of the bill which would penalise people
who carry or send an antiquity from
one place to another within Myanmar.
He said the 1957 law only applied to
selling antiquities abroad. Pyae Thet
Phyo, translation by Thiri Min Htun

News 5

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IWT to fund
fleet renewal
with auction

MANDALAY

SHWEGU
THITSAR
khaingsabainyein@gmail.com

Food samples are tested in a mobile laboratory in Mandalay last month. Photo: Si Thu Lwin

Dozens of food samples fail FDA tests


SI THU LWIN
sithulwin.mmtimes@gmail.com
NEARLY 60 food products have been
found unsafe to eat by Mandalays
Food and Drug Administration. FDA
teams took samples of 242 products
on sale in five markets in urban Mandalay between May 4 and 8, and tests
later showed that 57 food products
were not safe to eat.
U Kyaw Kyaw, deputy director
of the Food and Drug Administrations Mandalay branch, said bamboo
shoots, chilli sauce and fish paste were

the most likely products to fail the test.


We will issue a public announcement about these products and publish it in state-owned media. We will
then punish anyone who continues to
sell these products, he said.
The samples were taken from the
Zay Cho, Sayar San, Mya Yee Nandar,
Phayar Gyi and Myothit markets.
U Zay Yar Nyein, head of the Market and Slaughterhouse Department
at Mandalay City Development Committee, said the municipal authorities were monitoring the sale of the
banned products.

We take samples in the market


every three days to see if products
found to contain banned chemical
dyes or formalin are still on sale, he
said, adding that the committee also
regularly conducts awareness-raising
activities with shopkeepers.
The campaign in early May was
the second undertaken by the FDA. In
November 2014, 22 of about 400 food
products tested were found to be unsafe for consumption. U Kyaw Kyaw
said the department plans to carry out
more surprise checks.
Translation by Khant Lin Oo

STILL reeling from the Aung Takon


3 tragedy last March, when at least
72 passengers and crew drowned
in the ferry sinking, Inland Water
Transport is to sell off all its old
ships in order to finance the purchase of new ones.
The agency, which is part of the
Ministry of Transport, has a total of
366 vessels, including 202 with engines and 164 without. But of these,
more than one-quarter are more
than 60 years old, said IWT deputy
general manager U Thila Thein.
He said the old ships had to be
auctioned off to bring in the money
for new ships.
We plan to substitute new vessels for the old ones because we
cant afford new ships unless we sell
the old ones. The government has
issued safety guidelines following
the loss of the Aung Takon 3. We
will keep cargo and passenger ships
separate, he said.

Fewer than a quarter of the vessels, 23pc, are under 20 years old,
while 16pc are from 20 to 40 years
old. More than 32pc of them are
from 40 to 60 years old, and 26pc
are over 60 years old.
U Thila Thein said IWT had no
budget to buy new vessels, and the
auction would be its only source of
funds for the new craft.

26%

Proportion of Inland Water Transport


fleet that is more than 60 years old

Despite the angry reactions in


both the Rakhine State Hluttaw in
Sittwe and the Amyotha Hluttaw
in Nay Pyi Taw to the ferry disaster
in March, and the eyewitness accounts of serious overcrowding and
overloading, no official inquiry appears to have been published, and
no arrests have been made.
Translation by Emoon

6 News

THE MYANMAR TIMES JUNE 2, 2015

Toll stations
open on
Ayeyarwady,
Chindwin

Activist, two locals charged


over lobbying at copper mine

SHWEGU THITSAR
khaingsabainyein@gmail.com
THREE new waterway toll booths are
to be opened, waterway officials announced at a press conference. Speaking at the transport ministry office in
Nay Pyi Taw, U Thaung Lwin, director
of the Directorate of Water Resources
and Improvement of River Systems,
said the income would go toward waterway maintenance.
The tollbooths will open at Magwe
in Magwe Region, Hinthada in Ayeyarwady Region and Monywa in Sagaing Region, in June, July and August
respectively, he said.
The new booths are part of a longterm plan to open 10 toll stations
along the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin
rivers, which are mostly used for commercial transport, to support maintenance operations on the waterways.
Four offices opened in April, he said.
Our main intention is to earn income so that we can provide the perfect waterway, he said.
Of the existing tollbooths, two are
on the Twante canal, at 3.5 miles and
21 miles from Yangon, while the others
are at Nyaungdon in Yangon Region
and one at Pyay in Bago Region.
The charges will be K200 for boats
smaller than 39 feet. For vessels between 39 and 100 feet in length, K50 per
tonne of goods will be levied, while vessels over 100 feet will pay K35 a tonne.
Vessels without a motor will be charged
K50 per tonne of goods up to 100 tonnes,
and K35 per tonne for over 100 tonnes.
The proposed 10 toll offices are
Monywa, Kalewa and Homalin on the
Chindwin River; and Pyay, Hinthada,
Magwe, Mandalay, Pakokku, Katha
and Bhamo on the Ayeyarwady River.
Translation by Emoon

KHIN SU
WAI
jasminekhin@gmail.com

AN environmental activist and two


local villagers have been charged
by police after lobbying a Chineseowned company involved in the
Letpadaung copper mine project to
supply more information about their
operations in Sagaing Region.
Ko Tint Aung Soe, a member of
the Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA), told
The Myanmar Times that they were
charged last week by Salingyi township police with trespassing, intimidation and obstructing the sidewalk
after repeated attempts to get Myanmar Yang Tse Copper Ltd (MYTCL) to
talk by door-stepping their premises.
He said the charges followed their
effort to press MYTCL to release
more information on land issues,
local and regional development, recruitment of workers, and environmental sustainability.
The activist was speaking by telephone from outside the Sagaing offices of the Chinese company where
he was trying to meet representatives. He said they had tried to meet
the company on four occasions in
May and were finally successful on
May 30, obtaining a meeting of about
one hour in which they discussed the
issue of land compensation.
Ko Tint Aung Soe said 11 villages
had not received compensation for
their land. He quoted the company as
saying it needed to check and would
respond after a corporate meeting
scheduled for July.

TRADE MARK CAUTION


LACOSTE, a Company incorporated in France, of 23-25, rue de
Provence, 75009 Paris, France, is the Owner of the following Trade
Marks:-

Reg. No. 7744/2011


in respect of Leather and imitations of leather; articles made from these
materials (not included in other classes), namely luggages, travelling
bags, sport bags, leather goods, vanity-cases, toilet sets, handbags,
beach bags, rucksacks, attach-cases, satchels, suitcases, briefcases,
school bags, purses, card cases, key cases, pocket wallets, belts pockets,
hand pockets; animal skins; trunks and valises; umbrellas, parasols and
walking sticks; whips, harness and saddlery; textile fabrics; household
linen and bed linen, namely flat sheets, fitted sheets, pillows, pillow
cases, bolster cases, bed blankets, bed covers, duvets, duvets covers,
eiderdowns, eiderdowns covers and coordinated bed accessories and
any sheet sets; curtains made from textile, covers for cushions; table
linen, namely table covers of textile, table napkins of textile, table mats
of textile; bath linen, namely wash gloves, face towels of textile, bath
towels of textile. Clothing, headgear and footwear.

CROCODILE
Reg. No. 7745/2011
in respect of Clothing, footwear, headgear.

A worker carries containers next to pools of waste water beside the Sabetaung and Kyisintaung mine. Photo: AFP

The Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability, a civil


society alliance with over 400 members across Myanmar, is also concerned about suspected trespassing
by MYTCL, threats to land owners, blocking of roads, use of acid
in mining, how the company spent
US$500,000 on local development,
and obtaining long-term contracts
for temporary workers.
U Kyi Naing, regional minister
for border affairs and security in

Sagaing, confirmed to The Myanmar Times that the three men had
been charged. The two villagers were
named as U Khaing Moe Oo and U
Thawdar Aung.
MYTCL referred requests for
comment to a Myanmar representative of its Beijing-based parent company, Wanbao Mining Ltd.
He was not available for comment
yesterday.
MYTCL says on its website
that it is an international mining

sport glasses, spectacles, frames, cases, chains and chains for the
aforesaid, contact lenses, binoculars; jewellery, chronometric and
horological apparatuses and instruments; paper, cardboard and goods
made from these materials, stationery, paper, bag and plastic materials
for packaging, printed matter; leather and imitations of leather and
goods made from these materials, trunks; travelling and sport bags,
umbrellas, parasols and walking sticks; textile goods, bed, table and
household linen; clothing, footwear, headgear; embroideries, buttons,
press-buttons, slide fasteners, hooks and eyes; sporting articles; retail
store services, delivery of samples and prospectus, advertising, hordings
and shopsigns for boutiques and corners; organisation of sporting
competitions, entertainment services, education services for the practice
of sports, publication services; retail stores services.

Reg. No. 825/2004


Reg. No. 767/2007
Reg. No. 1629/2010

Reg. No. 826/2004


Reg. No. 768/2007
Reg. No. 1630/2010

in respect of Bleaching preparations and other substances for


laundry use; cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations;
soaps; perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions; dentifrices;
pharmaceutical preparations for skin care and sunburn ointments.
Fraudulent imitation or unauthorised use of the said Trade Marks
will be dealt with according to law.

Reg. No. 7746/2011


Reg. No. 7747/2011
in respect of Soaps, perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions,
toothpastes; optical apparatus, namely, optical glasses, sunglasses,

Win Mu Tin, M.A.,H.G.P.,D.B.L.


for LACOSTE
P.O. Box 60, Yangon
E-mail: makhinkyi.law@mptmail.net.mm
Dated: 2 June 2015

corporation enhancing its overseas


focus on the sustainability of local
Myanmar employees and national
environmental commitments, community and culture.
Its Sabetaung and Kyisintaung
operation is an open-cut copper ore
mine adjacent to the controversial
planned Letpadaung project operated by Wanbao in cooperation with
the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings. MYTCL began operations there in 2011.

Department
to boost
online
security
RAPIDLY growing internet use has
prompted the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
to set up a Department of Information
Technology and Cyber Security to offer
online protection. Both government
departments and individuals using
the internet will benefit, according
to U Khin Maung Tint, the ministrys
permanent secretary.
The creation of the new department was approved last January to
advance the eGovernment process, including security, said deputy director
U Saw Saw Lin Tun.
The intention is to improve online
safely, he told reporters at the Nay Pyi
Taw offices of the new unit on May 29.
In the near future, Myanmar people will adopt online payment systems
where their passwords might be stolen
by hackers. We will raise public awareness and try to increase online safety,
including by stopping such attacks in
advance, said the deputy director.
The new department was formed
by a team from Myanma Post and
Telecommunications that specialises
in eGovernment matters. It will work
in collaboration with international
organisations.
We have already connected with
the ASEAN sub-region and the AsiaPacific region. As problems arise, we
will solve them by working together,
the deputy director said. Htoo Thant,
translation by Thiri Min Htun

News 7

www.mmtimes.com

Views

Mitigating the boat people crisis


THITINAN
PONGSUDHIRAK
newsroom@mmtimes.com

EYOND a few obvious facts,


working out what to do
with the many thousands
of boat people who have
been stuck in the vast sea
straddling South and Southeast Asia
in pursuit of jobs and better livelihoods is a difficult proposition.
These new waves of boat people
have trained the international spotlight on longstanding regional issues
of human smuggling and persecution,
as well as the poverty of the victims.
Tracing their origins, handling their
suffering at sea and finding longerterm solutions pose challenges for the
countries involved and for the international community more broadly.
The flight and plight of these people
in the Indian Ocean have become an
intractable conundrum that must be
addressed through a regional framework with international backing that
goes beyond any single country.
What is known is that loads of
people from the areas in the vicinity
of Bangladesh and Myanmar have
traversed the adjacent sea lanes in
rickety fishing boats toward Thailand,
Malaysia and Indonesia in Southeast
Asia. Their geographic origins, ethnic
make-up, destination aims and future
aspirations are a matter of contention among the countries in question. Whether to call them migrants,
refugees, or asylum seekers let alone
Rohingya or Bengali is similarly
contentious.
Yet it is unmistakeable that these
boat people are being exploited by a
hidden and illicit regional trade in
labour that involves not only physical
maltreatment and abuse by greedy
and cruel middlemen, but also the
collusion and corruption of authorities from the countries concerned.
It is also clear, in view of the
risks taken and hardship conditions
endured, that they must be escaping
conditions of poverty and/or persecution. Moreover, the issue of the boat
people has become politicised at
the regional, bilateral and domestic
levels, and there is a lack of international consensus on better ways to
approach it.
That much is agreed. The rest is
murky and disputed, and remains to
be worked out.
Myanmar has been at the centre of
the controversy. It is said that the vast
majority of the boat people derive
from Rakhine State, a persecuted
Muslim minority whom the countrys
Buddhist majority deeply detests and
the government refuses to recognise
with proper citizen and residential
rights. The boat people crisis has
stoked old wounds of political confrontation within Myanmar between
the military-dominated government
and dissident groups inside and outside the country who have opposed
Myanmars reforms since 2011.
Dissident groups have seized
on the opportunity to pounce on
Myanmars government and the
opposition alike, not sparing even
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has
been lambasted for not speaking up
for the Rohingya boat people. For
most Myanmar people, however, the
Rohingya are not the problem they
are Bengali denizens who should
return to Bangladesh. Myanmar thus
does not favour a regional framework
to deal with the boat people because
most Myanmar people, as well as the

Indonesian Red Cross workers take a Rohingya child for a medical check-up at a camp in Kuala Cangkoi in Indonesias Aceh province on May 30. Photo: AFP

government and opposition, do not


recognise the Rohingya.
If the global and local dissident
groups want to deal with Myanmars
government, opposition and society
more effectively, they will have to be
more nuanced and respectful. The
first step, as ever, is to stop calling Myanmar Burma and Yangon
Rangoon. Grinding old axes against
the Myanmar authorities will get the
boat people nowhere. Myanmars
reform pathways are bumpy and
flawed but still an infinite improvement on conditions and prospects
prior to 2011.
Evidence from interviews of boat
people who have landed near Aceh
in Indonesia indicates that many of
them are from Bangladesh. Bangladeshi media has openly called on
its government to do a better job of
eradicating extreme poverty so that
desperate Bangladeshis are not enticed to leave in the first place.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has
also publicly criticised both middlemen traffickers and the Bangladeshi
immigrants, who she says have
tainted the countrys image. Clearly,
the narrative of the boat people is
lopsided and more attention needs to
be focused on Bangladesh including
what it has done and not done as a
source of the boat peoples plight.
For Malaysia, the issue is as much
domestic as regional. As chair of
ASEAN, Malaysia cannot afford to let
the crisis of the boat people, some of
whose remains have been unearthed
in mass graves, derail its regional
leadership agenda and its chance to
shine, especially in the launch year of
the ASEAN Community.

The chairing of the bloc is also


seen as a possible means for Prime
Minister Najib Razak to boost his embattled domestic political position at
a time when he is being challenged by
corruption scandals and manoeuvres
within the ruling Barisan Nasional.
Success from ASEANs regional efforts
and the community launch can shore
up Mr Najibs standing. This is why
Malaysia has been more forthcoming
in allowing detention centres and
camps to be set up to accommodate
desperate boat people coming ashore.

The boat people


crisis has stoked old
wounds of political
confrontation
between the
military-dominated
government and
dissident groups.

Indonesia has also been more accommodating. As the largest Muslim


country and an up-and-coming nation
with a fresh president who wants to
prove himself worthy at home and
abroad, Indonesia can hardly turn
a callous eye to the predominantly
Muslim boat people. For Indonesia,
it is about the spirit and community
of Islam as much as humanitarian

imperative. If Malaysia and Indonesia can see eye to eye and lend joint
hands to alleviate the boat peoples
sufferings, the way ahead will be
more promising.
Thailand is another bystander
country with direct stakes. It is a
notorious transit country that spawns
a wide variety of transnational crimes
and the trafficking of migrant labour,
drugs and other illicit trades. Having
provided sanctuaries and succour
to countless refugees from war and
conflict in Indochina in the 1970s and
1980s and, later on, Myanmars minority groups, Thailand is not a country to be accused of cold and careless
treatment of suffering neighbours.
The boat people crisis has fed into
Thailands own domestic political polarisation. The more conservative and
pro-coup segments of Thai society have
been dead-set against allowing the boat
people to set foot on Thai soil, whereas
the other anti-coup and pro-election
side has been more sympathetic. With
Malaysia and Indonesia more accommodating toward the boat people,
Thailands geographical luck is coming
into play. If diplomatic skills and political acumen can be deployed, Thailand
is likely to be one step removed from
the centre of the action, a transit and
facilitation point with adequate humanitarian assistance without location
commitments. Positioning naval vessels
in the sea to provide humanitarian
supplies and medical and other assistance is a step in the right direction.
After a year of government from
a putsch and relative alienation
from the international community,
Thailands military-led regime is now
banking on a regional role with

international involvement to address


the boat people crisis. If done right, it
will be the first time the coup government gains broad, implicit recognition
from the international community. If
handled ineptly, the coup government
will be demonstrating its true colours.
The stakes are also high for
ASEAN. The 10-member grouping
initially displayed its usual ineffectual
stance but once the self-interest of the
ASEAN chair took hold and regional
peer pressure from international
prodding escalated, ASEAN began
coming round, little by little. It will
not be able to go all the way in solving the crisis but collective ASEAN
efforts among Malaysia, Indonesia
and Thailand, with quiet personal
diplomacy and nuanced persuasion,
may be enough to entice Myanmar
to take part in a regional framework
aimed at solving the crisis. Such prospects will be more likely if international backing and commitments for
near-term assistance and longer-term
resettlement are made available.
The crisis of the boat people is
close to intractable and crosses lines
of history, geography, ethnicity, and
religion a 21st-century imbroglio that
requires domestic economic development, effective regional responses,
and global attention and support. Its
important to remember that domestic
problems that spill over into the regional domain can still be sufficiently
mitigated without unconscionable
humanitarian costs.
Thitinan Pongsudhirak is associate
professor and director of the Institute
of Security and International Studies at
Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

8 THE MYANMAR TIMES JUNE 2, 2015

Business
KYAUKPHYU

Villagers hear from both sides


of big coal in Rakhine State
SU PHYO
WIN
suphyo1990@gmail.com

VILLAGERS are planning to send


a petition to the chief minister of
Rakhine State protesting a newly
announced coal-fired plant in
Kyaukphyu township.
Opposition to coal power has
led to protests in places like Mon
State aimed at opposing the fuel.
Yet proponents of coal say it provides a cheap source of muchneeded electricity generation.
Citizens of Alaedun village
tract in Kyaukphyu township say
a consortium is planning a coal
plant for 600 to 1000 acres near
their village.
Company officials said the
US$2.5 billion project is a joint
venture of MCM Energy, Daewoo
Company and the Ministry of
Electric Power, and will eventually
be able to produce 660 megawatts
of electricity from two generators,
for a combined total of 1320MW.
Several advocacy organisations
have begun outreach in the area,
aiming to halt the project, while
company officials are also talking
to villagers to win their support.
U Tun Lwin, coordinator of
Kyaukphyu Social Network, said
Rakhine chief minister U Maung
Maung Ohn had said the project
would be halted if locals are set
against it.
We are sending our voices to
him that we strongly protest this
project, he said.
Rakhine State should not be
reliant on coal when just offshore
there are large reserves of natural
gas, a cleaner-burning fuel, according to U Tun Kyi, secretary
general of the Association for Rural Development in Kyaukphyu.
Coal plants are dropping in
number all over the world because
of the environmental impacts,
he said. And our state has a lot
of natural gas that wont harm
the surroundings. So what are the
companies going to do? They will
carry their poison here, produce
electricity, and then take it away.
The plant was announced on
May 6, and is a joint venture between South Koreas Daewoo International Corporation, MCM
Energy Company and Ministry of
Electric Power.
MCM Energy project director
U Tin Soe said everybody should
free to make up their own mind
about coal power.
When a group of people go to
the villagers and rail at the head
of the villagers only about coals
disadvantages, without bringing up the plusses, the villagers
change their mind, he said.
Still, some villagers understand the benefits of the project,
and want it to start as soon as possible, he said.
Power stations need to be constructed if the low electrification rate of about 30pc are to be

Big coal has its critics. Photo: Myo Kyaw Soe

improved on Bangkok, for instance, uses more power than all


of Myanmar.
Planning for the project began in June 2014. In November, a
proposal was sent to the Ministry
of Electric Power for a coal-fired
plant to be built in Yangons Thanlyin township.
Local people welcomed the
project, but unfortunately the water depth was not great enough,
said U Tin Soe yesterday.
So we chose a village near

We want a supply
of electricity very
much. If it destroys
our clean and safe
environment, we
would rather not
use it. But if we can
get it in a way that
wont harm our
surroundings, we
are in favour of the
plant.
U Thant Zin
Local villager

Kyaukphyu which has adequate


depth and is near a deep-sea port
for fuel shipments.
The land we have chosen is
not currently cultivated, and is
only 7 miles from the national
grid, he said
The ministry forwarded the
request to the Presidents Office,
which replied in January 2015 that
it could go ahead, provided it received support from local people.
If locals dont agree, we will
try as much as we can to explain
how we will tackle the project, and
what side effects will rise. If they
dont agree, we will give up on the
project and look for another place
where people agree.
Even if locals sign on, it will
take some time for the project to
be developed. A memorandum of
understanding must be signed,
followed by a feasibility study and
then a memorandum of agreement with the Ministry of Electric
Power.
U Tin Soe said the firm had
chosen to use coal over natural
gas as the former fuel is much
cheaper and will allow for a much
greater lifespan of 113 years.
Even in rich countries like
America, 45pc of its power comes
from coal, and from Germany,
41pc of its power is coal. Its impractical to rely only on one resource, natural gas, to meet the
entire countrys needs. We need
other, backup power sources to
meet future rising demand.
Yet the plans detractors are

actively canvassing villagers, advocating they oppose the project.


U Tun Lwin said MCM Company had come promising a range
of regional development and environmental preservation activities,
which had won over some local
villagers.
As soon as we heard about
this, we went to the village along
with other activists and specialists
and let them know about the effects of these type of projects, he
said. No one agrees with it now.
Some villagers said that while
they are against environmental
damage to the area, they also see
an urgent requirement for electricity generation.
A monastery in nearby Ma U
Pyein village played host to a public meeting on the coal plant on
May 22. It is about 1.5 miles (2.4
kilometres) from where the plant
is to be built.
The village itself has one generator, which is able to create only a
little electricity for lighting at the
best of times. When The Myanmar
Times visited, it was not the best
of times, and the generator was
out of order indefinitely.
Local resident U Thant Zin, 33,
said he has been living off the grid
since he was born.
We want a supply of electricity
very much. If it destroys our clean
and safe environment, we would
rather not use it, he said.
But if we can get it in a way
that wont harm our surroundings,
we are in favour of the plant.

Urban laws
stuck in
draft stage
MYAT NYEIN AYE
myatnyeinaye11092@gmail.com
TIN YADANAR TUN
yadanar.mcm@gmail.com
THE country needs modernised urban
planning laws to keep with a rapidly
changing real estate market, as legacy
laws are unsuited for the purpose, according to experts.
Yangon in particular faces numerous challenges that were not anticipated when the current urban planning
rules were put in place.
A slate of new laws and rules have
been drafted, but they have been slow
to become law. They have sat idle for
various reasons, according to U Than
Moe, a consultant with UN-HABITAT
and a retired official from the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development.
If we want Yangon to be a liveable
and a beautiful city, we should have
modern laws for developing urban
space, he said.
For instance, the Yangon City and
Regional Development Plan currently
in use was drawn up by the Ministry of
Construction in 1968. It is too outdated
to be practical, he said.
Yangon is changing into a modern
city. There are a number of high-rise
buildings, mixed-use developments and
new housing projects, and they need to
be systematically built according to the
laws, he said.
Drafts plans for Yangon city was
completed by experts from Yangon City
Development Committee, the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development, the Ministry of Construction, and the Japan International
Cooperation Agency. One of the plans
is called Yangon Vision 2040, and the
other is the Yangon Strategic Plan, finished in 2013.
U Than Moe said that even though
the plans are good, they have not yet
been approved.
As soon as they are legally approved,
they can be put to work, he said.
Additionally, a zoning plan and a
high-rise limit zone plan have been
drafted since 2014 and 2012 respectively, said Daw Hlaing Maw Oo, member
of the drafting committee for the zoning plan and director at the Ministry of
Construction.
Zoning is an absolute necessity for
every city. Thats why we, urban planners, suggested to the authorities that
we should draw up and plans, and we
have, she said. But theyre not in place
yet because they have not been made
legal by the government.
Further laws are in the works.
Drafts of a national housing development law, a new town development
law and a groundwater management
law have been completed by experts
from the Ministry of Constructions
Department of Human Settlement
and Housing Development. Department director U Win Naing said
while the drafts have been completed,
they are only at the early stages and
still some time from being put before
parliament.
Other draft laws have made it further. A condominium law, which is
expected to allow foreigners to own
some condo units, has been drafted
in 2013 and even discussed in parliament. However, differences of opinion
between parliamentarians, the drafting
committee and businesspeople have so
far placed the law in purgatory.

BUSINESS EDITOR: Jeremy Mullins | jeremymullins7@gmail.com

Thilawa drawing lots


of interest from Japanbased companies

Greek leader blasts


creditors for absurd
demands

BUSINESS 10

BUSINESS 13

Six months on, MEB


still main T-bill buyer
AYE THIDAR KYAW
ayethidarkyaw@gmail.com
STATE-OWNED Myanma Economic Bank continues to dominate
the bi-weekly government Treasury bill auction nearly six months
after it began.
The Central Bank of Myanmar
has held the auctions once every
fortnight since mid-January to provide an alternate source of government borrowing.
Several Central Bank and Ministry of Finance sources told The
Myanmar Times that Myanma
Economic Bank continues to be the
main buyer in the fortnightly auctions, with its participation only
increasing.
The bond auctions have been
urged by various experts and organisations as another avenue to
finance budget deficits. The government deficit is set to grow this year
on the back of increased spending,
with a drop in natural gas export
revenues also likely to affect the
bottom line.
The auctions have seen little interest from non-state banks,
however, with Myanma Economic
Bank purchasing about 80 percent
of each issue.
One concern is that the interest rates have been too low to attract private sector interest. The
May 20 auction from the Central
Bank offered rates of 7.5pc per annum for its bills, which mature in
three months, below the 8pc that
experts say is necessary. As a result,
only about half of the K50 billion
(US$46 million) worth of bonds on
offer were sold.
Interest rates on loans are

capped at 13pc and the floor on deposits is 8pc, which affects all banks
including Myanma Economic Bank.
U Mya Than, chair of Myanmar Oriental Bank and a former
senior Myanma Economic Bank
official, said state banks usually
take a traditional view and are cautious about investments. Still, state
banks must also take in at least 8pc
to be able to pay depositors.
So even if yields from bonds are
less than deposits, they will try to
reduce their losses while they buy
bonds, he said.
A Myanma Economic Bank
manager based in Nay Pyi Taw said
a large portion of the banks revenues go to credit-worthy government borrowers.
Our policy when investing in
Treasury bills is that they are more
secure than [generating revenue
from] loans, he said. The bank is
picky with what organisations it
lends to, claiming a low non-performing loan ratio of 2pc, he added.
Commercial banks can also afford to buy bonds if they yield more
than 8pc. Currently, most domestic
banks lend out about 70 to 75pc of
total deposits, meaning they must
generate even more revenue as
there are more deposits than loans.
A 5pc reserve requirement also cuts
down on cash that banks are able
to lend out.
The government also issues
treasury bonds of longer maturity
terms through private placement,
with interest rates from one year of
8pc and five years of 9.5pc.
Myanmar Economic Bank and
Myanmar Securities Exchange Centre have been the underwriters for
government bonds since 2010.

Exchange Rates (June 1 close)


Currency
Euro
Malaysia Ringitt
Singapore Dollar
Thai Baht
US Dollar

Buying
K1183
K297
K800
K32
K1097

Selling
K1202
K306
K813
K34
K1099

Mobile penetration
reaches half the country
HTOO
THANT
thanhtoo.npt@gmail.com

MOBILE penetration rates have increased to over 50 percent, according


to the Ministry of Communication and
Information Technology.
State-owned MPT is still the mobile phone market leader, claiming

Myanmars mobile
penetration is now 54.6pc

65 percent of all SIMs in the market,


though its foreign rivals are also growing rapidly.
MPT was the sole telecoms service
provider until August last year, when
it was joined by first Ooredoo and then
Telenor. As of the end of March, MPT
had 18.4 million SIMs in the market,
while Ooredoo had 3.3 million SIMs
and Telenor 6.4 million SIMs, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology permanent secretary
U Khin Maung Thet said.
This totals 28.1 million SIMs in
the market as of March 31, representing a penetration rate of 54.6 percent.
The recently-released census figures
showed 32.9pc of people had a phone
as of a year ago.
That translates into a 65pc market
share for MPT, 22pc for Telenor and
11pc for Ooredoo. MPTs lead is expected, as the company has been selling SIM cards for years, while Telenor
and Ooredoo have had less than a year
in the country.
Different measures exist to quantify what is an active SIM card, though
the industry standard to declare a SIM
active is that it has conducted an event
like a call or accessed the internet at
some point in the past three months.
The three main telcos are now
locked in a struggle for subscribers
while extending coverage across the
country. The companies have been
recently dropping tariffs, with Telenor
and Ooredoo also offer some rates
that are lower than MPTs. Notably,
Telenor charges K25 a minute on voice
calls and Ooredoo charges K20, while
MPT charges K35 for most numbers.
U Saw Htoo Thar, an official with

the ministry, said that he cannot comment directly on market strategy pursued by different companies.
We are not competing in a shortduration race. We are competing for
a long distance, he said. U Saw Htoo
Thar said that MPT had offered some
programs like Swe Thahar so people
can use cheaper services.
MPT has a joint operations agreement with KDDI and Sumitomo Corporation from Japan.
Translation by Thiri Min Htun

Mobile penetration was


32.9pc in April 2014

SMALL BUSINESS

Farmers unload
onions to avoid rain
MYAT NOE OO
myatnoe.mcm@gmail.com
THE onion harvest has coincided
with higher prices, but it is difficult
for farmers to take advantage of the
increase.
While there are opportunities
for better selling terms, farmers
say they are quick to unload their
bounty at the earliest opportunity.
Onions are particularly sensitive
to water damage, which makes storing them a challenge with the onset
of the rainy season. Many farmers
prefer to simply sell their crops as
soon as they are harvested, rather
than store it and take a chance of
spoilage.
Farmers are always worried their
crops will be destroyed. A few drops
of rain splashed in a warehouse will
ruin the whole crop, said Ko Zaw
Zaw Nyein, an onion farmer in Pay
Pin village of Mandalay Region.
Onions take about six months to
grow. They are usually planted in
November and harvested in April.
Early rains also take a toll on
onions still in the field, often destroying them and encouraging
early harvest.

Onions now fetch about K300 a


viss (1.6 kilograms or 3.6 pounds)
from wholesalers, up from K200 earlier in the year. Yet onion farmers are
reluctant to shop around for better
prices, as their crops risk being destroyed the longer they sit idle.
Merchants are able to increase
the price they receive much further,
to around K500 a viss, said Ko Zaw
Zaw Nyein.
Armed with better warehousing that protects their stores, many
merchants buy at low prices during the harvest, and then store the
crops for a sale later in the year, or
search out a superior price.

A few drops of
rain splashed in
a warehouse will
ruin the whole
crop.
Ko Zaw Zaw Nyein
Onion farmer

Some farmers are in a hurry to sell their onion harvests. Photo: Staff

The price is slowly increasing,


said Ko Moe Kyaw, an onion merchant from the same area in Mandalay Region. We sell onions at a big
price in the rainy season, because we
are careful to store them properly.
Yesterday, onions sold for K600
a viss on Yangon retail markets.

The price depends heavily on where


the crops are sold and the effects of
the rainy season.
Customers, too, often buy onions
as needed, as they have difficulty storing them during the rainy season.
Ma May Aung, a resident of
Yangons Yankin township, said

even though the price is rising, she


must space out her purchases, as
she does not have a completely dry
place to store them.
I constantly buy onions to make
curry, she said.
Even if the price is up, we eat
them nearly every day.

10 Business

THE MYANMAR TIMES JUNE 2, 2015

Thilawa interest
coming from Japan
KO KO AUNG
pmkokoaung@gmail.com
HTIN LYNN AUNG
htynlynnaung@gmail.com
OVER half of the 42 companies that
have committed to building in Thilawa special economic zone are Japanese firms, according to U Myint Zaw,
general manager of Myanmar Japan
Thilawa Development.
While there are currently no factories up and running at the site,
construction is moving forward and
some of the factories ought to be finished by the end of the year, he said.
There are still a lot more companies that will come in, said U Myint
Zaw, on the sidelines of BuildTech
Yangon last week.
The zone is 51 percent owned by
Myanmar government and companies, and 49pc by Japan International
Cooperation Agency and three private firms. The zone offers tax incentives and on-site facilities in an effort
to attract investment.
There are no factories currently
operating in Thilawa. But to have
them operating by the end of 2015,
more companies are building the infrastructure, he said.

Of the companies that have committed to the SEZ, 22 are from Japan,
five are Myanmars, four are from Taiwan, three from Thailand, two from
China, and the US, Sweden, Australia,
Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong
each claim one.
U Nyan Thit Hlaing, joint secretary of Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Association, said infrastructure development is crucial to
bringing in investment.
Investors are now working on
developing infrastructure, and that
technology is more important for local construction companies. So long
as investors are flowing in, the construction market will boom, he said.
Some commentators have said that
Myanmar is due for a large influx of
foreign cash for the project. U Than
Lwin, senior adviser to KBZ Bank, said
that much of the money is earmarked
for construction materials.
A US-based beverage producer
and a Japanese auto parts manufacturer were the first two companies
to sign up for the SEZ in June 2014.
Developers aim to wrap up work on
the first phase of the zone next year,
as well as creating tens of thousands
of jobs.

BEIJING

Chinese auto imports


now need parking spot
BEIJING plans to require local drivers to show proof they have secured a
parking space before buying a vehicle
as it battles congestion and pollution.
The city aims to introduce the rule
next year, vice mayor Zhang Yankun
said at a meeting in the capital on May
29. If implemented, Beijing will be the
first city in China to require parking
proof for a vehicle purchase. Tokyo has
a similar requirement, as does Yangon.
The rule, proposed as early as 2010
as part of a package of measures to
regulate traffic, could put an additional damper on vehicle sales in Chinas
capital, which started to cap the number of new license plates in the same
year. The city began awarding new
licences through a lottery system in
2011.
The tricky part is how would the
government enforce such rules, said
Harry Chen, an analyst with Guotai Junan Securities in Shenzhen. Other cities may follow suit and roll out similar
policies. One thing is for sure: Parking
costs will rise because of this.

Oldest property
website receives large
regional investment
CATHERINE
TRAUTWEIN
newsroom@mmtimes.com

THE countrys oldest online property portal, Shweproperty.com,


has secured significant six-digit
funding from a regional investor,
the company announced.
The website run for years
on a lean budget will use the
investment to increase the companys value proposition for its
audiences, according to a press
release.
We are planning to do more
marketing and to hire more salespeople to reach the regions, to
offer better customer service to
our clients, said the companys
founder and managing director,
Ko Kaung Thu Win.
We want to ... get more people to connect online, especially
real estate agents as they still use
journals.
The funding injection follows
similar investments in budding
online businesses such as iMyanmarhouse.com and Rocket Internet start-up Motors.com.mm.
At six figures, investor Justin

Sway who left Myanmar at age


four and went on to start a market-leading recruitment software
company in Australia called the
backing serious.

Theres still a huge


opportunity [in
digital] and the
turning point will
be in two or three
years.
Justin Sway
Shwe Property investor

Mr Sway first met Ko Kaung


Thu Win on a trip passing through
Myanmar a few months ago. He remembers heading to a condo with
betel nut in the corner to meet
Shwe Propertys tech-nerd founder,
who, despite running the company
on a shoestring, had kept the portal competitive to the point that it
ranked third in terms of traffic for
Myanmars property sites.
Im thinking, How is he doing

this? Mr Sway said.


He wasnt drawing a salary.
You could see it was really tight.
Mr Sway also said that a few
months ago, Shwe Property
ranked as the number one keyword search for property.
I thought, Lets invest with
him. If he can do that with pretty
much bootstrapping, what can he
do with serious six-digit [funding] behind him?
In May, the site generated
more than 120,000 page views
and its user count cleared 10,000,
according to Google Analytics.
The firms next chapter will include product development with
continued emphasis on market
personalisation. Faced will challenges around Myanmars lack
of postal codes, the company is
working on a location mechanism, according to Ko Kaung Thu
Win.
Meanwhile, Mr Sway said the
Myanmar online marketplace was
headed for explosive growth in
the next few years.
Im familiar with most of the
major investments in digital ...
Theres still a huge opportunity
and the turning point will be in
two or three years, he said.
Without a doubt, itll go ballistic, said Mr Sway.

Parking has become a problem in


Beijing, and in many Chinese cities,
as new office and shopping developments draw more traffic to the city
centre than there is parking space.
Motorists often park illegally on side
roads, or in residential compounds,
blocking traffic and causing heated
disputes.
To alleviate congestion, Beijing already bars cars from roads on specific
days each week depending on the last
digit of the licence plate. Drivers of
vehicles not registered in the city also
need to get a permit before entering
the capital.
The proposed rule, if implemented,
may hit younger buyers disproportionately. Many young Chinese live with
their parents, even after marriage, as
rising property prices make ownership increasingly unaffordable. Most
high-rise residential complexes also
have fewer parking lots than there are
apartments, and spaces arent allocated to individual vehicle owners.
Bloomberg

TRADE MARK CAUTION


Johnson & Johnson, a corporation organized and existing under
the laws of the State of New Jersey, U.S.A., of One Johnson &
Johnson Plaza, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08933 U.S.A., is the
Owner of the following Trade Mark:-

PRYMABDA

Reg. No. 18851/2014


in respect of Intl Class 5: Human pharmaceutical preparations.
Fraudulent imitation or unauthorised use of the said Trade Mark
will be dealt with according to law.
Win Mu Tin, M.A., H.G.P., D.B.L
for Johnson & Johnson
P. O. Box 60, Yangon
E-mail: makhinkyi.law@mptmail.net.mm
Dated: 2 June 2015

IN PICTURES

An Indian labourer uses a welding torch at a roadside


metal shop in Mumbai. Indias factory output rose to a
four-month high in May on increased demand, a survey
showed yesterday, in a further boost for the economy
after data showed it was outgrowing China. Photo: AFP

International Business 11

www.mmtimes.com
KUALA LUMPUR

Axe swings at Malaysia Airlines


MALAYSIA Airlines is technically
bankrupt, its new German CEO said
yesterday as the carrier slashed 6,000
jobs as part of plans to recover from
deadly disasters and a long run of red
ink.
Christoph Mueller made public
his plans for the troubled flag carrier
for the first time since the aviation
turnaround specialist was brought in
on May 1 to save it from collapse.
They include the thousands of job
cuts expected but made official yesterday a trimmed route network, a
revamped brand image and an overhaul of the companys organisation
and operations.
Mr Mueller, whose job-cutting
stints at Irelands Aer Lingus and Belgiums Sabena earned him the nickname The Terminator, said Malaysia Airlines desperate situation made
drastic action unavoidable.
We are technically bankrupt and
that decline of performance started
long before the tragic events of 2014,
Mr Mueller told reporters, referring
to a pair of disasters that rocked the
already loss-making airline last year.
The restructuring process will

In fairness, these Malaysia Airlines employees do not have much to smile


about. Photo: AFP

start today with a hard reset.


Beset by poor management, Malaysia Airlines had struggled for years
to remain competitive, posting losses
for most of the past five years.
But its two shocking disasters in

SEOUL

China, Korea formally


begin free trade deal
CHINA and South Korea yesterday
formally signed a free trade agreement (FTA) that would remove most
tariffs between Asias largest and
fourth-largest economies, whose
trade is already worth more than
US$200 billion.
The pact largely agreed in November and signed by the two nations trade ministers yesterday
aims to gradually remove tariffs on
more than 90 percent of traded goods
within 20 years.
China is the Souths top trading
partner as well as the biggest export
market, and two-way trade stood at
around $235.3 billion in 2014, according to state data in Seoul.
South Korea is also one of the
biggest foreign investors in China,
pumping in some $1.6 billion in the
first quarter of this year.
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, in a letter to Chinese leader
Xi Jinping, called the accord a historic milestone that would further
cement relations.
The Korea-China FTA will ... take
the bilateral ties that had been built
over the years to a whole new level,
Ms Park said in the letter delivered to
the visiting Chinese Trade Minister
Gao Hucheng.

Pending mandatory parliamentary approval, the FTA will allow small


and medium-sized South Korean
firms greater access to Chinas vast
consumer market and help create
more than 50,000 jobs in the South,
Seouls trade ministry said.
In particular, exports of consumer goods in fashion, cosmetics, home
appliances and high-end food products will increase greatly, it said in
a statement.
The agreement will remove tariffs on 71pc of South Korean exports
to China in 10 years and 91pc in 20
years.
Seoul will in return remove tariffs on 79pc of Chinese imports in 10
years and 92pc in 20 years.
Negotiations for the agreement,
which began in May 2012, have often
been marred by angry protests by
South Korean farmers who feared an
influx of cheap Chinese imports.
The final pact excluded many of
South Koreas major farming and
fisheries goods like rice, beef, pork,
pepper and squid.
By the same token, China excluded or delayed the opening of its relatively less-developed manufacturing
segments such as the auto sector and
display panel production. AFP

JAKARTA

Indonesian inflation
accelerates on food
INDONESIAS inflation accelerated
in May to its highest level in five
months due to increased food prices, data showed yesterday, as people stocked up before the Islamic
holy month of Ramadan.
The consumer price index rose
7.15 percent year-on-year, according
to the official statistics agency, faster
than expected and up from a 6.79pc
increase in April. It was the highest
level since 8.36pc in December.
Inflation in Southeast Asias biggest economy has been edging up in

recent months due mainly to higher


fuel costs, after the government at
the start of the year almost totally
abolished huge subsidies and let
petrol prices float with the market.
In May, however, the main driver was the higher cost of staples
such as chicken and chilli as people stocked up ahead of the fasting
month of Ramadan, which starts in
mid-June.
Food prices typically rise before
Ramadan as people buy more food to
give away to the less fortunate. AFP

2014 were the final straw, pushing the


carrier to the brink of collapse.
In March of last year Flight MH370
disappeared with 239 passengers and
crew aboard and remains missing.
Four months later Flight MH17 was

blown out of the sky, killing all 298


aboard, by a suspected ground-to-air
missile over Ukraine.
A Malaysian state investment
fund took the reeling airline over late
last year, later tapping Mr Mueller to
take the helm. He is the companys
first non-Malaysian CEO.
Yesterday, the airline said it had
issued termination letters to all of its
roughly 20,000 employees, followed
by new contracts offered to 14,000 of
them as it aims to slim down.
Mr Mueller said the 6000 job losses were necessary as the company
suffered from cost burdens 20 percent higher than those sustained by
its rivals. Under Mr Mueller, 52, the
carrier plans to re-invent itself beginning from September 1 with a yetto-be-revealed new brand image and
livery as it seeks to shed the stigma
of disaster.
Mr Mueller indicated a name
change was possible.
But the plans were attacked by
the carriers flight attendants union,
which said employees were paying
the price for the companys poor
management over the years. AFP

Thailand aim for


equality at Dawei
Thailand, Japan and Myanmar
will have equal voting rights in
mapping out the development plan
of the Dawei special economic
zone regardless of their respective investments, according to a
proposal.
Thailand will propose the idea
of equal voting rights, as it does
not want Japan to dictate the
development of the multi-billiondollar project even if the latter
has a higher shareholding than
the former, said a source at the
Neighbouring Countries Economic
Development Cooperation Agency
(NEDA).
The Japanese government
expressed interest in the joint
development of Dawei after
Myanmar committed to the project
by approving a 138-kilometre
(86-mile) road linking Thailands
Kanchanaburi province with the
megaproject, the source said.
Arkhom Termpitayapaisith,
secretary-general of the National
Economic and Social Development Board, earlier said Japan
would sign a tripartite agreement
in July for the joint development
of Dawei.
- The Bangkok Post

12 International Business
TOKYO

Japan
boosts its
corporate
rules
JAPAN yesterday adopted a corporate
governance code that backers hope
will usher in a new era of transparency
for investors and nudge firms to spend
some of their massive cash piles.
Long accused of being inattentive
to minority and foreign shareholders,
and of lacking strong oversight from
their boards, Japanese companies are
being called on to comply with the
changes or explain why they cannot.
The hope is that outliers will be
shamed into falling in line with reforms that include calls for companies
to have at least two independent directors and better communication with
shareholders.
Issuing timely, market-sensitive
information in both English and Japanese, acting in investors interests by
redeploying cash more effectively, and
whistleblower protections are among
the other changes.
Japan has long lagged its overseas
peers in corporate governance, something critics blame for holding back
investment in the countrys firms and
hurting Japan Incs reputation abroad.
The code, which officially came
into effect today, is seen as a key part
of Prime Minister Shinzo Abes broader bid to kickstart Japans economy.
Some firms have taken the hint.
Cash-rich factory robot maker Fanuc recently said it would double its
dividend payout and open its first-ever
investor relations department sending its stock skyward.
Other companies have announced
big share buybacks cautious Japanese
firms have a whopping US$1.85 trillion
in cash on their books and they face
growing calls to use it more effectively.
Japanese firms didnt see a need
to change their ways because they
were not being pushed hard enough,
said Tony Tan, head of the CFA Institutes Asia-Pacific standards and financial market integrity division.
Wholesale change is still a long
way off, he said, adding but at least
there is a mechanism in place.
Last year, the JPX-Nikkei 400 index
was launched to highlight firms with
the best return on equity and other
shareholder-friendly criteria.
Tokyo has encouraged Japans national pension fund the worlds biggest to invest in firms listed on the
new index.
The [pension fund] can play a
huge role by withholding investment
in non-compliant firms, Mr Tan said.
It will move the needle.
Insider-controlled boards have
been blamed for a lack of oversight
linked to a series of accounting scandals, including one several years ago at
camera giant Olympus.
The proportion of independent
outside directors out of all directors
at more than 1700 firms listed on the
Tokyo bourses first section was about
9 percent in 2013 compared with
about 70pc in the United States and
50pc in Britain.
The reforms can and will be a
conduit for corporate change, Nicholas Benes, head of the Board Director
Training Institute of Japan, told a corporate governance seminar in Tokyo
last month. The purpose of the code
is to change mindsets.
But critics warn that real change
could be a long time in coming and
say the effect is diluted because the
code is still voluntary. It sends a positive message to the market, but its effect will not be seen immediately its
mid-to-long term by nature, said Jun
Yokoyama, senior researcher at Daiwa
Institute of Research. AFP

THE MYANMAR TIMES JUNE 2, 2015

MACAU

Casino island makes a gamble


residents want to buy are no longer
available, with local shops replaced by tourist-friendly stores,
48-year-old restaurant owner Vong
Kam-koc said.
If you want to ride the bus, you
cant. You cant ride a taxi. This is a
burden on Macau, the city has not
done enough in preparing for this.
There is also the problem of
mainland tourists ditching Macau,
which also has a World Heritagelisted historic centre, for destinations further afield.
Mainlanders are fleeing Hong
Kong and Macau and looking for
new experiences, a report by brokerage CLSA said in April.
Anti-corruption measures, which
are here to stay, are exacerbating that
process, it said.
The high price of food and accommodation are an additional
deterrent. The cost of items here is
quite high even when compared to
Hong Kong, says hotel worker Rayson Chow, visiting from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
Some, however, see Macaus reinvention as a positive new beginning for the island.
Because of the casinos, it is not
proper for children to come here to
play, said Celia Liu, a 22-year-old
student, also from Shenzhen.
If you create other things that
are family-friendly, where you can
also bring children or the elderly
along to relax, then it would be very
good.
The reining-in of junkets and
big spenders is also seen by some
as a plus. Where did the VIPs get
their money? Are the VIPs corrupt
officials? said one Macau civil servant in his 50s, who gave his name
as Wong.
I wouldnt want Macau making
money from these people.
Bloomberg

A man looks at gaming machines at the Global Gaming Expo Asia in the worlds biggest gambling hub of Macau.
Photo: Bloomberg

WITH casino revenues in Macau


in freefall due to Beijings anticorruption crackdown and a slowing Chinese economy, the gambling hub is hoping to reinvent
itself as a family-friendly mass
market destination.
But the enclaves plan to replace
the high-rolling elite with tourists
drawn by new entertainmentfocused mega-resorts will not be
plain sailing.
Macaus creaking infrastructure
is already struggling to cope with
visitor numbers, and analysts and
residents question how the city
can accommodate the influx necessary to make up for the loss of
VIP gamblers.
Casino operators cannot expect the return of the good old
days, says Macau expert Sonny
Lo of the Hong Kong Institute of
Education.
Mr Lo says the success of Macaus reinvention depends on consumers appetite for both mass
market gaming and non-gambling
entertainment.
It remains to be seen whether
tourists are developing this taste.
Even then, the boom heights
of the past decade will be hard to
reach, Mr Lo says.
Consumers on the mass market cannot compensate for the
huge amount of money spent in
VIP rooms.
Macau soared past Las Vegas as
the worlds gambling capital after
opening up to international operators in 2001 and raked in more
than seven times as much as its US
counterpart last year.
However, it is now being forced
to follow Vegass lead and transform from a hardcore gambling
hub into a destination with much
broader appeal.
Casino revenues plunged 39
percent in April, their 11th consecutive drop in the wake of Chinese
President Xi Jinpings anti-corruption crusade targeting lavish
spending by officials and money
laundering through Macau.
Beijing has made it clear it
wants the former Portuguese colony to move away from gambling,
so casino-hotels are opening a
slew of mass market complexes.
The resorts offer everything
from fine dining and malls to
theme park rides and shows,
alongside gaming.
Melco Crowns Studio City, due
to open later this year, boasts
Asias highest Ferris wheel while

the recently opened Galaxy Phase


2 has a sprawling rooftop water
park complete with river rapids.
Sands Paris-themed resort,
with a replica Eiffel Tower, is due
to open next year, as will the Wynn
Palace and a new casino-hotel
from MGM.
You see Macau evolving, says
Simon Cooper, president of Asia
Pacific for Marriott International
which has two hotels in the new
Galaxy complex.
We fully expect the consumer
of today is going to be much more
of a typical leisure consumer, not
totally focused on gambling.

Consumers on the
mass market cannot
compensate for the
huge amount of
money spent in VIP
rooms.

structure has been lagging behind.


It is possible for the mass market to compensate [for the VIP
market]. However, if the towns
not ready to receive more visitors
... then you will not grow the mass
market.
The government has proposed
capping the number of visitors
from China at the current level of
21 million a setback for the new
resorts.
Residents say life has already
been marred by the flood of visitors and worry about any increase
in numbers.
A lot of the daily items that

Macau gambling

MONGOLIA

The Chinese territory overtook


Las Vegas as the worlds casino capital
in terms of revenue in 2002

BEIJING

CHINA

MACAU

INDIA

Casino Lan
Kwai Fong

Sonny Lo
Macau expert

Casino operators

Ponte 16
CHINA

Enticing those visitors requires


big ideas, Mr Cooper says.
You dont want somebody just
putting up 4000 hotel rooms and
a couple of restaurants. You want
developers who are building magnets that people read about and
say, Oh, Ive got to go there, he
said.
Deputy chair of Galaxy Entertainment Group Francis Lui said
the new complex only has two VIP
rooms.
The trend is that we hope to
have more business from the middle class we feel that this is the
new normal, he said at the casino
resorts opening.
While analysts agree the push
to mass market is a must, there
are significant hurdles before it
can really take off.
Macau is home to around
636,000 residents but visitor numbers were 31.5 million in 2014
two-thirds of them from mainland
China.
This is a small town and sooner or later you reach a market capacity, says Macau business media
publisher Paulo Azevedo.
Public expenditure for infra-

RUSSIA
600 km

MACAU

Sociedade de
Jogos de Macau

20

Grand Lisboa

Galaxy Casino

StarWorld

Venetian Macau

Melco Crown

Wynn Resorts

MGM Grand Paradise

Wynn
Casino

Sands

Sai Van
Bridge

MacauTaipa
Bridge

MGM Grand
Friendship
Bridge

Altira
Galaxy

Employees
(full time, Q4 2014)
57,757

Macau
International
Airport

TAIPA
City of
Dreams

Venetian

COTAI

Sands Cotai
Central

Average salary
20,680 patacas
$2,590
Gaming tables
5,711 (2014)
5,750 (2013)
Slot machines
13,018 (2014)
13,106 (2013)
Source : DICJ/MacauTourismIndustryNet/DSEC

COLOANE

1 km

International Business 13

www.mmtimes.com
KIEV

ATHENS

IMF lowers
Ukraine
growth rate

Tspiras blasts creditors for


their absurd reform demands

THE IMF said it has lowered its


growth forecast for Ukraines warbattered economy to minus 9 percent, due in large part to the unresolved conflict in the East.
The dismal projection down
from a forecast in April of minus
5pc followed a two-week-long
visit by an International Monetary
Fund delegation to Kiev earlier this
month.
Inflation in Ukraine will hit an
estimated 46pc, officials said, largely due to the skyrocketing price of
oil and a large exchange rate depreciation in February.
The Funds Ukrainian mission chief
Nikolay Gueorguiev, in a statement
summing up the preliminary findings
from the May 12 to 29 meetings, said
the talks were constructive.
The IMF did see some encouraging signs of growing stability, the
Fund official said.
In recent months, signs that
economic stability is gradually taking hold are steadily emerging,
said Mr Gueorguiev.
The foreign exchange market
has remained broadly stable. Gross
international reserves, although
still very low, have increased to
US$9.6 billion at end-April. Banks
deposits in domestic currency have
been recovering, he said.
The IMF last month made a risky
new $17.5 billion loan to Ukraine after eight failed programs with the
country, stressing the government was
committed to discipline and reform
after decades of government mismanagement and corruption.
AFP

GREECES Prime Minister Alexis


Tsipras attacked its creditors for insisting on what he described as absurd reforms which have only held
up progress in negotiations for a
deal aimed at preventing his country
from defaulting.
The lack of an agreement so
far is not due to the supposed intransigent, uncompromising and
incomprehensible Greek stance, Mr
Tsipras wrote in a column published
by French newspaper Le Monde on
May 31.
It is due to the insistence of certain institutional actors on submitting absurd proposals and displaying a total indifference to the recent
democratic choice of the Greek people, he added.
Greece has been locked in talks
with its creditors the European
Union, the International Monetary
Fund and the European Central Bank
in a bid to unlock 7.2 billion euros
(US$7.9 billion) in bailout funds.
However, a deal has so far proved
elusive as the creditors are demanding greater reforms in return for the
cash, which Mr Tsiprass government
elected on an anti-austerity bill
has refused to match.
Mr Tsipras said his government has made concessions, including agreeing to implement a
series of privatisations it had previously opposed.
It has also agreed to reform the
VAT system as well as the pension
system, which would increase real
retirement age.
Rather than imposing further
austerity that has so far only served

People walk past wallets whose exteriors are made in the image of Euro
banknotes hanging outside a kiosk in Athens. Photo: AFP

to drive Greece into a deeper recession, he said his government has


also submitted proposals to raise
revenues.
These include a special tax on the
very wealthy, greater efforts toward
clamping down on tax evasion, and
putting broadcasting and other licenses up for tender. Taking a more
conciliatory approach, Economy

SHANGHAI

Teapots give China edge in oil


CHINAS lead over the US as the worlds
biggest buyer of crude oil is poised to get
bigger, and its largely thanks to teapots.
Dozens of small refiners, known as
teapots to those in the industry, account
for one-third of the Asian nations processing capacity. They are now expanding as new rules will almost double the
amount of crude the refiners, including
Shandong Yongxin Energy, can import.
America, the worlds largest economy, is now the least reliant on foreign
oil since 1994, while China is taking
advantage of the slump in prices to
expand its strategic stockpiles a strategy that helped it overtake the US as
the biggest buyer last month. The flow
of oil to Asia will help create a global
supply deficit by the end of the year, according to Sanford C Bernstein Ltd.
The expected new crude import
quota for teapot refineries will help
bolster Chinas appetite for foreign oil,
said Gao Jian, an analyst at SCI International, a Shandong-based consultant.
Crude imports this year will exceed
2014s level.
China bought a record 7.4 million
barrels a day in April, up almost 17 percent from March and 3.1pc from the
previous high in December, customs
data shows. The US imported about 7.3
million barrels a day, according to government figures.
The US need for foreign oil is waning
amid record domestic oil production.
The Energy Information Administration forecasts the country will import
an average 6.54 million barrels a day
next year, down from 6.69 million in
2015. It received 6.99 million last year.
Chinas record purchases are adding to signs of increasing demand
that will create a global shortfall of
1.5 million barrels a day in the fourth

quarter, Mr Bernstein said in a May


27 report. Thatll drive up Brent
crude prices to US$80 a barrel, the
researcher predicts. Prices are down
about 4pc in May.
China may still surrender its status
as the worlds biggest importer back to
the US in coming months as refineries
shut for maintenance. Companies that
account for 12pc of the nations processing capacity are scheduled to close units
during the second quarter, ICIS China
estimated earlier this month. It may not
surpass the US on an annual basis until
2017, according to the Shanghai-based
energy consultant.
Brent tumbled almost 50pc last year
as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries chose to protect market share over cutting output amid a
global oversupply. China responded by
stepping up purchases to fill its emergency supplies.
While five state-controlled refiners
have licenses to import crude, independent companies need special approval from the government. China
National Chemical in 2012 became the
first teapot to be allowed to import,
with a quota of 10 million tons a year.
Guanghui Energy Ltd was the first non-

MILLION BARRELS A DAY

7.4

Amount of crude oil China purchased in


April, up 17 percent from March

state company when it was allocated


200,000 tonnes for 2014.
Shandong Dongming Petrochemical
Group was given an initial quota of 7.5
million tonnes for 2015, the National
Development and Reform Commission
said May 27. Its likely to start purchases
in June or July, Citigroup said in a note
last week.
Teapot refineries, which are located
mostly in the eastern province of Shandong, are likely to get quotas for as
much as 30 million tonnes of foreign oil
in 2015, according to China International Capital, a Beijing-based investment
bank., roughly 600,000 barrels a day.
We were among the 22 independent refineries that attended a meeting with the provincial government,
said Kong Jing, manager at Shandong
Yongxin, which employs more than
2600 workers.
They assured us that well be getting crude import quotas.
The company may start building a
new processing unit in the second half
of 2015, Mr Kong said. The plans are
part of a broader expansion by teapots
that will boost refining capacity by 15
percent this year to almost 220 million
tons, or about 4.4 million barrels a day,
ICIS China estimated in November.
Teapots are also using more crude as
they switch from fuel oil, which yields
lower quality gasoline and diesel. Crude
accounted for almost 70pc of the feedstock used by the plants last year, compared with 53pc in 2011, according to
SCI International.
Over the past two years, Chinas independent refineries have made a visible transition to use crude oil as their
feedstock as it makes better returns,
said Li Li, a research and strategy director at ICIS China. Bloomberg

Minister Yiorgos Stathakis told a


Greek daily the countrys only way
forward was to make a deal with
international creditors.
Reaching an agreement is the
only way. There is no other way, Mr
Stathakis told Realnews in an interview published on May 31.
Otherwise Greece above all, but
also the EU, will enter into unknown

territory, he added.
We want to reach an agreement
so we can ensure the sums [of money]
we need, so that we can meet our obligations at home and internationally.
The minister also said Greece
would honour its debts and meet
its June 5 deadline to pay the IMF
the 300 million euros ($340 million)
it owes.
European Commission President
Jean-Claude meanwhile reiterated
his opposition to a Greek exit from
the eurozone, in an interview with
German newspaper Sueddeutsche
Zeitung.
I do not share the idea that we
would have fewer problems and
constraints if Greece left the euro,
said Mr Juncker, who met with EU
powerhouse Germanys Chancellor
Angela Merkel and French President
Francois Hollande.
Greek media reported that Mr
Tsipras was due to speak with Ms
Merkel late on May 31 by phone, for
the second time in three days.
In Le Monde, Mr Tsipras warned
that Europe was at a crossroads, and
could choose between a strategy of
greater integration or one of division.
Those seeking the second strategy
are simply seeking to inflict harsh
punishment and mandatory austerity, with Greece being the first victim, he said.
To some, this represents a golden opportunity to make an example
out of Greece for other countries
that might be thinking of not following this new line of discipline,
he wrote.
AFP

TRADE MARK CAUTION


Kao Kabushiki Kaisha (also trading as Kao Corporation), of
14-10, Nihonbashi Kayabacho 1-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 1038210, Japan, is the Owner of the following Trade Marks:-

(Reg. No. 6289/2002) ( Reg. No. 2972/2005)


in respect of Intl Class 3: Soaps; perfumery, essential oils,
cosmetics, hair lotions, dentifrices.

(Reg. No. 6283/2002)

( Reg. No. 2974/2005)

(Reg. No. 6284/2002)

( Reg. No. 2983/2005)

(Reg. No. 6282/2002) ( Reg. No. 7447/2006)


in respect of Intl Class 3: Soaps; perfumery, essential oils,
cosmetics, hair lotions, dentifrices. Intl Class 21: Household or
kitchen utensils and containers (not of precious metal or coated
therewith); combs and sponges; brushes (except paint brushes).
Fraudulent imitation or unauthorised use of the said Trade Marks
will be dealt with according to law.
Win Mu Tin, M.A., H.G.P., D.B.L
for Kao Kabushiki Kaisha
P. O. Box 60, Yangon
E-mail: makhinkyi.law@mptmail.net.mm
Dated: 2 June 2015

14 THE MYANMAR TIMES JUNE 2, 2015

15

World

WORLD EDITOR: Kayleigh Long

BANGKOK

US Patriot Act spy


provisions expire as
Senate deal fails

World leaders
converge on Bonn
for climate meet

WORLD 17

WORLD 18

BEIJING

PHNOM PENH

Thai King back in hospital for tests

US was on to Somaly Mam in 2012

THAILANDS revered but ailing King


Bhumibol Adulyadej has returned to
hospital in Bangkok for medical tests,
the palace announced on May 31, amid
deep public concern over his health in
the politically turbulent country.
The 87-year-old king, the worlds
longest-serving monarch, is treated as
a near-deity by many Thais.
King Bhumibol spent nearly seven
months convalescing in Bangkoks
Siriraj Hospital after an operation to
remove his gall bladder in October.
During his time there he made few

THE US government knew about the


now-infamous deceptions and malpractice within organisations run by
Somaly Mam for years prior to the
media exposs that sent shockwaves
through the anti-trafficking world last
year.
Even so, Washington continued
to see her as a positive force in the
anti-trafficking effort, despite evidence
that medical care at her shelters was
not available and that her local NGO,
Afesip, had mismanaged funds, confidential US State Department cables
obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request show.
A cable titled Somaly Mam Under
Microscope sent to the State Department from the embassy in Phnom
Penh on May 8, 2012, shows that the
embassy suspected as early as 2006
that a key claim repeated by Ms Mam
over the years that her daughter was
abducted in 2006 in revenge for an
Afesip raid on a Phnom Penh brothel
in 2004 was false.
Ms Mam has made this claim on
numerous occasions despite having
reported to post [the embassy] at the
time of the incident that the girl was
not kidnapped but rather lured by her
peers from Phnom Penh to Battambang, the cable notes.
The embassy had been aware of the
discrepancy for years when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon repeated the
false claim at an April 2012 General Assembly meeting.
The scandal that has enveloped Ms
Mam was sparked by an investigation
by the Cambodia Daily into allegations
she had distorted her back-story in an
attempt to curry favour with donors.
The May 2012 cable also shows that
the US was aware of serious flaws within Afesip, but continued to offer support as she was an important magnet
for funding for anti-trafficking work.
Sources in the anti-trafficking community in Phnom Penh are quoted as
saying that Ms Mam was rotten to the
core and that she was holding [the
NGOs national coordinator] hostage.
Local anti-trafficking groups, however, were reticent to share their opinions on Somaly Mam and had made
a strategic decision to remain silent
on concerns about Afesips accounting systems and general lack of financial controls to avoid putting other

public appearances and has not spoken publicly since the operation.
Fears for his health lessened in May
when he attended the 60th anniversary
celebrations of his official coronation
at a palace in Bangkok.
A few days later he was discharged
from hospital alongside his also-ailing
wife Queen Sirikit and the pair travelled to a royal palace in the seaside
resort of Hua Hin.
His return to hospital on May 31
will do little to ease Thai fears for the
future as King Bhumibols reign enters

its twilight years.


In a statement released late on May
31 the Royal Household Bureau said
King Bhumibol would undergo scans
to ascertain whether doctors needed
to drain fluid from his spinal cord.
Other tests had showed that his
majestys temperature, blood pressure,
heart and respiratory system were
normal, the statement read.
King Bhumibol was accompanied
by his wife but the statement did not
give any further details on her health.
AFP

DHAKA

Police to press murder charges over


Bangladesh garment factory collapse
BANGLADESH police have announced
they will press murder charges against
the owner of a garment factory that
collapsed and killed more than 1100
people in 2013, the worst industrial
disaster in the countrys history.
Sohel Rana, owner of the Rana
Plaza factory complex on the outskirts
of the capital Dhaka, was among those
who were expected to be formally
charged over the disaster, lead investigator Bijoy Krishna Kar said on May
31.
We are going to press murder
charges against 41 people including
the owners of the building, Sohel Rana
and his parents, later today, Mr Kar
told AFP, adding that if convicted all
could be sentenced to death.
It was a mass killing. All 41 of
those charged have a collective responsibility for the tragedy, he said.
Police announced last year they
were set to charge Mr Rana, who was
arrested on the western border with
India as he tried to flee the country
days after the April 24, 2013, factory
collapse.
But the process was held up after
police needed government approval
to frame charges against a dozen government officials included in the 41, a
standard requirement in Bangladesh.
Police
will
later
submit
chargesheets to Dhakas chief judicial

magistrates court, which is expected


to officially accept the charges and set
a date for a trial.
Mr Rana became Bangladeshs public enemy number one after survivors
recounted how thousands of them
were forced to enter the compound at
the start of the working day despite
complaints about cracks appearing in
the walls.
They [Mr Rana and the factory
owners] discussed and decided to
keep the factory open. They sent the
workers to their deaths with cool

[The factory
owners] discussed
and decided to
keep the factory
open. They sent the
workers to their
deaths with cool
heads.
Bijoy Krishna Kar
Lead investigator

heads, Mr Kar said.


Mr Rana and others will also be
charged with violating the building
code, for illegally extending the sixstorey building, which was initially
approved as a shopping centre, into a
nine-storey factory complex.
That illegal extension violating
all construction [regulations] was the
seed of this massive disaster, Mr Kar
said.
Among the others expected to be
charged are seven owners of the garment factories and three government
engineers who approved the extensions to the building.
The mayor of Savar industrial
town, where the factory was located,
and a local councillor also face murder charges for ignoring breaches of
building and factory laws.
The disaster highlighted appalling safety problems in Bangladeshs
US$25 billion garment industry, the
worlds second largest after Chinas.
A host of Western retailers
had clothing made at Rana Plaza,
including Italys Benetton, Spains
Mango and the British low-cost chain
Primark.
The disaster prompted sweeping reforms including new safety
inspections and higher wages in the
industry which employs around 4
million workers. AFP

Human bones still litter the site of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building, on the eve of the second anniversary of the
event, at Savar in Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 23. Photo: EPA

Elderly people dance to popularise anti-smoking measures before giant no smoking banners at the national stadium, better known as the Birds Nest, in Beijing
on May 31. Photo: AFP

China looks to cut down on


smoking with new legislation
THE toughest anti-smoking legislation in Chinas history came into
effect yesterday in Beijing, with
unprecedented fines and a hotline
to report offenders but also fears
of weak enforcement.
The law makes smoking in offices, restaurants, hotels and hospitals illegal, with venues where
the ban is flouted subject to fines
of up to 10,000 yuan (US$1600).
Venues which repeatedly ignore the law could have their
licenses revoked, while individuals caught smoking in prohibited
zones could be fined as much as
200 yuan.
As well as indoor smoking, the
law prohibits lighting up in some
open-air spaces close to schools,
hospitals and sports venues.
Despite a government awareness campaign that saw posters
detailing the law displayed in restaurants and offices around the
city, many doubt authorities will
implement it effectively.
Nightclubs had been singled
out as a potential problem area,
Zhang Jianshu, president of the
Beijing Tobacco Control Association, told the China Daily newspaper.
The key lies in the business owners, the paper quoted

Mr Zhang as saying yesterday.


They have the responsibility to
ensure no smoking within their
establishments.
The measure fails to make
clear who is ultimately responsible for implementation, leaving
the possibility that authorities
will pass the buck to each other,
state-run newspaper Beijing Youth
Daily said.
Health commission inspectors
will be in charge of enforcing the
law, carrying out spot-checks and
acting on tip-offs from the public.
Posters in the capital advertise
a hotline number for tip-offs, and
the city government has launched
a social media account allowing
observers to upload images of
smokers caught in the act.
But some restaurants visited
by AFP yesterday were unaware of
the regulations.
I havent heard of the specific
law banning smoking, but we follow all rules and regulations, said
a Beijing noodle shop manager
surnamed Chen.
Some eateries said they wanted
to enforce the law, though it could
hurt business.
We normally allow people to
smoke inside at night, but were
going start stopping them from

tonight, said Zhang Lin, a manager at a Japanese restaurant. Some


people might be very unhappy
though, and after all, the customer
is god.
Other businesses had set up
outdoor seating in order to provide space for people to smoke.
But waiters said they were unsure
what would happen during Beijings freezing winter months.
The law limited to the capital
is not Chinas first such effort.
A similar nationwide measure
was passed in 2011, albeit without
financial sanctions, and imple-

The new
regulation should
require tobacco
producers to
print a warning
on cigarette
packages.
Jian Huan
Centre for Disease Control

mentation was lacklustre.


Environmental and safety laws
in China are often openly flouted
because of limited official oversight, or corruption in the form of
bribes to law enforcers.
Cigarettes remain cheap, with
packs often costing less than 5
yuan ($0.81), and some Chinese
experts say the Beijing law still
does not go far enough.
The new regulation should require tobacco producers to print
a warning on cigarette packages,
Jiang Huan, vice director of the
Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, was quoted as
saying by the China Daily.
A barrier to imposing similar
measures across the country is the
continued clout of Chinas staterun tobacco industry, which provides the government with colossal amounts of money 911 billion
yuan in taxes and profits in 2014,
an increase of 12 percent year-onyear.
Chinas
tobacco
regulator
shares offices and senior officials
with the state-owned China National Tobacco Corp, which is by
far the worlds biggest cigarette
producer and has a near monopoly in the country.
AFP

anti-[trafficking] NGOs at risk.


They reportedly feared that donors
would [not] be able to separate Somaly
Mam from the anti-[trafficking] organisations in Cambodia that are actually
doing good.
If Afesip attracted negative international attention, foreign-led antitrafficking NGOs were concerned that
donors would cease funding all such
NGOs.
That negative attention came in
spades when Newsweek covered the
scandal, which subsequently led to Ms
Mam losing her position with the Somaly Mam Foundation (SMF), Afesips
US-based fundraising arm. The SMF
shut down in October 2014.
The US Embassy and Sao Chhoeurth, executive director of Afesip, declined to comment for this article.
Some of the harshest criticisms
of Afesip provided to the embassy by
sources, whose names were redacted in
the cables, were reserved for the substandard medical and psychological
care provided to trafficking survivors.
[V]ictims resident in Afesip shelters had access to psychological care
only once every three months, even in
cases of extreme need, the May 8 cable
says. The shelter staff was also reportedly unable to respond to emergency
medical situations, even at the most
basic level.
A year ago, Ms Mam founded a
new anti-trafficking group, The New
Somaly Mam Fund. Its business plan
for 2015 said it had forged partnerships
with four local NGOs, including mental
health group the Transcultural Psychological Organisation.
All four NGOs deny any knowledge
of such formal arrangements.
The problems at Afesip had by 2012
led to an exodus of staff members and
volunteers, who had prematurely broken service contracts with Afesip over
these issues and the strong personalities of the leadership, which exhibited
fierce resistance to change, the May
2012 cable says. But despite the catalogue of problems with Ms Mam and
Afesip, the US embassy determined
that it should still support Ms Mams
celebrity status as a positive force in
the anti-trafficking effort.
She is an effective and far-reaching spokesperson who has raised
awareness and significant funding for

anti-[trafficking] interventions. Although there are concerns that the


funding may be mismanaged and that
Afesips shelters may be lacking in
quality care, Somaly Mams efforts still
represent a positive alternative to the
severe sexual abuse victims would otherwise be facing, the cable reads.
Another cable, sent from the embassy to Washington on November 2, 2012,
deals with Long Pros, formerly a highprofile member of Ms Mams Voices
for Change program, which assisted
survivors and raised awareness of her
work. At that time, the embassy had
been questioning inconsistencies in
Mams statements for at least six years.
Allegations that Ms Pros was
coached to tell a false story of her own
trafficking experience were characterised as troublesome to embassy staff.
Two SMF employees who were
asked by embassy staff about the discrepancies in Ms Pross account either
said they were unaware of the issue or
could not address the matter, pledging
to conduct further research. SMFs
relationship with facts is troublesome
for Afesips relationship with post [the
embassy], regardless of the investigations results, the November cable says.
Somaly Mam, SMF, and Afesip will
need to put stringent mechanisms in
place to restore their credibility.
Phnom Penh Post

Disgraced activist Somaly Mam


participates in Women who transform
the world in Spain on March 17, 2013.
Photo: EPA

DOHA

Die another day: Spys sentence commuted


A DEATH sentence handed to a
Filipino in Qatar for spying was reduced on appeal by a Doha court on
May 31 to life imprisonment.
Two other sentences of life imprisonment against another pair of defendants, also from the Philippines,
were reduced at the same time by Qatars Court of Appeal to 15 years in jail.
One of the men sentenced to serve
15 years has been named as Ronaldo
Lopez Ulep.
All three had been convicted last
year on charges of espionage and passing on Qatar military and economic
secrets to the Philippines government.
The unnamed defendant who was
originally sentenced to death is likely
to spend up to 25 years in prison.
He worked as a supervisor at Qatar
Petroleum. The other two defendants
worked for the Qatar Air Force.
At the time of their conviction it
was alleged that the two men working

for the air force supplied information


to the third man for cash.
Following the brief hearing, the
Philippines ambassador to Qatar, Wilfred C Santos, said the reduction in
sentences was welcome but a further
appeal may take place.
We welcome this development
and we will continue to monitor the
case, he said.
We are willing to exhaust all legal
avenues.
Manila has emphatically denied
spying on Qatar. All three men have
been detained since 2010.
The case has raised concerns
among rights groups, which question
the convictions and allege the three
men have been tortured while being
detained.
Amnesty International alleges Mr
Lopez Ulep spent four years in solitary confinement and was convicted
on the basis of a confession he was

forced to sign, even though it was written in Arabic and he could not read it.
Ahead of the May 31 hearing, Amnesty International released a blog
from the 17-year-old daughter of Mr
Lopez Ulep, who said her father was
dragged away from their Doha home
in April 2010 and the family have not
seen him since.
She said investigators took laptops,
photos and the familys savings hidden in a safe.
The teenager, who is now in the
Philippines, urged the Qatari authorities to release her father and return
what they took from us for the past
five years.
Mr Santos said Manila knew about
the allegations of torture.
We are aware of these and are taking note of this, he said.
Relatives of the defendants were
also at court but refused to comment
afterward. AFP

16 World

THE MYANMAR TIMES JUNE 2, 2015

MOSCOW

Clock ticks on space launchpad project


DEISGNED to showcase a revamped
space industry and divert attention
from recent failures, Russias multibillion-dollar project to build its own
space launch pad to take over from
Soviet-era Baikonur has been mired in
corruption scandals.
Hailed by President Vladimir Putin
as the countrys biggest construction
project, it has an estimated budget of
300 billion rubles (US$5.8 billion).
The cosmodrome started going up
in the remote far eastern Amur region
in 2012.
Since then, 10,000 workers have
toiled to build 115 kilometres (71 miles)
of roads in this immense but scarcely
populated region, as well as 125 km of
railways and a town with housing for
25,000 people.
But in the same period, Russia has
opened dozens of probes into embezzlement of funds, with Moscow forced
to top up the budget and even deploy
student labour to help complete the
strategically vital project on schedule
by December.
The agency in charge of the project, Spetsstroi, is a state organisation
overseen by the defence ministry and
ultimately by Mr Putin. It builds roads
and installations for defence and state
security needs.
The construction was assigned to
Spetsstroi Russia without any competition and it proved unable to organise
the work, said Sergei Gorbunov, a former spokesperson for the space agency.
The new Vostochny, or Eastern, cosmodrome is central to Russias dream
of reviving the glories of the Soviet-era
space program, now marred by more
than two decades of underfunding and
a series of recent high-profile failures.

Constructionis under way at the site of the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russias Amur region on May 20. Photo: AFP

Vostochnys prime advantage is its


location inside Russia. That means
Moscow will no longer be dependent
on the Baikonur launchpad in Kazakhstan, which since the breakup of the
Soviet Union Moscow has been forced
to rent out at a cost of $115 million a
year.
Baikonur is used for manned flights
to the International Space Station, now
monopolised by Russia after the mothballing of US shuttles.
Russia has an existing military
launch base Plesetsk in the far north,
which is used for satellite launches and
testing missiles. The new cosmodrome
Vostochny, like Baikonur, is closer to
the equator, which makes launches
more energy-efficient and cheaper.

The new cosmodrome is 700 square


kilometres (270 square miles) in area,
just one-tenth of the size of Baikonur.
It will need to prove it is cost-effective for international customers wanting to launch commercial satellites, a
sideline that earns Russia millions of
dollars annually.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the space sector,
has warned the country risked losing
its status as a leader in space unless it
manages to cut its costs.
The first launches at Vostochny are
set for December, while the aim is for
the first manned mission to take off
from there in 2018.
A specially reinforced launch pad is
planned for Russias new Angara rock-

et, which is currently being tested with


a view to replacing the ageing Proton
workhorse rockets, which have suffered two failed launches in the course
of a year, losing costly satellites.
The problems at Vostochny were
given massive exposure on April 16
during Mr Putins televised phone-in
with members of the public.
Some workers at the site spoke to
the president, complaining that they
had been abandoned after their contractor went bust.
Just in this year, we have provided
40 billion [rubles]... And most importantly, the principal contractor has
been paid in full. Why isnt the money
getting through to the subcontractors:
Why arent wages being paid? Thats a

big question that calls for a scrupulous


investigation, Mr Putin replied.
Have no doubt, we will definitely
achieve what youre talking about
wages paid in full and you continuing
your work at what really is the biggest
and most important site in Russia.
The authorities promptly announced that emergency funding
would be released to cover the wage
arrears. On May 18 the former contractor in charge of the site was detained
under house arrest on suspicion of embezzling 288 million rubles.
Also in May, 130 students went to
work at the site and a further 1000 are
set to spend their summer vacation
there.
We have done everything we can
to be proud of this cosmodrome, said
Olga Zaichenko, who heads a workers
union created this month at the site.
We are working 24/7.
According to Interfax news agency,
Spetsstroi has asked for an additional
20 billion rubles to complete the project on time.
Experts said that the project has
been hampered by the corruption and
graft that entangles Mr Putins Russia,
but that given its high profile it should
get completed on time.
When theres a construction project and a lot of money is allocated,
then there are major violations in how
this money is used. The same goes for
any construction project, said Igor
Marinin, editor of Space News magazine.
The launch is set for December. I
think thats realistic. Naturally, theyll
be doing a lot of work to finish off what
didnt get done on time.
AFP

WARSAW

SYDNEY

Mediterranean migrant
rescues continue

Abbott government under pressure


from oppositions gay marriage Bill

MORE than 5000 migrants have been


rescued in the Mediterranean since
May 29, according to Frontex, the European Unions border agency.
The rescue mission, which started
on May 29, focused on a group of
Libyan migrants travelling aboard 25
boats, said Frontex, adding that five
other operations were in place to rescue another 500 migrants.
According to the agency, rescuers
discovered 17 bodies during the operation, confirming the toll given by the
Italian coastguard.
British, Maltese, Belgian and Italian ships took part in the operation,
with Icelandic and Finnish planes.
Since the beginning of the year,
more than 45,000 illegal migrants
have arrived in Italy.
According to the International Organization for Migration, around 1770
men, women and children have died
or disappeared making the perilous
journey.

AUSTRALIAS opposition Labor party introduced a bill into parliament


yesterday aimed at legalising samesex marriage, stepping up pressure
on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to
allow a conscience vote on the issue.
Building on the momentum of
Irelands recent successful referendum, the legislation plans to replace
the current definition of marriage as
an act between man and woman
with the words two people.
This parliament can change a
law that no longer describes modern
Australia and pass a law of which we
can all be proud, Labor leader Bill
Shorten said in tabling the proposal.
Let us delay no more. Let us embrace a definition of marriage that
respects, values and includes every
Australian.
Labor does not have the numbers
to pass the bill and debate was adjourned. But it is using the draft legislation as a challenge to Mr Abbott
to allow government MPs a free vote
on an issue believed to have broad
community support.
Mr Abbotts conservative government opposes gay marriage, and the
Liberal party has previously refused
to let members have a conscience
vote.
A lower house vote on the issue in
2012 was defeated 98 to 42 after Mr
Abbott refused to allow his MPs, then
in opposition, to break party lines.
The prime minister, who has a
gay sister, last week promised a full
and frank debate on gay marriage,
but said on yesterday it was not a
priority.
I accept that same-sex marriage is a significant issue. Its an
important issue. Its important to

The worst Mediterranean disaster


in decades took place in April, when
a trawler packed with migrants capsized off the coast of Libya, killing
around 800 people.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised on May 30 to salvage the
trawler to give victims a proper burial.
Italy is not the only European
country that has seen a surge in the
number of migrants fleeing conflict
or hardship in Africa, the Middle East
and Asia.
Greece too has seen an increase in
the number of people trying to reach
Europes shores in rickety boats.
The European Union has been debating a controversial quota system to
handle the huge number of arrivals.
Mid-last week, the European Commission asked EU member states to
taken in 40,000 asylum seekers from
Syria and Eritrea that had arrived in
Italy and Greece.
AFP

Sailors help migrants off a Belgian Navy ship on May 30 upon its arrival in the
port of Crotone in Southern Italy. Photo: AFP

A woman walks past posters in Sydneys Oxford Street advertising a rally


supporting same-sex marriage on June 1. Photo: AFP

many people, he said.


But frankly, this governments
absolute fundamental priority in
the budget session of parliament is
to get the most urgent budget measures through.
Asked if he felt momentum was
building to change the law, Mr Abbott, a staunch Catholic, said, Lets
see where the community debate
goes.
Theres a range of views on
both sides of the issue, and its an
issue upon which decent people
can disagree, and lets see where it
all goes.
Same-sex couples can have
civil unions or register their
relationships in most states across

Australia, but the government does


not consider them married under
national law.
Australia is seen as lagging behind a growing number of countries
on marriage reform, and Mr Shorten
said Irelands yes vote had stirred
him into action.
I thought, if the Irish can do it,
why cant we?, he said.
How can Ireland, New Zealand,
37 US states, England, Scotland,
South Africa, Canada, Brazil, Iceland
and Uruguay, how can they all be
ahead of us?
Twenty countries have already
recognised the merit of marriage
equality. I am confident Australia
will.
AFP

World 17

www.mmtimes.com
WASHINGTON

US Patriot Act
spy provisions
expire as
Senate deal
falls through
KEY provisions of the US Patriot Act
expired yesterday after the Senate
failed to prevent their lapse, plunging US national security efforts into
potential disarray as the country faces
persistent extremist threats.
The midnight (4am GMT) deadline
came and went with senators unable
to reach a deal stopping the counterterror provisions from expiring, after
Republican Senator Rand Paul singlehandedly blocked any action.
The Senate had actually taken the
step of advancing painstakingly crafted bipartisan reform legislation that
would end the controversial National

Security Agency program, which


scoops up telephone data on millions
of Americans with no connection to
terrorism.
But lawmakers failed to seal the
deal on the USA Freedom Act, which
would also preserve national security
provisions, or pass a short-term extension of those provisions first codified in
the USA Patriot Act in the aftermath of
the 9/11 attacks of 2001.
The Patriot Act will expire tonight,
Mr Paul said after hours of ultimately
fruitless debate on how to get the reform bill across the finish line.
Mr Paul, a 2016 presidential

US intelligence provisions
Expired June 1
Parts of the US Patriot Act
Section 215
Collection of phone records
Including
Numbers dialed, received, dates, times of calls,
duration
Also collect information on:
Books borrowed
from libraries
Medical
history

Subjects
studied

Purchases

Personal
finances

Forbids holders
of information
from disclosing
order to turn
over data

Section 6001

Section 206
Obtain surveillance
orders without
identifying person
or facility targeted
Source : American Civil Liberties Union

Secret surveillance
of non-US persons
not affiliated with a
foreign organization

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, pictured here in January, 2010. Photo: AFP

candidate, blocked expedited votes on


the measure, as well as any potential
extensions of Patriot Act authorisations.
The reform bill appeared likely to
pass later this week, according to senators and aides, and as it stands would
mark a historic end to the telephone
data dragnet first exposed by Edward
Snowden in 2013.
But the delay means the bulk data
program and two other Patriot Act
provisions, allowing roving wiretaps
on terror suspects and lone-wolf tracking, lapsed yesterday ahead of the bills
passing.
There is no way to get any type of
agreement tonight either an extension or passage of a bill, Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr
told AFP.
The Freedom Act has already passed
the House, but with the Senate yet to
act on protecting or reforming critical
counterterror elements, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had called
for a rare Sunday session to thrash out
a solution.
Mr Paul, who wants the entire bulk
data provision scrapped and does not
support the reform bill, stood in the
way.
We call on the Senate to ensure this
irresponsible lapse in authorities is as
short-lived as possible, White House
press secretary Joshua Earnest said in
a statement.
He said the Senate took an important if late step forward with the
reform bill, and encouraged lawmakers
to put aside their partisan motivations
and act swiftly to get it passed.
The lapse raises what some lawmakers said were alarming questions

about how US authorities can keep the


country safe with a diminished security
toolbox.
I think its very, very unfortunate
that were in this position, said Senator
Mike Lee, a conservative Republican
who supports the reform bill.
Weve known this date was coming
for four years. Four years. And I think
its inexcusable that we adjourned for a
weeklong break last week without resolving the issue.

Weve known this


date was coming for
four years ...
I think its
inexcusable that
we adjourned for
a week ... without
resolving the issue.
Mike Lee
Conservative Republican senator

CIA chief John Brennan warned on


May 31 that allowing vital surveillance
programs to lapse could increase terror threats, and argued that the phone
metadata dragnet has not abused civil
liberties and serves to safeguard citizens.
This is something that we cant afford to do right now, Mr Brennan said
of allowing the counterterrorism provi-

sions to expire.
Because if you look at the horrific terrorist attacks and violence being perpetrated around the globe, we
need to keep our country safe, and our
oceans are not keeping us safe the way
they did a century ago, he said on CBS
talk show Face the Nation.
Mr Brennan added that groups like
IS have followed the developments
very carefully.
Mr Brennan did not mention Mr
Paul by name, but he expressed exasperation over the politicisation of
programs which he insisted have not
been abused by US authorities.
Unfortunately I think there is a little too much political grandstanding
and crusading for ideological causes
that have really fuelled the debate on
this issue, he said.
Top Senate Democrat Harry Reid
blasted Mr McConnell for opposing
the painstakingly crafted compromise
reform legislation that overwhelmingly
passed the House, but having no viable
plan that would keep crucial provisions
from expiring.
Thats why were here, staring
down the barrel of yet another unnecessary manufactured crisis that threatens our national security, Mr Reid said
on the Senate floor.
Independent Senator Angus King
said it was important to halt the government storage of metadata, leaving it
instead with telecommunications companies and forcing authorities to get
a secret court order before obtaining
data on specific suspects.
But he said the Freedom Act should
be improved so that it compels companies to hold data for a long period of
time.
AFP

18 World
SEOUL

MERS
response
insufficient,
says S Korea
SOUTH Korean President Park GeunHye scolded health officials yesterday
over their insufficient response to
an outbreak of the MERS virus, as the
number of infections climbed to 18,
with nearly 700 under observation.
There have been no deaths since
the first case was reported on May 20
one elderly patient is described as in a
serious condition but the emergence
of the virus has triggered widespread
public alarm.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
(MERS) is considered a deadlier but
less infectious cousin of Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which
killed hundreds of people when it appeared in Asia in 2003.
The initial response to MERS ...
was insufficient, Ms Park told a meeting of aides, calling for all-out government efforts to curb any further
spread.
The presidents comment came
a day after Health Minister Moon
Hyung-Pyo apologised for underestimating the initial threat of the virus.
The health ministry said yesterday
that a total of 682 people who were exposed directly or indirectly to the virus
have now been quarantined or put under special observation.
Health officials were particularly
criticised for allowing an infected man
to travel to China last week despite
warnings from doctors.
The current outbreak has been
traced to a 68-year-old man diagnosed
after returning from a trip to Saudi
Arabia.
The 17 others who acquired the virus were patients in the same hospital
as the man, their relatives or hospital
staff with whom he came into contact.
So far there has been no case of tertiary infection. AFP

THE MYANMAR TIMES JUNE 2, 2015

BONN

Pressure on as Paris talks loom


UN climate talks were to resume in
Bonn yesterday, tasked with sculpting a historic deal on greenhouse
gases due to be sealed in Paris little
more than six months from now.
The 10-day conference will be
opened by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who will steer
the Paris talks, and Manuel PulgarVidal, Perus environment minister,
who chaired the last big climate
parlay in Lima last December.
Topping the agenda is how to
trim a sprawling draft text into
something manageable.
At present, the document is an
80-page compendium of national
viewpoints, some of which overlap
while others are in clear conflict.
The goal is a deal that will save
Earths climate from potentially catastrophic damage by heat-trapping
fossil-fuel gases.
Taking effect from 2020, it
would commit the world community to roll back these emissions and
help poor countries threatened by
worsening drought, flood and rising seas.
But the process remains scarred
by memories of the last time the UN
tried to forge an ambitious climate
deal.
That occasion was in 2009,
when a summit in the Danish capital nearly became a fiasco. Leaders
jetted in, expecting to bless a new
treaty, and instead found utter
deadlock.
The draft text coalesces around
the need to limit warming to a
maximum of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6
Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial
times.
But beyond this, there are many
areas of potential discord.
They include whether to set
intermediate goals in emissions
reductions and stage regular meetings to press countries to deep their
efforts, thus ensuring the planet is
kept on the path towards 2C.

Greenpeace activists throw pillows in the air in Madrid during an action dubbed Wake-up for the climate. Demand
renewables NOW, part of a worldwide campaign action against dirty energies on May 30. Photo: AFP

On current emissions trends, say


scientists, the planet is on track for
possibly 4.8C of warming this century alone.
So far only 38 UN parties have
made pledges to a roster of emissions curbs designed to be the Paris
deals big brake on carbon.
They include the United States,
the European Union, Russia and
Canada, but so far not Japan, Australia, Brazil, India or China, the
worlds number one emitter.
Despite this, many observers say

they are not worried. They expect


these major players to make their
submissions in the coming weeks
or months.
I think we are finding that a lot
of the countries are just finding its
taking a bit more time than they
were going to do originally, said Liz
Gallagher of campaign group E3G.
Its not about just one plan. Its
a conversation thats taking place
across governments, across civil
society, that says, Whats the vision
for our country in 2050, what do we

want to look like?


She added, For me, thats a richer conversation to have, and I dont
mind if that delays the process a little bit.
The G7 summit, taking place in
Bavaria on June 7-8, may also have
a bearing on the UN talks.
Rich countries are under pressure to explain how they will implement their promise of mustering
US$100 billion a year in climate
finance by 2020.
AFP

ASTANA

Mass die-off sees one-third of rare antelope species wiped out


THE sudden deaths of tens of
thousands
of
endangered
antelopes in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan
over the past two weeks have left scientists scrambling for answers and
conservationists worried about the
animals future.
Over 120,000 rare saiga antelopes
more than one-third of the total
global population have been wiped
out in a devastating blow that the
United Nations Environment Programme has called catastrophic.
UN experts have said the mass
deaths are down to a combination
of biological and environmental
factors.
Scientists have struggled to put
their finger on the exact nature of the
disease that has felled entire herds,
but say findings point toward an
infectious disease caused by bacteria.
Any infections have likely been
exacerbated by recent rains that have
made the antelopes 90 percent of
which live on the steppes of Central
Asian Kazakhstan less able to cope
with diseases.
Unseasonal wetness may have
been something that lowered their
immunity to infection but until we
do more analysis we will not know
anything for sure, Steffen Zuther
of the Altyn Dala Conservation
Initiative told AFP.
The rate of the deaths has
staggered those who have studied
the species, whose ancestors have
inhabited the region since the
Ice Age.

Rare saiga antelopes drink from a lake outside Almaty in Kazakhstan. Photo: AFP

A 100 per cent mortality for the


herds affected is extraordinary, said
Richard Kock, a professor at the Royal Veterinary College in London who
recently returned from Kazakhstan.
We are dealing with creatures
that have fairly low resilience.
The sudden spate of deaths comes
as a nasty shock as up until recently

the saiga antelopes which live for


between six and 10 years and are
known for their protruding noses
had been hailed as something of a
conservation success.
Until mid-May, when the countrys Ministry of Agriculture began
reporting the deaths, saiga numbers
in Kazakhstan had rallied from an

estimated 20,000 in 2003 to more


than 250,000.
In 1993, there were over a million
saiga antelopes, mostly concentrated
in the steppes of Kazakhstan, neighbouring Russia and Mongolia.
The susceptibility of the population since then has raised extinction
fears and the saiga is listed as criti-

cally endangered by the International


Union for Conservation of Nature.
While herds that have not already
been struck down are thought to be
safe for the moment, Kazakhstans
Prime Minister Karim Massimov
set up a working group including
international experts late last week to
establish reasons for the deaths and
oversee disinfection of lands in the
three regions where the saiga died.
If there is one positive that
has come from this it is that the
government has become very
open to international channels of
cooperation now, Mr Kock from the
Royal Veterinary College in London
said.
Even then, however, scientists
estimate that it will take a decade
for the antelope numbers to recover
from the recent deaths.
For now though they are
hoping that the beasts can avoid
even more potent diseases that have
raged in nearby areas, such as the
morbillivirus epidemic that swept
across neighbouring China last year,
and other threats.
One of those is the rise in
poaching for the animals horn
prized in Chinese medicine which
grew widespread following the
collapse of the Soviet Union but has
slowed down since.
Kazakhstan extended a ban on
hunting the saiga until 2021 four
years ago and imposes penalties of up
to five years in prison for poachers.
AFP

the pulse 21

www.mmtimes.com

it

yo

gers o
n
i
f
n

THE MYANMAR TIMES June 2, 2015

DePuTY Pulse eDiTor: ToM BArTon tom.a.barton@gmail.com

ge
t

Actress Michelle Yeoh,


known for her role as
Aung San Suu Kyi in
The Lady, speaks about
her transformation
from high-kicking
stuntwoman to prodemocracy leader in an
exclusive interview with
The Myanmar Times

From swords to words

Michelle Yeoh arrives at the opening ceremony of the 3rd Memory International Film Heritage Festival at the Nay Pyi Taw Cinema on May 29. Photo: Naing Wynn Htoon

ZoN PANN PwINT ANd CHARloTTE RoSE

OME of the biggest names in international cinema


attended the opening ceremony of the 3rd Memory
International Film Heritage Festival at the Nay Pyi
Taw Cinema on May 29, including French actress
Catherine Deneuve, martial arts legends Cheng Pei
Pei and Michelle Yeoh, Singaporean actress Marrie Lee, and
Myanmar guest stars Daw Swe Zin Htaik, Daw Khin Thida Htun,
Daw Nwe Nwe San and director Daw Thin Thin Yu.
Yeoh, who played opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
in the 2011 biopic The Lady and was deported from Myanmar
in the same year, reportedly for her role in the film said in an
exclusive interview with The Myanmar Times on May 31 that she
was very happy to be back in Yangon.
The film festival has given me an opportunity to come back,
said former Bond girl Yeoh who shot to international fame
when she starred in the 1997 film Tomorrow Never Dies alongside
Pierce Brosnan.
Festivals like this are very important. By sharing old films we
see how history was made and we have a chance to learn about
different parts of the world. But the most important thing is the
people people must show an interest in these films, she said.
Yeoh, who starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and
Memoirs of a Geisha, is best-known for doing her own stunts in
action films, and has worked alongside martial arts heroes like
Jackie Chan and Jet Lee. Never a trained martial artist, she relied
on her dance background to prepare for stunts.
At the beginning they [Jackie Chan and Jet Lee] were gentle

men they were very sweet. Theyd fight with each other but
then theyd turn around and see me and Id see them go to hit
me and then put the brakes on. But after a while they saw I could
handle it, and that was the beginning of my career, she said,
adding that the distinctions often made between male and female
action heroes are irrelevant.
When I fight, you shouldnt be thinking about whether its a
girl fighting or a man fighting. It should be about the reason for
fighting.
In contrast to her eminence as a high-kicking action hero,
Yeoh is best known in Myanmar for playing a symbol of peace.
But she says first and foremost she hopes to be known as a good
actress.
Its not a matter of martial arts or not martial arts. The Lady
is a good film. People enjoy it and they get emotional over the
film, she said. The Lady is a beautiful, tragic love story. There
are so many good values in it, but it is also a sad movie because it
tells a story of a family torn apart.
Im used to fighting with swords, but in The Lady I was
fighting with words, she said.
Which does she think is more effective? Definitely words, she
said, speaking at a masterclass ahead of the festivals screening of
Ang Lees Crouching Tiger. The pen is stronger than the sword.
As Suu Kyi was still under house arrest during the shooting of
The Lady, Yeoh said researching for the role was difficult.
I had to watch hours of video material and do months of
research, piecing together information, said the actress, who also
took lessons in Burmese ahead of the role. It is such an amazing
story. Can you imagine? One day youre a mother of two, the next
day youre the mother of a nation.

Yeoh has met Suu Kyi since the biopic was made, but says she
has not spoken to her about the film. I have never asked Daw
Suu if she has seen it. But I honestly do not want her to watch it,
because I think it would be very sad for her It would be very
difficult to watch, she said.
This is Yeohs fourth visit to Myanmar, and during her stay she

Can you imagine? One day


youre a mother of two, the
next day youre the mother
of a nation
Michelle Yeoh

has visited mobile libraries run in Kawhmu by the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation,
founded by Suu Kyis mother. The actress, who is currently a Global Road
Safety Ambassador for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, said one of
her priorities during her visit to Yangon was also to promote safer driving.
During her visit to Kawhmu on May 30, she distributed motorcycle helmets
free to local residents.
Road safety is an important issue everywhere in the world. Every minute, a
child is killed or injured on their journey to school, she said. Road accidents are
one of the top five killers in the world. Thats why I am so passionate about it.
The festival has seen film-lovers descending on Nay Pyi Taw Cinema in their
hundreds to enjoy classic films from around the world, including screenings of
The Young Girls of Rochefort, attended by Deneuve, and Come Drink With Me,
in the presence of star Cheng Pei-Pei. Fifty-four classic films from 20 countries
including four Myanmar films are being screened during the festival, which
closes on June 7. The earliest film, The Consequences of Feminism by Alice Guy,
dates back to 1906, and will be accompanied by live music by young Myanmar
rock star Ito and his band Gita Yaung Sone.
Charles Bonhomme, head of cooperation at the French embassy, told The
Myanmar Times that it is important to protect film heritage.
Myanmar has a lot of heritage in the film industry. Thats why we have
tried to include the greatest successes of Myanmar cinema for film-lovers to
re-enjoy, he said. We are very proud that international film stars have been
able to attend the festival, especially actress Catherine who is visiting Myanmar
straight after the Cannes Film Festival, he added.
One of the highlights of the festival will be screenings of several silent films
accompanied by live music performed by local and international musicians.
Animated feature film The Adventures of Prince Achmed will be accompanied
by Myanmar traditional musicians while German piano duo Pierre Oser and
Katja Brandl will revisit the 1927 science-fiction film Metropolis. Both films will
be screened on June 6.

Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh speaks to The Myanmar Times on May 31. Photo: Aung Myin Ye Zaw

22 the pulse

THE MYANMAR TIMES june 2, 2015

Orchestra thank
UK conductor
for the music
nanDar aung
nandaraung.mcm@gmail.com

EVOTEES of classical
music who enjoyed the
magnificent performance
of Sebastian SeeSchierenberg and his
talented Orchestra for Myanmar
concert last January at the National
Theatre have a chance to see them
again tonight.
Their mix of traditional and
Western music, featuring pianist
Kevin Yang, including Naga Ni (Red
Dragon, a traditional Myanmar song),
played to a packed house.
The Orchestra for Myanmar will
perform tonight together with a guest
choir and guest conductor Kevin Field
from the UK at the Yangon Gallery,
sponsored by the Marga Youth
Foundation.
Im really happy about this
concert. For more than a year now
Ive been teaching violin music,
and Ive met lots of talented young
Myanmar musicians. They have a
lot of passion, but they havent had
the same opportunities to study and
practise that we have. In America or
Europe we have music schools, we
have lots of teachers for every aspect
of music, but here its different,
44-year-old violinist and conductor

Sebastian See-Schierenberg told The


Myanmar Times.
He and his musicians meet
every evening for rehearsals at Ka
Ta Sunday School in Daw Hla Pan
Street, Insein Road. But the team
will rehearse for the first time with
UK conductor Kevin Field, who
has conducted orchestras such as
the BBC Symphony, the Malaysian
Philharmonic and the Melbourne
Symphony.
I already knew the orchestra was
making progress. They already sound
better. They are working very hard
and now weve invited the famous
conductor from the UK, Kevin
Field, said See-Schierenberg. He
is also very passionate about music
education. Not just because of the
music, but also because of the power
of music to bring people together and
build bridges.
The orchestra will perform
classical pieces, pop songs and
Myanmar traditional songs in three
performances, at 4pm, 5:30pm and
7pm.
The point of the show is not only to
act as an international-level training
platform for young, aspiring musicians
in Myanmar, but also to provide a good
example for youngsters and an image of
kinship and peace.
We want to expand the orchestra

UK conductor Kevin Field rehearses with the Orchestra for Myanmar ahead of their concert on June 2. Photo: Thiri Lu

to include many more people from


different backgrounds at different
stages so that it can be a role model
for young people, he said. The rest of
the world is not yet familiar with this
music, but they will be soon. We will
definitely promote Myanmar songs
because they are very beautiful.
In the future, the Orchestra for
Myanmar plans to take another
step forward next December. Their
third season will include a childrens
choir, and will perform together
with international musicians and

choir director Bekka Jensen from


International School Yangon (ISY).
They will stage performances at 10
orphanages, monastic schools and
other schools in Yangon.
That will be a big project for us,
and I hope lots of people will come to
our December outdoor concert, said
See-Schierenberg.
He arrived in Myanmar in 2013
to teach music. He has already
produced two solo albums and
performed with five or six orchestras.
He plans to produce Myanmar

traditional songs with his label.


I was talking with the orchestra
members about recording an album.
Ever since the National Theatre
concert people have been asking
when were going to produce a
recording of Naga Ni. Now its time
to start. But it will take time, he said.
The Orchestra for Myanmar will perform
tonight in a free concert at the Yangon
Gallery (Peoples Park, Ahlone Road
entrance, behind My Garden Restaurant).

Cyclone Nargis hero is awarded Florence Nightingale medal


Zon Pann Pwint
zonpann08@gmail.com
WHEN his vocation placed him, quite
literally, in the eye of the storm, he
did what he was trained to do. As
disaster howled around him and
the floodwaters rose, he did his job,
comforting the afflicted, saving lives.
Ko Sa Naing Naing Tun was this
month awarded recognition for his
courage and professionalism in the
form of the Florence Nightingale
award.

Ko Sa Naing Naing Tun began


work as a full-time nurse in Maubin
general hospital in 2004. Three
years later, his promotion to senior
nurse sent him to Haigyi Island,
Ayeyarwady Region.
His parents didnt want him
to work in Haigyi Island, already
notorious for being in the path of the
monsoon storm systems from the
Bay of Bengal as they enter and leave
the country. He wasnt keen on going
there himself. But he was there on
May 2, 2008, when Cyclone Nargis

struck.
I had just seen the island on the
map, but Id never been there. Id
heard the weather on the island was
often stormy. But nurses shouldnt
choose the place they want to work
they should go to where they are
assigned, Ko Sa Naing Naing Tun
told a press conference at Myanmar
Red Cross Societys headquarters on
May 27 in his honour.
There was some warning. Radio
forecasts spoke of a low-pressure
front forming in the Bay. Most people

Ko Sa Naing Naing Tun is a recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal. Photo: Thiri Lu

on Haigyi took no notice. On May 2,


the gale-force wind started to blow.
I was looking after 26 patients.
Two women had given birth that
morning, and all mothers and babies
were healthy, he said.
Some of the patients were
recovering from operations, some
were aged under five. When the wind
started to blow at 6am, Ko Sa Naing
Naing Tun told patients not to be
afraid of the storm, but advised them
to stay under their beds because the
wooden columns that supported the
roof of the hospital were not strong.
He relocated surgical materials
and protected the electrocardiography
and X-ray machines by wrapping
them in plastic sheeting.
When a powerful gust brought
down the roof, with the help of
patients families, he piled the beds
one on top of the other and placed
the patients on the lower beds. He
put two of the new mothers beneath
protective crossbeams.
As chaos erupted in the hospital,
falling beams knocked out a staff
member. Ko Sa Naing Naing Tun
carried her to safety and restored her
to consciousness.
The hospital flooded.
Suddenly, the thought of two
infants prompted me to check them.
I swam toward them. I asked the
babies mothers. They shook them
gently but they didnt hear a cry. I
asked them to drop the infants into
my hands, he said.
He placed his ear on their
chests, gave them mouth-to-mouth
resuscitation and saw them breathe,
but the breathing was not regular.
I took them to the doctor who
was attending to the patients under
the crossbeams. I rubbed the infants
hands together for warmth. About 25
minutes later, they started to breathe

regularly, he said. The mothers told


him he had saved their babies lives, a
memory that he says will linger with
him forever.
The International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC) invited
the Myanmar Red Cross Society
(MRCS) last September to propose
several candidates who had shown
exceptional devotion to the victims
of armed conflict or natural disaster.
The Myanmar Nurse and Mid-wife
Association put forward Ko Sa Naing
Naing Tun and another nurse as
candidates for the award.
When I wrote to them of my
experience, my memory was still as
fresh as if the incident had happened
the previous day, he said.
Ko Sa Naing Naing Tun has been
awarded the Florence Nightingale
medal. He was one of 36 remarkable
nurses from 18 countries to receive
the award.
The Florence Nightingale medal
is the highest award a nurse can
receive. I congratulate Ko Sa Naing
Naing Tun for his remarkable effort
to help people in disaster, said Katrin
Wiegmann, regional cooperation
delegate at the ICRC.
I didnt think I had a chance to
win. This is completely unexpected.
I am very happy to be recognised by
the ICRC, said Ko Sa Naing Naing
Tun.
In 1963, army nurse Colonel Daw
Khin Ohn Mya received the medal for
relocating war victims to safer places
and looking after injured soldiers
during the Second World War. Nurse
Daw An Yaw Nan was awarded her
medal in 1993 for caring for injured
soldiers and residents in Shan State,
and Daw Thein Yi was honoured in
2001 for rescuing an eight-year-old
girl from a burning house, sustaining
serious injuries in the process.

the pulse 23

www.mmtimes.com

British Club raises $1200


for Nepal earthquake victims
Stuart alan Becker
stuart.becker@gmail.com

HEN Ian Clifford of


the British Council
found out the
Myanmar-based
American bluegrass
band The Irrawaddy Delta Daredevils
were having their last gig at Yangons
British Club on May 29, he saw a
chance to raise money for Nepal
earthquake victims.
After a discussion with British Club
events and membership manager Joe
Woods, the two went into action, gathering more than 90 people to the event
who collectively donated US$1200.

While the Daredevils, many of


them heads of international NGOs,
played songs like Man of Constant
Sorrow from the movie Oh Brother
Where Art Thou? Mr Clifford and Mr
Woods went around with a box and
people dropped in money.
We are really happy with the
way it went, Mr Woods said. The
British Council had teachers who had
worked in Nepal and they were very
concerned about the suffering caused
by the earthquake.
It was a great night, said Mr Clifford, director of the British Councils
College Teachers Project, who himself
had previously served 18 months in
Nepal.

We have heard many stories of


people going back to their villages
and finding nothing left of their
homes, he said.
Mr Clifford said there had been
more than 100 magnitude-4 aftershocks since the first big earthquake
on April 25.
People in Nepal are still living
in fear of aftershocks, Mr Clifford
said.
The money will be given to two
Nepal charities, Community Action
Nepal and Green Tara Trust.
Readers who would like to donate
to Nepal earthquake relief may contact the British Clubs Joe Woods by
email at woods.josef@gmail.com.

TODAY

TOMORROW

MUSIC

MUSIC

Orchestra for Myanmar concert.


The Orchestra will be accompanied by
a special guest choir, and conducted
by an eminent guest conductor
from the UK who has conducted
orchestras such as the BBC Symphony,
the Malaysia Philharmonic and the
Melbourne Symphony. The Yangon
Gallery, Peoples Park (Ahlone Road
entrance) 4-7:30pm

MOVIES
Tuesday Movies at the Connect
Institute. Free popcorn, chips and
soft drinks. Fun games and quizzes.
Thought-provoking discussions and
more. Connect Institute, 3A Pansodan
Business Tower (corner of Anawrahta
Road and Pansodan Street) 2:30pm4pm

ART
Tuesday Snippets. Gallery
Conversation and drinks. Pansodan
Gallery, Pansodan Street 7-10 pm

American bluegrass band The Irrawaddy Delta Daredevils perform at The British Club in Yangon on March 29. Photo: Supplied

Jazz music and dinner. Enjoy jazz


music and a great dinner in a friendly
musical atmosphere. The Rendez-Vous
Restaurant, 340 Pyay Road 7:30-9:30pm

DANCING
Salsa at Salud. K5000 entry includes
free Mojito, beer or cocktail of your
choice. Salud Salsa Club, 7C Wingabar
Road (next to Clover Hotel), Bahan 8pm

LITERATURE
Book club meeting. This weeks book
is The Trouser People: Burma in the
Shadows of the Empire by Andrew
Marshall. British Embassy Club (between
Alan Pya Pagoda Road and Gyo Phyu
Road) Dagon 7:30pm

Got an event?
List it in Whats On!
whatsonmt@gmail.com

24 the pulse

THE MYANMAR TIMES May 28, 2015

DOMESTIC FLIGHT SCHEDULES


Yangon to MandalaY

MandalaY to Yangon

Yangon to HeHo

HeHo to Yangon

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

Y5 775

Daily

6:00

7:10

Y5 233

Daily

7:50

9:00

YH 917

Daily

6:10

9:15

YH 918

Daily

9:15

10:25

W9 515

6:00

7:25

W9 201

Daily

8:40

10:35

7Y 131

2,4,6,7

6:30

9:20

W9 201

Daily

9:25

10:35

YJ 211

5, 7

6:00

8:05

YJ 891

1,2

8:40

10:35

K7 222

1,3,5

6:30

9:30

7Y 132

2,4,6,7

9:35

10:45

YH 917

Daily

6:10

8:30

7Y 132

2,4,6,7

8:50

10:45

7Y 131

Daily

7:15

10:05

K7 223

1,3,5

9:45

11:00

YJ 891

1,2

6:20

8:25

K7 223

1,3,5

8:55

11:00

Y5 649

Daily

10:30

12:45

YJ 761

Daily

12:25

17:00

7Y 131

2,4,6,7

6:30

8:35

YH 918

Daily

9:15

10:25

YJ 751

12:10

7Y 242

1,3,5

15:55

18:45

K7 222

1,3,5

6:30

8:40

6T 806

2,4,6

10:30

11:40

K7 224

2,4,6,7

14:30

15:45

K7 225

2,4,6,7

16:00

19:00

6T 805

2,4,6

6:30

7:40

YJ 212

5,7

10:40

12:35

7Y 241

1,3,5

14:30

15:40

W9 129

1,3,6

16:55

19:10

W9 129

1,3,6

15:30

16:40

YJ 201

1,2,3,4

7:00

8:55

YJ 202

1,2,3,4

12:00

13:25

W9 201

Daily

7:00

8:25

YJ 761

1,2,4

13:10

17:00

W9201

7:00

8:25

YJ 602

15:40

17:35

8M 6603

9:00

10:10

7Y 242

1,3,5

16:40

18:45

YJ 601

11:00

12:25

K7 225

2,4,6,7

16:50

19:00

YJ 761

1,2,4

11:00

12:55

YH 728

17:00

18:25

YH 729

2,4,6

11:00

14:00

W9 152/W97152

17:05

18:30

YH 737

3,5

11:00

13:10

Y5 776

Daily

17:10

18:20

YH 727

11:30

13:40

W9 211

17:10

19:15

YH 737

11:30

13:40

YH 738

3,5

17:10

18:35

W9 251

2,5

11:30

12:55

8M 6604

17:20

18:30

1,3,4,5,6,7 11:00

Air Bagan (W9)


Tel: 513322, 513422, 504888. Fax: 515102

Air KBZ (K7)


Tel: 372977~80, 533030~39 (airport), 373766
(hotline). Fax: 372983

Asian Wings (YJ)


Tel: 515261~264, 512140, 512473, 512640
Fax: 532333, 516654

Golden Myanmar Airlines (Y5)

Yangon to MYeik
Flight

Domestic Airlines

MYeik to Yangon

Tel: 09400446999, 09400447999


Fax: 8604051

Days

Dep

Arr

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

Y5 325

1,5

6:45

8:15

Y5 326

1,5

8:35

10:05

Mann Yadanarpon Airlines (7Y)

K7 319

1,3,5,7

7:00

9:05

6T 706

4,6

8:55

10:05

Tel: 656969
Fax: 656998, 651020

6T 705

4,6

7:30

8:40

7Y 532

2,4,6

15:35

17:40

7Y 531

2,4,6

11:15

13:20

K7 320

1,3,5,7

11:30

13:35

Y5 325

15:30

17:00

Y5 326

17:15

18:45

SO 201

Daily

8:20

10:40

SO 202

Daily

13:20

15:40

Yangon to sittwe

Yangon Airways (YH)


Tel: 383100, 383107, 700264
Fax: 652 533

FMI Air Charter

sittwe to Yangon

Tel: 240363, 240373, 09421146545

7Y 241

1,3,5

14:30

16:25

8M 903

1,2,4,5,7

17:20

18:30

Flight

K7 224

2,4,6,7

14:30

16:35

YH 738

17:40

19:05

K7 422

2,4,6

8:00

9:55

K7 423

2,4,6

10:10

11:30

Y5 234

Daily

15:20

16:30

YH 730

2,4,6

17:45

19:10

6T 611

10:00

11:10

6T 612

11:30

12:35

W9 211

15:30

16:55

W9 252

2,5

18:15

19:40

7Y 413

1,3,5,7

10:30

12:20

7Y 414

1,3,5,7

12:35

13:55

W9 309

1,3,6

11:30

12:55

W9 309

1,3,6

13:10

14:55

Air Mandalay (6T)

6T 611

1,4,5,6,7

11:45

12:55

6T 612

1,4,5,6,7

13:15

14:20

6T 611

12:00

13:10

6T 612

13:30

14:35

Tel: (+95-1) 501520, 525488,


Fax: (+95-1) 532275

Yangon to naY pYi taw


Flight

naY pYi taw to Yangon

Days

Dep

Arr

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

YJ 201

1,2,3,4

7:00

7:55

SO 101

Daily

7:00

8:00

ND 910

1,2,3,4,5

7:15

8:15

YJ 201

1,2,3,4

8:10

13:25

ND 105

1,2,3,4,5

10:45

11:40

ND 9102

1,2,3,4,5

8:35

9:35

ND 107

11:25

12:20

ND 104

1,2,3,4,5

9:20

10:15

ND 109

1,2,3,4,5

14:55

15:40

ND 106

10:00

10:55

ND 9109

1,2,3,4,5

17:00

18:00

ND 108

1,2,3,4,5

13:30

14:25

ND 111

18:25

19:20

ND 110

17:00

17:55

SO 102

Daily

18:00

19:00

ND 9110

1,2,3,4,5

18:20

19:20

Yangon to nYaung u
Flight
YJ 211
YH 917
YJ 891
K7 222
7Y 131
K7 224
7Y 241
W9 129
W9 211
W9 129

Days
5,7
Daily
1,2
1,3,5
2,4,6,7
2,4,6,7
1,3,5
1,3,6
4
1

Dep
6:00
6:10
6:20
6:30
6:30
14:30
14:30
15:30
15:30
15:30

Yangon to MYitkYina
Flight

Days

Dep

Flight
YH 918
YJ 891
7Y 132
K7 223
K7 225
W9 129
7Y 242

Days
Daily
1,2
2,4,6,7
1,3,5
2,4,6,7
1,3,6
1,3,5

Dep
7:45
7:55
8:05
8:05
17:40
17:50
17:25

Dep

Arr

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

Yangon to tHandwe

Arr
10:25
10:35
10:45
11:00
19:00
19:10
18:45

Arr

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

6T 805

2,4,6

6:30

8:55

6T 806

2,4,6

9:10

11:40

YH 826

1,3.5

7:00

9:40

YJ 202

1,2,3,4

10:35

13:25

Tel:95(1) 533300 ~ 311


Fax : 95 (1) 533312

Airline Codes

tHandwe to Yangon

Days

Dep

Arr

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

K7 422

2,4,6

8:00

8:55

K7 422

2,4,6

9:10

11:30

SO = APEX Airlines

7Y 413

1,3,5

10:30

11:20

7Y 413

1,3,5

11:35

13:55

7Y = Mann Yadanarpon Airlines

W9 309

1,3,6

11:30

13:50

7Y 413

12:05

14:20

7Y 413

11:00

11:50

W9 309

1,3,6

14:05

14:55

K7 = Air KBZ

Y5 421

1,3,4,6

15:45

16:40

Y5 422

1,3,4,6

16:55

17:50

W9 = Air Bagan
Y5 = Golden Myanmar Airlines

dawei to Yangon

YH = Yangon Airways

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

K7 319

1,3,5,7

7:00

8:10

YH 634

2,4,6

12:15

13:25

YJ = Asian Wings

YH 633

2,4,6

7:00

8:25

K7 320

1,3,5,7

12:25

13:35

6T = AirMandalay

SO 201

Daily

8:20

9:40

6T 708

5,7

14:15

15:15

6T 707

5,7

10:30

11:30

SO 202

Daily

14:20

15:40

FMI = FMI Air Charter

6T 707

13:00

14:00

7Y 532

2,4,6

16:35

17:40

7Y 531

2,4,6

11:15

12:20

6T 708

16:45

17:45

Flight

Yangon to lasHio
MYitkYina to Yangon

APEX Airlines (SO)

Flight

Yangon to dawei

nYaung u to Yangon
Arr
7:20
7:45
7:40
7:50
7:50
17:25
17:10
17:35
17:40
17:35

Days

lasHio to Yangon

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

YH 729

2,4,6

11:00

13:00

YJ 752

YJ 751

3,5,7

11:00

13:15

YH 730

Yangon to putao
Flight

Days

Dep

Days

Dep

Arr

3,5,7

16:10

17:55

2,4,6

16:45

19:10

putao to Yangon
Arr

Flight

Days

Dep

Arr

YJ 201

1,2,3,4

7:00

10:20

YH 827

1,3,5

11:30

13:55

YH 826

1,3,5

7:00

10:35

YH 634

10:35

13:55

YJ 233

11:00

15:10

YJ 234

15:25

18:15

YH 633

7:00

10:35

YH 827

1,3,5

10:35

13:55

W9 251

2,5

11:30

14:25

W9 252

2,5

16:45

19:40

W9 251

2,5

11:30

15:25

W9 252

2,5

15:45

19:40

Subject to change
without notice
Day
1 = Monday
2 = Tuesday
3 = Wednesday
4 = Thursday
5 = Friday
6 = Saturday
7 = Sunday

the pulse 25

www.mmtimes.com

InternAtIonAl FlIGHt SCHeDUleS


Flights

YANGON TO BANGKOK
Days

Dep

Arr

PG 706
Daily
6:15
8M 335
Daily
7:40
TG 304
Daily
9:50
PG 702
Daily
10:30
TG 302
Daily
15:00
PG 708
Daily
15:15
8M 331
Daily
16:30
PG 704
Daily
18:20
Y5 237
Daily
19:00
TG 306
Daily
19:45
YANGON TO DON MUEANG

8:30
9:25
11:45
12:25
16:55
17:10
18:15
20:15
20:50
21:40

DD 4231
Daily
8:00
FD 252
Daily
8:30
FD 254
Daily
17:30
DD 4239
Daily
21:00
YANGON TO SINGAPORE

9:50
10:15
19:05
22:45

8M 231
Daily
8:25
Y5 2233
Daily
9:45
TR 2823
Daily
9:45
SQ 997
Daily
10:35
3K 582
Daily
11:15
MI 533
2,4,6
13:45
MI 519
Daily
17:30
3K 584
2,3,5
19:15
YANGON TO KUALA LUMPUR

12:50
14:15
14:25
15:10
15:45
20:50
22:05
23:45

8M 501
AK 505
MH 741
8M 9506
8M 9508
MH 743
AK 503

11:50
12:50
16:30
16:30
20:05
20:05
23:45

Flights

Days

Flights

Days

Flights

Days

1,2,3,5,6
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily

Dep

Arr

Dep

Arr

Dep

Arr

7:50
8:30
12:15
12:15
15:45
15:45
19:30

YANGON TO BEIJING

Flights

Days

Dep

Days

Dep

Arr

Flights

BANGKOK TO YANGON
Days

Dep

Arr

TG 303
Daily
7:55
PG 701
Daily
8:50
Y5 238
Daily
21:30
8M 336
Daily
10:40
TG 301
Daily
13:05
PG 707
Daily
13:40
PG 703
Daily
16:45
TG 305
Daily
17:50
8M 332
Daily
19:15
PG 705
Daily
20:15
DON MUEANG TO YANGON

8:50
9:40
22:20
11:25
14:00
14:30
17:35
18:45
20:00
21:30

DD 4230
Daily
6:20
FD 251
Daily
7:15
FD 253
Daily
16:20
DD 4238
Daily
19:30
SINGAPORE TO YANGON

7:05
8:00
17:00
20:15

TR 2822
Daily
7:20
Y5 2234
Daily
7:20
SQ 998
Daily
7:55
3K 581
Daily
8:55
MI 533
2,4,6
11:35
8M 232
Daily
13:50
MI 518
Daily
15:15
3K 583
2,3,5
17:05
KUALA LUMPUR TO YANGON

8:45
8:50
9:20
10:25
15:00
15:15
16:40
18:35

AK 504
8M 9505
MH 740
8M 502
8M 9507
MH 742
AK 502
AI 227

8:00
11:15
11:15
13:50
14:50
14:50
19:00
13:20

Flights

Days

Flights

Days

Flights

Flights

Days

Dep

Arr

Dep

Arr

Dep

Arr

Daily
6:55
Daily
10:05
Daily
10:05
1,2,3,5,6
12:50
Daily
13:40
Daily
13:40
Daily
17:50
1
10:35
BEIJING TO YANGON
Days

Dep

Days

Dep

Arr

CA 906
3,5,7
23:50 05:50+1
YANGON TO GUANGZHOU

CA 905
3,5,7
19:30
GUANGZHOU TO YANGON

22:50

8M 711
CZ 3056
CZ 3056

CZ 3055
CZ 3055
8M 712

3,6
8:40
1,5
14:40
2,4,7
14:15
TAIPEI TO YANGON

10:25
16:30
15:50

1,2,3,5,6
7:00
KUNMING TO YANGON

9:55

Flights

Flights

CI 7916
Flights

Arr

2,4,7
8:40
3,6
11:25
1,5
17:30
YANGON TO TAIPEI

13:15
16:15
22:15

1,2,3,5,6
10:50
YANGON TO KUNMING

16:15

Days

CA 416
MU 2012
MU 2032
Flights

Days

Dep

Arr

Dep

Arr

Daily
12:15
3
12:40
1,2,4,5,6,7 15:20
YANGON TO HANOI

15:55
18:45
18:40

Days

Dep

Arr

Days

Dep

Arr

Days

Dep

Flights

Flights

CI 7915
Flights

Days

MU 2011
CA 415
MU 2031
Flights

Days

Arr

Dep

Arr

Dep

Arr

3
8:25
Daily
10:45
1,2,4,5,6,7 13:55
HANOI TO YANGON

11:50
11:15
14:30

Days

Dep

Arr

Days

Dep

Arr

Days

Dep

International Airlines
All Nippon Airways (NH)
Tel: 255412, 413

Air Asia (FD)

Tel: 09254049991~3

Air Bagan Ltd.(W9)

Tel: 513322, 513422, 504888. Fax: 515102

Air China (CA)

Tel: 666112, 655882

Air India

Tel: 253597~98, 254758, 253601. Fax 248175

Bangkok Airways (PG)

Tel: 255122, 255265. Fax: 255119

Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG)


Tel: 371867~68. Fax: 371869

Condor (DE)

Tel: 370836~39 (ext: 303)

Dragonair (KA)

Tel: 255323 (ext: 107), 09-401539206

Golden Myanmar Airlines (Y5)


Tel: 09400446999, 09400447999
Fax: 8604051

Malaysia Airlines (MH)

Tel: 387648, 241007 (ext: 120, 121, 122)


Fax: 241124

Myanmar Airways International (8M)


Tel: 255260. Fax: 255305

Nok Airline (DD)

Tel: 255050, 255021. Fax: 255051

Qatar Airways (QR)

Tel: 379845, 379843, 379831. Fax: 379730

VN 956
1,3,5,6,7
19:10
21:30
YANGON TO HO CHI MINH CITY

VN 957
1,3,5,6,7
16:50
18:10
HO CHI MINH CITY TO YANGON

Singapore Airlines (SQ) / Silk Air (MI)

VN 942

Flights

Flights

AI 701
QR 919
Flights

Flights

2,4,7
14:25
YANGON TO DOHA

17:15

VN 943

1,5
14:05
1,4,6
8:00
YANGON TO SEOUL

Arr

19:50
11:10

Flights

Days

Dep

Arr

AI 401
QR 918
Flights

2,4,7
11:50
DOHA TO YANGON

13:25

Thai Airways (TG)

1,5
7:00
3,5,7
20:40
SEOUL TO YANGON

Arr

13:20
06:25+1

Tiger Airline (TR)

Days

Dep

0Z 770
4,7
0:35
9:10
KE 472
Daily
23:30 07:50+1
YANGON TO HONG KONG

KE 471
Daily
18:45
0Z 769
3,6
19:50
HONG KONG TO YANGON

KA 251
KA 251

5:55
5:45

KA 252
KA 250

Arr

Flights

Flights

Days

5
1,2,3,4,6,7

Arr

YANGON TO TOKYO

Flights

Days

NH 814

Daily

Dep

21:45

Days

BG 061
BG 061

1,6
4

NH 813

Arr

Flights

Dep

15:35
13:45

YANGON TO INCHEON
Days

Dep

17:00
15:10
Arr

KE 472
Daily
23:30 07:50+1
8M 7702
Daily
23:30 07:50+1
8M 7502
4,7
00:35
09:10
W9 607
4,7
14:20
16:10
PG 724
1,3,5,6
13:10
15:05
YANGON TO CHIANG MAI
Flights

Days

Y5 251
7Y 305

2,4,6
1,5
Days

8M 601
AI 236

Days

AI 236
AI 701

2
1,5

Dep

13:10
14:05

YANGON TO KOLKATA
Days

AI 228
Flights

Dep

3,5,6
7:00
2
13:10
YANGON TO DELHI

Flights

Flights

Dep

6:15
11:00

YANGON TO GAYA

Flights

1,5

Dep

14:05

YANGON TO MUMBAI

AI 773

Days

1,5

Dep

14:05

MANDALAY TO BANGKOK

Flights

PG 710

Days

Daily

Dep

14:05

MANDALAY TO SINGAPORE

Flights

MI 533
Y5 2233

Days

2,6
1,2,4,5,6

Dep

15:55
7:50

MANDALAY TO DON MUEANG

Flights

FD 245

Days

Daily

Dep

12:45

MANDALAY TO KUNMING

Flights

MU 2030

Days

Daily

Dep

13:50

NAY PYI TAW TO BANGKOK

Flights

PG 722
PG 722
PG 722

Days

3
1,2,3,4,5
1,2,3,4,5

Dep

20:15
19:30
20:15

Flights

06:50+1

YANGON TO DHAKA

Flights

Flights

Dep

1:30
1:10

Arr

Flights

Arr

Flights

8:20
15:05

AI 235
8M 602

Arr

Flights

Flights

AI 227

Arr

Flights

22:35

AI 675

Arr

Flights

Arr

23:15
22:30
23:15

Days

1,6
4

Dep

12:30
10:40

INCHEON TO YANGON
Days

Days

2,4,6
1,5

Dep

Dep

9:25
13:45

GAYA TO YANGON
Days

Dep

2
9:20
3,5,6
9:20
DELHI TO YANGON
Days

2
1,5

Dep

9:20
7:00

KOLKATA TO YANGON
Days

1,5

Dep

10:35

MUMBAI TO YANGON

Flights

Flights

Arr

11:00

Days

1,5

Dep

6:10

Days

Daily

Dep

12:00

SINGAPORE TO MANDALAY

Arr

16:40

Dep

DHAKA TO YANGON

PG 709
Y5 2234
MI 533

Arr

Daily

Days

Daily
2,6

Dep

7:20
11:35

DON MUEANG TO MANDALAY

FD 244

Days

Daily

Dep

10:50

KUNMING TO MANDALAY

Flights

MU 2029

Days

Daily

Dep

13:00

BANGKOK TO NAY PYI TAW

Flights

PG 721
PG 721
PG 721

Days

1,2,3,4,5
3
1,2,3,4,5

Dep

17:00
18:25
17:45

Arr

00:30+1
23:30

BANGKOK TO MANDALAY

20:50
14:15
15:00

Days

AI 235
AI 401

15:05

16:30

Dep

22:50
21:45

TOKYO TO YANGON

Flights

Y5 252
7Y 306

Arr

4
1,2,3,5,6,7

Arr

22:25
23:25

KE 471
Daily
18:45
8M 7701
Daily
18:45
8M 7501
3,6
19:50
W9 608
4,7
17:20
PG 723
1,3,5,6
11:05
CHIANG MAI TO YANGON

8:05
12:50

16:30
19:50

Days

BG 060
BG 060

Tel: 255287~9. Fax: 255290

Arr

15:40

Tel: 255491~6. Fax: 255223


Tel: 371383, 370836~39 (ext: 303)

Vietnam Airlines (VN)

Tel: 255066, 255088, 255068. Fax: 255086

Airline Codes
3K = Jet Star
8M = Myanmar Airways International
AK = Air Asia

Arr

14:55
13:05
Arr

22:25
22:25
23:25
18:10
12:00
Arr

10:15
14:35
Arr

12:0
12:30

BG = Biman Bangladesh Airlines


CA = Air China
CI = China Airlines
CZ = China Southern
DD = Nok Airline
FD = Air Asia
KA = Dragonair
KE = Korea Airlines
MH = Malaysia Airlines
MI = Silk Air

Arr

12:20
13:20
Arr

13:20

MU = China Eastern Airlines


NH = All Nippon Airways
PG = Bangkok Airways
QR = Qatar Airways

Arr

13:20
Arr

13:20
Arr

16:30
15:00
Arr

12:15
Arr

12:50
Arr

19:00
19:35
19:45

SQ = Singapore Airways
TG = Thai Airways
TR = Tiger Airline
VN = Vietnam Airline
AI = Air India
Y5 = Golden Myanmar Airlines

Subject to change
without notice
Day
1 = Monday
2 = Tuesday
3 = Wednesday

4
5
6
7

=
=
=
=

Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

26 Sport

THE MYANMAR TIMES june 2 2015

Myanmar Cycling Federation


turns to Academy for future
Despite the meagre medal count of Myanmars cyclists at the 2013 Southeast Asian Games, the
hosting of the event in Nay Pyi Taw meant what could have been an unmitigated disaster for local
cyclists became an opportunity for the next generation of athletes hoping to join the pelaton.
The Myanmar Times sent Douglas Long to join the Myanmar Cycling Federations training camp in
Nay Pyi Taw to learn how they plan to revive their fortunes.

Identifying talent
As a permanent resident at the Nay
Pyi Taw Youth Training Camp, Soe
Thant trains for 30-plus hours each
week mostly on the bike but also in
the weight room two or three times a
week for strength training.
Its good to be at the training camp
with a community of cyclists. It helps
boost everyone to the next level, he
said. Indeed, with the establishment
of the camp in 2013 using facilities
built to house ASEAN athletes competing in the Myanmar SEA Games.
Myanmar Cycling Federation officials hope the camp will help provide
the foundation to build the sport from
its bottom-dwelling status in Myanmar.
The 415-acre compound includes
a hospital, a library, two gyms, an
Olympic-size swimming pool and 60
dormitories, each of which can house
80 athletes for a total capacity of 4000.
In March there were nearly 800 residents at the camp, divided into two categories: 400 national-level elite athletes
and 350 younger trainees in a development program. Since then, most of the
elite athletes have departed for training
camps in China, from which they will

travel directly to Singapore for the SEA


Games before returning to Myanmar.
Kyaw Min Than, the deputy of the
Sports and Physical Education Department under the Ministry of Sports,
said that of Myanmars 44 sport federations, 26 are represented by athletes
at the Nay Pyi Taw camp.
He said the youngest residents
come to the camp from all over the
country, starting from the grassroots
level. Most get their first break by being selected to attend one of the countrys four state-run sports academies,
located in Yangon, Mandalay, Taunggyi and Mawlamyine.
Every May, students who have
just finished 7th standard take part in
sports competitions, and the academies pick the best kids based on their
results, Kyaw Min Than said. Theyll
say, Youre good for cycling, youre
good for boxing or whatever. The
sports academy will look after their
education until they finish school.
From there, the standouts from
each academy have the chance to be
called up to train in Nay Pyi Taw.
John Singh, the vice president

of the MCF, said the federations tell


coaches at each academy what theyre
looking as far as potential athletes in
their respective sports.
For the MCF, we let them know
what body types we are looking for in
young athletes so we can develop them
into good cyclists. The academies then
send us a list of candidates so we can
decide whether they can come and
train here, he said.
U Kyaw Min Than said most of the
kids are in 8th to 10th standard when
they first arrive in Nay Pyi Taw.
They have to go to school every
morning. Their training happens after
2:30pm, he said.
Older elite athletes often enroll in
distance learning courses from local
universities, but they will soon have
another option.
In December we plan to open the
Institute of Sports Physical Education in
Nay Pyi Taw, where athletes at the camp
can earn a bachelors degree in sports
education, he said. But those who want
to pursue degrees in other majors can
still do distance learning through other
universities. They are not restricted.

Coaching
At the Nay Pyi Taw camp, across all
sports there are more than 30 coaches
paid for by the Ministry of Sport.
For foreign coaches, the federations study their CV and engage them
for a three-month probation period
with a three-month extension, and
then extend the contract six months
at a time, Kyaw Min Than, the deputy
of the Sports and Physical Education
Department, said.
The MCF currently engages two
international coaches: road coach Lu
Jiang Zhong, and Amir Mahmud from
Indonesia, who was hired at the beginning of the year to prepare the local

riders for the BMX Asian Championships scheduled to be held in Nay Pyi
Taw on October 31 and November 1.
Lu, who came to Myanmar in May
2014, was a cyclist in China for 10 years
before earning a degree from a sports
university in Kunming. Now 61, hes
been working as a coach for 30 years.
Ive been in Myanmar for one year,
and during that time Ive learned quite
a lot about Myanmar cycling, he said.
Ive found some very talented young
riders here. In three or four years,
the standard of Myanmar cycling will
come up.
He said the local riders try very

hard in training, but they need expert


guidance from competent locals who
understand not only the physical aspects of the sport but also the psychological and cultural facets.
The coach should understand the
cyclist, not only in cycling terms but
also his daily life. He should understand
the character of the rider, Lu said. The
coaches in Myanmar need to attend
good coaching schools. A cyclists first
coach is very important. If the first coach
does not show him the right technique,
his development will be hindered. The
coach should match the calibre of the
person he is training.

Training and equipment


Road cycling coach Lu Jiang Zhong says
that although the Nay Pyi Taw Youth
Training Camp is a good facility contributing to the development of elite cyclists
there are still challenges to overcome.
We have many problems like equipment and nutrition. Theres a problem
with spare parts, like replacing wornout tyres, and some of the food served in
the dining room is not appropriate for
the sort of training theyre doing, said
Lu.
The entire budget for the camp
comes through the Ministry of Sports,
including the provision of equipment
such as bicycles for the cycling team.
During a training ride to top of Nay
Pyi Taws Mount Pleasant, Lu also complained about the lack of heart rate
monitors. Most countries have heart
rate monitors for their riders, but here

in Myanmar we must take the pulse


with our fingers and count using a stopwatch, he said.
BMX coach Mahmud who represented Indonesia in the SEA Games five
times as a road cyclist, and who started
coaching BMX in 2011 was a bit more
charitable in his assessment.
The nutrition at the camp is
fine. For me, if the training program
is good, the riders will be good, and
right now the training program in
Nay Pyi Taw is okay. The main factor
is the time required to develop good
cyclists, he said.
Along with the tighter training
structure at the camp has also come
increased scrutiny of athletes, including the institution of a drug-testing
program. In February one cyclist tested
positive for testosterone at a road race

in Nay Pyi Taw and was promptly sent


home.
Locally, all the hospitals are trained
for testosterone testing, Singh said.
But at this point more advanced testing
must be done by sending blood samples
to Bangkok, which costs a lot of money.
Despite its flaws, the Nay Pyi Taw
camp has allowed many athletes, including Myanmars top cyclists, to focus
on training in ways they never could
before. On a typical day the elite riders
wake at 5:30am for breakfast, and about
an hour later theyre on their bikes, with
morning workouts usually lasting three
or four hours.
After a four-hour break for lunch
and rest, in the late afternoon they head
for the gym or get back on the bike for
another ride. The only day off from
training is Sunday.

FIFA
U20
WORLD CUP

*results as of June 1

GROUP A

GROUP A
usa

P GD GF Pts
1
2 +1 3

new Zealand (h) 1

ukraine

Myanmar

-1

May 30, 4pM, Wellington

May 30, 1pM, auckland

New Zealand

Ukraine

Argentina

USA

Myanmar

Ghana

Austria

Ukraine

P GD GF Pts
1
2
0
1

panama

austria

ghana

New Zealand

Argentina

USA

Austria

New Zealand

Panama

USA

portugal

P GD GF Pts
1
3 +3 3

colombia

+1

Qatar

-1

senegal

-3

May 31, 1pM, haMilton

Qatar

Portugal

Colombia

Mexico

Qatar

Senegal

Uruguay

uruguay

+1

serbia

-1

Mexico

-2

Mexico

Portugal

hungary

P GD GF Pts
1
5 +4 3

Senegal

Colombia

Serbia

Brazil

+2

nigeria

-2

Senegal

Qatar

Serbia

May 31, 1pM, dunedin

Colombia

north korea

-4

Portugal

Nigeria

Brazil

Mali

germany
honduras

+1

uzbekistan

-1

Fiji

-7

* all game times are in local time zone

Ghana

Mali

Serbia

Uruguay

Mali

Mexico

Uruguay

june 1, 1pM, christchurch

june 1, 4pM, neW plyMouth

North Korea

Hungary

june 4, 4pM, neW plyMouth

North Korea

june 4, 7pM, neW plyMouth

P GD GF Pts
1
8 +7 3

GROUP F

Nigeria

GROUP F

Argentina

june 6, 4pM, haMilton

june 1, 1pM, neW plyMouth

june 6, 4pM, dunedin

june 6, 1pM, haMilton

Ghana

june 3, 7pM, dunedin

GROUP E

GROUP E

june 3, 4pM, dunedin

june 3, 7pM, haMilton

P GD GF Pts
1
2 +2 3

Panama

May 31, 4pM, dunedin

june 3, 4pM, haMilton

GROUP D

May 31, 1pM, dunedin

May 31, 4pM, haMilton

GROUP D

GROUP C

GROUP C

Austria

june 5, 4pM, auckla nd

june 5, 7pM, auckland

Ukraine

june 5, 4pM, Wellington

june 5, 7pM, Wellington

Myanmar

june 2, 7pM, Wellington

june 2, 7pM, auckland

argentina

Panama

june 2, 4pM, Wellington

june 2, 1pM, Whangarei

Myanmar

May 30, 7pM, Wellington

May 30, 4pM, Whangarei

GROUP B

Mali

GROUP B

Hungary

Brazil

june 7, 5pM, neW plyMouth

Hungary

Nigeria

june 7, 5pM, christchurch

Brazil

North Korea

Germany

Fiji

june 1, 4pM, christchurch

Uzbekistan

Honduras

june 4, 4pM, christchurch

Honduras

Fiji

june 4, 7pM, christchurch

Germany

Uzbekistan

june 7, 5pM, christchurch

Honduras

Germany

june 4, 5pM, Whangarei

Fiji

Uzbekistan

Sport
28 THE MYANMAR TIMES May 28, 2015

SPORT EDITOR: Matt Roebuck | matt.d.roebuck@gmail.com

A look inside Myanmars


training camp
SPORT 26

CyCLING

Myanmars cyclists begin


their slow revolution

Thuzar trains in Nay Pyi Taw the only woman in the group of 10 elite riders. Photo: Douglas Long

dOuGLaS LONG
dlong125@gmail.com

he cyclists residing at the


Nay Pyi Taw Youth Training
Camp hit the road at dawn.
even then, before the sun
clears the horizon, the temperature is already climbing. Soon it will
be high enough to induce perspiration
with even the slightest of movements.
On this morning the athletes nine
men and one woman ride along flat
roads for 20 kilometres (12 miles) to
the foot of Mount Pleasant north of
the city, where the real workout begins: They blast up the relentlessly
steep 9km climb, their legs churning
and their lungs heaving as they leave
trails of sweat on the pavement.
One by one they struggle to the peak,
where they coast to a stop so that staff
from the Myanmar Cycling Federation can record their pulse rates. Once
everyone has finished the climb, road
cycling coach Lu Jiang Zhong from
China gathers the riders together to assess their performance, which he deems
sub-par: he gives them grief for failing
to achieve their maximum heart rates.
As hard as they pedalled, it just wasnt

hard enough. The coach tells them to


ride back down the long hill and climb
it again, this time with greater effort.
When Myanmars target for the
2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore of 50 gold medals was announced, gymnastics, fencing, sailing
and petanque were all called upon to
contribute. There was no such expectation for cycling.
Following investment across the
sporting landscape, at the 2013 SeA
Games Myanmar climbed to long forgotten heights in the games medal
table. Overall, the nation finished second in the gold medal tally with 86 to
Thailands 107, and came fourth in the
overall medal count after Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
But in 13 cycling events with 39 medals on offer, Myanmar earned only a single bronze. Otherwise, the local riders
were well off the pace, if they managed
to finish at all.
With medals driving investment,
the immediate task to revive Myanmars cycling fortunes falls to just
three of the ten pedallers.
Among the three cyclists chosen
to attend the Games in Singapore is
Soe Thant, 21, from Pyinmana. he will

wear one of the two Myanmar jerseys


that will appear in the 165km mens
mass-start road race scheduled for
June 14.
Born into a family of farmers, Soe
Thant quit school in 9th standard, at
the age of 15, to attend the government-run sports academy in Mandalay. I would be a farmer too if I wasnt
an athlete, he said. But my parents
are proud that Im a cyclist. Theyre
proud that I can represent Myanmar
in the SeA Games.
Soe Thant started his athletic career as a runner, but after his arrival in
Mandalay he was chosen by the MCF
for development as a cyclist. his competed in his first bike races in Nay Pyi
Taw in 2011, where he finished fourth
in both the 1km and 4km individual
time trial events.
In 2013 he rode in the downhill
mountain bike race at the 27th SeA
Games in Myanmar, where he finished
a dismal 10th out of 11 competitors.
The MCF blamed the poor result on
mechanical problems with his bicycle.
Once word came that there would be
no downhill mountain biking in Singapore, Soe Thant switched to road racing.
Also on the scorching peak of

Mount Pleasant, Thuzar, 24, is recovering from her second leg-breaking


ascent of the climb. She is the only
woman in the elite training group, and
shes been picked as Myanmars sole
entry in the Singapore SeA Games
114km womens mass-start road race
on June 13.
A native of Monywa, Sagaing Region, where her parents are farmers,
Thuzar joined the Yangon sports academy after matriculation to train for
middle-distance running, but the MCF
nabbed her for cycling based on her
height and weight.
Like Soe Thant, her first races were
1km and 4km time trials in Nay Pyi Taw
in 2011, where she finished first and second respectively. And like Soe Thant,
she started as a downhill mountain biker but has now switched to road racing.
She said the transition from runner
to mountain biker to road racer has
not been easy.
Cycling is very strenuous mentally
and physically. Its much harder than
running, she said. When I was just
starting, my inexperience also had a
psychological effect. I was afraid of
punctures, crashes and riding in a
group of cyclists. Those were the most

worrisome things for me, but now Im


okay with it.
She said her mother is not particularly happy about her athletic pursuits.
She thinks cycling is something only
boys should do, and shes afraid because
its a dangerous sport. She worries Ill
crash my bicycle, Thuzar said, adding
that she has compromised with her
family by joining a three-year distance
learning program in economics while
living at the training centre.
her mothers consternation aside,
Thuzar said she was happy in Nay Pyi
Taw.
We have all the facilities we need
and people to guide us the right way,
she said.
Since switching from mountain
biking, Ive only had about 10 months
of training as a road racer, so the time
is very short to aim for gold at the
Singapore SeA Games. But in another
four years I think I can do it. I just
have to be patient.
In the meantime, she said she
will try her best in Singapore. even
though Ill be competing without any
teammates, I have confidence in my
training, Thuzar said. I will fight to
my last breath.