Myanmar Monitor


Photo credit: World Maritime News

Economy, Investment and Trade

Myanmar forms committee to revive special economic zone
A high-level committee and task force has been started to revive the previously suspended Dawei Special Economic Zone project in southern Myanmar. The committee will implement the Myanmar-Thai joint project which seeks to improve infrastructure in order to improve trade links. The plan includes the development of a road to neighbouring Thailand, a power plant and a deep-sea port. The project is said to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and contribute up to five percent of Myanmar’s gross domestic product by 2045.
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Chinese garment factory damaged in violent labour dispute
Workers at a Chinese-owned garment factory in Myanmar have destroyed its production line. Damages are estimated to cost around US$75,000 and the company will seek compensation from Myanmar’s Labour Department. The dispute began in late January when workers went on strike after a local labour union leader was fired and workers demanded a better performance review system and healthcare coverage. The strike turned violent in early February with workers attacking a factory manager. Analysts say that this incident, one of the most violent labour disputes in the country in years, highlights the need for Aung San Suu Kyi’s government to enact social and labour reforms.
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MOEAF asks government to allow workers back into Malaysia
The Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation (MOEAF) has urged the Myanmar government to allow it to send workers to Malaysia again. The government issued an order to MOEAF to temporarily stop sending workers into Malaysia after the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak gave a speech accusing the Myanmar government of human rights violations. MOEAF claimed that it has requested the government to lift the temporary ban on several occasions but have not received response yet. Workers continue to enter Malaysia illegally, due to the high demand for foreign workers, leaving them vulnerable to arrest and abuse.
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Airport in Rakhine state to be built by tender
The Rakhine State government will invite tenders for the construction of an airport due to the lack of state funding. Rakhine State Planning and Finance Minister Kyaw Aye Thein said that the airport would be built much faster if it is tendered out. He estimated that it would take another 10 years if it is left to the government whereas a private company would be able to complete the project in three years. The airport is to be built to boost the economy and tourism in the Mrauk-U region as the area is currently only accessible by river and road. Mrauk-U boasts 1500 historical pagodas some of which are said to be more than 800 years old and the government aims to secure UNESCO world heritage status for the area.
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Foreign Affairs

Myanmar and Vietnam reinforce bilateral ties
army to enhance coordination with the Myanmar army to deepen the bilateral friendship and cooperation between the two countries. He said this during the visit of Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to Hanoi. The President suggested the two countries increase delegation exchanges and cooperation in training, military medicine, logistics, and defence industries. He urged Myanmar to support Vietnamese businesses, especially military-run companies, to maintain peace and stability in the region. In a separate event during the visit, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing shared that Myanmar would like to learn from Vietnam’s experience in economic development.
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