Friday, 25 April 2014

Army-owned Conglomerates Slowly Loosening Grip on Economy: Report ?

 25 April 2014

Burma experts and a defense analyst agreed with the ICG that the military had retained a largely similar size defense budget in real
terms compared to previous years, but some disagreed with the group's assertion that the military's off-budget income was in sharp
Noting the Tatmadaw's renowned ability to keep its objectives, weapons systems and budgets secret, veteran journalist Bertil Lintner
said, "The fact is that we know very little about Burma's military budget and the businesses the Burmese army controls because most
of it is shrouded in secrecy."
Lintner, the author of several books on Burma, said it is hard to square the loss of the army's income as reported by the ICG, with
a "military that has been able to expand its forces, buy new sophisticated equipment from abroad, and develop more and bigger
indigenous arms factories than any other country in Southeast Asia."
Anthony Davis, a Bangkok-based security analyst for HIS Jane's Defence, a UK publication, said the ICG also failed to take into
account secret government budgets for the army "which the Tatmadaw-like other militaries in the region-almost certainly has access
He said that the economic reforms that have seen military-owned conglomerates lose market monopolies do not indicate how much money
the military earns because "none of this information is in the public domain."
Speaking on the issue of the military's declining relative share of the official budget, Davis said, "As the [ICG] report points
out, the budget itself is growing significantly so the military allocation today could actually be little different or even larger
in real terms than might have been the case two or three years ago."
Sean Turnell, an Australian economist who has long studied Burma's economic policies, echoed the conclusion of Davis, saying, "Most
important of all is that military spending in aggregate kyat terms has not really fallen at all. The confusion here comes from the
fact that the government budget itself is so much larger than it used to be, since now Myanmar's gas earnings are recorded at the
market exchange rate, and outlays in the same manner."
He said Burma's defense budget remains high compared to other nations and is still greater than health and education spending
"Military spending continues to distort Myanmar's economy in significant ways, not least since such expenditure comes at the cost of
more socially-constructive outlays. Military spending is destructive, in more ways beyond the obvious," said Turnell.
Despite the decline of the relative share of defense spending in the overall government budget, reports also continue to emerge of
procurement of foreign-produced, sophisticated arms or equipment by the Burmese government army.
In January 2013, the London-based Campaign Against Arms Trade said that Britain approved sales of US$5.3 million worth of "inertial
equipment," most likely technology that aids radar navigation systems, to Burma.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Farmers burn coffins in protest at alleged land seizure

 24 April 2014

"One coffin represented the local Light Infantry Battalion, one represented those occupying and working the land and the one
representedthe Farmland Investigation Commission," he said.
Ko Thant Zin said the farmers are claiming that about 1,160 acres was seized by the military in 2001 and was being used as fishponds
by a businessman under the name of the No. 3 Wholesale Co-operative.
He said the farmers had resorted to the symbolic protest out of frustration that their complaints to the Farmland Investigation
Commission over the alleged land grab had failed to resolve the dispute.
The Farmland Investigation Commission reported 745 cases of 'land grabbing' to parliament and they have been referred to the Land
Use Management Committee for adjudication.
Some media sources have reported that more than 6,000 land grab complaints were submitted to the commission.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Children in Arakan State face malnutrition after aid workers' exodus

23rd April 2014

Muslim Rohingyas living in shelters in Burma's western Arakan State have said they are facing a severe lack of nutrition as a result
of aid workers evacuating the region following attacks on their homes and offices in March.
Hundreds of international aid workers have been evacuated from Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, after their offices and warehouses were attacked on 27 March.

Ref :


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Plough protestors charged with sedition

22nd April 2014
Local farmers of Madaya, Mandalay division have been charged with crimes ranging from sedition to trespassing and staging
unauthorised protest after they took up tools and farmed land they claim is rightfully theirs.

Nineteen of 20 protesting farmers will face court on Tuesday.

Over 600 acres of farmland in Kyauksayit and Yaynanthar villages of Madaya, Mandalay are said to have been confiscated from 96 local
farmers in 1986 under Ne Win's Burmese Road to Socialism. The land was then distributed to other tenant farmers in the establishment
of agricultural cooperatives.


Friday, 11 April 2014

Election Commission curbs Suu Kyi's campaign trail

The director of Burma's official electoral body, the Union Election Commission (UEC), told DVB on Thursday that plans are in motion
to change the regulations for election campaigning so that candidates may only campaign in their respective constituencies. He said
the new regulation would also prohibit fellow party members or party leaders from campaigning in a constituency on another
candidate's behalf.
The move will undoubtedly be seen by Burma watchers as an attempt to rein in opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has led the
campaign for her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), across the country during previous elections. Burma's next general
election is scheduled for late 2015.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Rioters' attack on UN, aid groups in W. Myanmar unjustified-investigators

10th April 2014
BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A foreign aid worker who removed a Buddhist flag from a building did not desecrate it, but
agitators used the action as an excuse for frenzied attacks on the premises of the United Nations and aid organisations in western
Myanmar two weeks ago, a commission investigating the riots said.
In a statement published on Wednesday in the state-run Myanma Alinn Daily, the commission, set up by the government, said the female
aid worker simply removed the flag from the building in line with Malteser's policy of political neutrality.
"While her action did not break the law, the locals' incorrect opinions towards international organisations worsened because of
instigators who spread incorrect information," the statement said.
The commission also criticised the state authorities, saying their "sluggish response" resulted in damage to 14 offices, 16 homes,
15 warehouses, 14 vehicles and boats, motorcycles and office equipment valued at $43,000.
Aid agencies have warned that a humanitarian crisis is brewing in Rakhine, where food and water for tens of thousands of displaced
people in camps will soon run out as a result of the evacuation of humanitarian workers after the riots.
One month before the riots, the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) was expelled from Rakhine. Local media said state
authorities were angered by its comments about an alleged January massacre of stateless Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine.
Myanmar's government denies any killing took place.


Speech of General Aung San