Weekly Diary, No.642 (1-7 September 2013)

Tips for foreign firms: Is Burma at peace now?

Think Piece
Disconnectivity in Burma
There are about 500,000 Burmese who have access to the Internet. February report by RFA says nearly 4 million have landline connection.
Internet players include Red Link, owned by U Shwe Mann’s sons; Sky Net MPS, owned by President Thein Sein’s close ally, Shwe Than, and Teleport, a state firm.
Internet speed is way behind Vietnam and Laos, though it can be faster due to use of fiber optics. Slow connection is yet another from of censorship, says a professor. The government is only “putting up a show,” says Burma Partner ship’s Jessica Steve.

Irrawaddy, 3 September 2013

No communication freedom, no peace
Dr Suikhar, Chin National Front, notes communication is “linked to the establishment of sustainable peace in the future.

Irrawaddy, 3 September 2013

On the surface, it looks open, and in many ways, it is more open compared to years ago. But all the factors are there that would indicate what the real Burma is now and what it intends to be in the future. In reality, nothing is really changed.

Jessica Steven, Burma Partnership, reported by Irrawaddy, 3 September 2013

Five lessons for national reconciliation
Reconciliation happens when the sense of shared opportunity is greater than the separate sense of grievance
  • The past can be honestly examined, but it can never be judged in a way that is going to be the satisfaction of everyone (Reconciliation is never going to be about people changing their mind about the past. It is really going to be about changing the mind about the future)
  • There has to be a future framework that people will accept as just
  • The purpose of what is being created as a future framework is anchored in democracy
  • Reconciliation is easier to achieve if the politics of the country as a whole is seen to be effective in delivering improvement to the people. The government has a challenge of honesty, a challenge of transparency as well as a challenge of efficacy (getting things delivered for the people)
Tony Blair, speech given in Bangkok on August, Bangkok Post

Washington’s main concern in Burma is not democracy and human rights. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had stressed it was important Myanmar sever ties with North Korea. Its main concern is strategic: to keep China at bay and North Korea out.

Bertil Lintner, Asian Times, 5 September 2013

How to tackle communal violence: Thein Sein’s way
  • Mindset change
  • Education
  • Job opportunities
  • Burth control
Enunciated on 21 November 2012 in Phnom Penh, reported by Mizzima, 5 September 2013

The World
5 September 2013
Two Himalayan peaks are to be named Hillary and Tenzing, in honor of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, who successfully climbed the Everest on 29 May 1953. (Reuters)

6 September 2013
New words added to the Oxford dictionary’s latest quarterly update include “fomo”, acronym for ‘fear of missing out.’ (Bangkok Post)

International Relations
1 September 2013
Malaysia launches 3 month crackdown on illegal immigrants. (Eleven) Among 2,433 detainees are 555 Myanmar nationals. (Bernama)

2 September 2013
Vijay Nambiar leaves Burma. (DVB)

3-6 September 2013
President Thein Sein attends Asean-China Expo, held in Nanning. Meets Premier Li Keqiang. (Xinhua)

5 September 2013
Very little American capital deployed inside Burma. Reasons:
  • Finding local partner is a challenge
  • Americans not allowed to deal with individuals or companies on OFAC sanctions list
  • High cost of real estate
Opportunities however exist for those with savvy to navigate the complex system
(The Diplomat)

5 September 2013
Burma ranks 102th worst country out of 176 nations in the global index of health care access released by World Vision. It places the country one place above Laos but far below Thailand, ranked 62nd. (Irrawaddy)

Thai-Burma Relations
1 September 2013
Meeting with Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN), quoting Pravit Khiengpol, Director General of the labor ministry, says migrant workers can re-enter the kingdom after staying one month in Myanmar, instead of 3 years, as agreed by the two countries in 2003. (Irrawaddy)

4 September 2013
Up to 100,000 Burmese migrants in Thailand whose 4 year work visas have expired will find no work back home. Some have chosen to remain in the country illegally. (Irrawaddy)

4 September 2013
Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and visiting Myanmar Journalists Association (MJA) sign MoU on a media exchange programme, the first of its kind between the two countries. It is signed by TTA president Pradit Ruangdit and head of MJA delegation Aung Hla Tun. (Bangkok Post)

5 September 2013
Upper House Speaker Khin Aung Myint pays courtesy call on Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra during visit to Thailand. He hopes demarcation of the border will be accomplished soon in order to create stable sense of security enabling both sides to move onto further development. (NNT)

5 September 2013
Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) says investors are streaming across the border:
  • Preferential trade arrangements for Burma by the US and Europe
  • Bangkok implementation of 300 baht daily minimum wage
  • Special economic zones can be established to impose minimum wage
(Bangkok Post)

7 September 2013

Tony Jaa aka Jaa Panom, of Ong Bak (film) fame, all set to be a part of Fast and Furious 7. (Bangkok Post)

Politics/ Inside Burma
3 September 2013
Aye Mawk, MP, Lower House, USDP, and Secretary of review committee, says its December report will be submitted only after negotiating with everyone from each party. (Eleven)

6 September 2013
Panel members of the charter review committee says to get the best results, the proposals should be discussed with the people. (Irrawaddy)

Ethnic Affairs
28 August 2013
Dr Tuja, former KIO Vice Chairman, applies for registration of Kachin State Democracy Party (KSDP). (KNG)

3 September 2013
90 minute meeting in Kengtung between U Shwe Mann and Wa focuses on development projects. (Irrawaddy)

4 September 2013
Nai Thet Lwin and Nai Soe Myint of Mon Democracy Party will be attending the UNFC-UPWC meeting on 8 September as UNA observers, say Sai Nyunt Lwin. (Mizzima)

5 September 2013
Aye Tha Aung, Arakan League for Democracy (ALD) leader, announces a new constitution will be drafted on 3 September to be completed by October. The concept of states based on ethnicity is a controversial one, says Hanthawaddy Win Tin. (Mizzima)

Shans/ Shan State
2 September 2013
U Shwe Mann meets RCSS, PNLO and SNPLO representatives in Taunggyi. Lt Gen Aung Than Tut interrupts when the RCSS informs Shwe Mann about clashes taking place, saying it is to protect locals from RCSS recruiting new soldiers and collecting taxes. (Irrawaddy)

2 September 2013
Union Assembly Speaker Shwe Mann meets 500 representatives from Shan and Kayah states in Taunggyi. In response to calls for federalism, he promises to do what he can. (Mizzima) Federalism must be a style that conform to our country, he says, and that it is important for peace. (DVB) He tells meeting with Shan State cabinet: No country has separate army for different states. All armies in different states must be inducted into the Union Army. (Mizzima)

Economy/ Business
4 September 2013
Burma this week signed a deal with China’s Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group to develop carbon-cutting projects under the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). (Reuters)

Human Rights
5 September 2013
The junta is gone, but its anti-press freedom laws still around:
  • Electronic Transactions Act in 2004. A motion to abolish it in January rejected by the lower house
  • The new printing and publishing enterprises law, already passed, differs little from the original one

6 September 2013

The Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN) becomes the 7th member of the 12 member Burma News International (BNI) to get registered in Burma. It will be producing a bilingual monthly newsletter, Shan and Burmese, beginning October. (SHAN)

4 September 2013
Agriculture and irrigation ministry reports farmland affected by floodwaters in Karen, Mon, Arakan. Shan, Pegu, Rangoon and Irrawaddy, a total of 40,000 acres. Meanwhile, in Sagaing, Mandalay and Magwe, a complete lack of rain has killed crops. (DVB)

1 September 2013
650,000 stimulant tablets unearthed by heavy rain in Tachilek. It was believed to be buried by the late Naw Kham. (DVB)

3 September 2013
Two clashes between KIA and Burma Army near Mongpaw, Muse township. 1 killed on the KIA side and at least 4 on the Burma Army side, according to eye witnesses. (KNG)


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