R EPA PE NATIONAL: SOME FAMILIES IN KOKANG REUNITE ✪2 First INDEPENDENT English daily www.elevenmyanmar.com WEDNESDAY, March 4, 2015 Transparent election urged INSIDE NATIONAL Several nations show their supports to the election, suggesting critical steps towards transparency MYANMAR ELEVEN SEVERAL western countries yesterday issued a joint statement, suggesting critical steps that the country should embark on to achieve an “inclusive, credible and transparent” election. The statement was issued by the embassies of Australia, Denmark, the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. In the statement, they said that based on international best practice, the countries are coordinating the donor support to government and non-government organisations in this electoral process. “Credible, transparent, and inclusive electoral processes require long-term engagement with all stakeholders throughout the electoral cycle. We understand that building confidence in an election starts well before Election Day and includes confidence in the integrity of international election support. “As donors and partners, we also commit to adhere to the principles of transparency, inclusiveness and equity. Our assistance aims to support and insti- tutionalise the democratic process, and does not support any specific party or candidate,” the statement said. The joint statement, also aimed to welcome the political reforms and support Myanmar’s efforts to prepare for the elections, was issued by the embassies of Australia, Denmark, the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The statement was released a day after the rare one-on-one meeting between President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw. President Thein Sein and Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi had a rare meeting on Monday, the sixth round of talks since the latter was released from house arrest in 2010. The 30-minute meeting began at about 6pm at the president’s farm house, sources for both the president and Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party confirmed. “It was an exclusive meeting between them,” presidential spokesperson and Information Minister Ye Htut wrote on his Facebook page. “They discussed constitutional amendment and the holding of free and fair elections.” When contacted about the meeting, an official from the president’s office said he did not want to make further comment. Prior to meeting the president, Aung San Suu Kyi met residents in Aunglan, but did not reveal then that she would later be meeting with Thein Sein. Thein Sein approved a constitutional referendum law last month following domestic and international pressure to reform apolitical system long stacked in favour of the military. The army oversaw 49 years of brutal rule and left the Southeast Asian country impoverished and chronically underdeveloped. In the joint statement, the western countries said that while not every donor is involved in each of the following activities, donor assistance is coordinated to address the following elements in the electoral process. They promised the Union Election Commission (UEC) technical support on international best practices as it relates to electoral administration, including an updated national voter list. They will also support training and deployment of election observers to enhance transparency and build voter confidence in the integrity of the election. Support will also be provided to stakeholders’ capacity building, including political parties, as well as civil society organisations and media organisations. Civil society organisations are assisted as they continue to promote voter registration and conduct voter education campaigns. They are also supporting media training to help ensure accurate, impartial, and reliable information about the elections is widely available to the public. They also encouraged UEC, civil society organisations, the media, and political parties to hold regular dialogues on the regulatory framework, organisation, and management of the electoral process. “In addition to our targeted elections support, we will continue to promote a peaceful and inclusive election environment. Freedom of the media, freedom of expression, non-discrimination, and protection of human and associated rights are central to a credible election process,” they concluded. Efforts to review drug laws welcomed ✪4 BUSINESS Price hikes in southern Shan keep local tourists away ✪6 ASEAN+ M’sia’s new law includes detention without trial ✪7 LIFESTYLE Visitors to Barcelona museum granted an audience with the deva ✪10 Myanmar riot police confront students during a protest march in Letpadan town yesterday. Story on A2. 2 NATIONAL MYANMAR ELEVEN, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 150 refugees in Shan reunited with families Myanmar student protesters given hours to disperse MYANMAR ELEVEN Lashio AFP, MYANMAR ELEVEN Letpadan EMG AROUND 150 people from Laukkai and nearby areas who were stranded in China and lost contact with their families have arrived here and reunited with their families. Myanmar Red Cross Society’s family re-connecting unit was opened here to assist those fleeing from Laukkai, Konkyan, Mawdike and Chinshwehaw in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone where the fighting between military and Kokang rebels takes place. An officer said that over 150 people were separated from their families by the clashes. Most are from Magway Region. Earlier, the number was as high as 450. “We have been staying in a camp at the Chinese border for over ten days. There are over 200 people there. We got food and drinks there. We wanted to come back. They did not want us to due to ongoing fighting. But we insisted,” said one woman. Pyae Phyo Maung, an administrator of Chinshwehaw, said that the situation in the township has returned normal but no war victims have not yet returned. The army took control of Chinshwehaw and nearby areas on February 27. The two remains empty with the markets closed. “The situation has returned to normal. There is no shooting. I don’t know why the locals haven’t returned. It may be the propaganda on social media. But Chinshwehaw is stable,” said Pyae Phyo Maung. Some houses in Chinshwehaw have been looted but only food and clothes were apparently stolen. “The looting happened just after fighting broke out. Drug addicts did it but it has Myanmar Red Cross Society volunteers on a truck. stopped,” said Thaung Htike, a resident of Chinshwehaw. Currently, there is no fighting along the ChinshwehawKunlong road but there is fighting between Kunlong and Theinni. As the fight involves ethnic Chinese rebels called the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), China has been criticised for supporting the rebels. China has denied it. In his broadcast speech on March 1, President Thein Sein said that both countries share the understanding that such interference is barred based on the five principles to live together in peace and tranquillity. “The two countries have an understanding not to harm each other’s interests using each other’s territory,” he said. The president said the military is currently fighting back an armed attack that threatens Myanmar’s sovereignty, the lives and property of the people and the country’s unity. Protecting the lives and property in the conflict area is a top priority of the Myanmar Army, he said. He also praised volunteers and civic organisations, especially the Red Cross, which aided the people in the conflict area, as well as soldiers. He also said the Kokang region is now under control, and the government is planning for the region’s recovery as peace and national reconciliation is the country’s important goal. Chinese language necessary for people living near border Phyo Wai MYANMAR ELEVEN Myanmar people living in northern Shan and Kachin states near the Chinese border are compelled to learn Chinese language at Chinese monasteries, otherwise it is hard for them to earn for a living, said Nang Raw, the assistant director of Shalom Foundation. It is also difficult to trade and even eat out in restaurants and shops in these areas if they do not know the language, she added. Chinese universities also encourage the study in the language through scholarships, she continued. Myanmar is bordered on the north and north-east by China. The total length of MyanmarChina boundary is 2,204 kilometres (1,384 miles). Bilateral relations between Myanmar and China are strong, and some major ethic groups in Myanmar, such as Shan and Kachin, have communities in China. There are also many ethnic Chinese people who hold Myanmar citizenship and live in Myanmar, said Bertil Lintner, a Myanmar expert from Sweden. Lintner said a Chinese friend in Yunnan now lived in Mandalay as a Myanmar citizen, through a national registration card originally belonging to a dead person. Student protesters calling for education reform said yesterday that riot police have ordered them to disperse within hours after surrounding them near a monastery in central Myanmar. Some 300 young activists - many sporting bandanas with the fighting peacock symbol of student protest remained encircled by police armed with sticks who have trapped them outside a monastery compound in the town of Letpadan since Monday. Authorities have vowed to halt the activists' planned march to the nation's main city Yangon, some 130 kilometres (80 miles) further south and the scene of previous major student-led demonstrations. Their protest is illegal in Myanmar, where almost half a century of military rule ended only in 2011. The group has been given a deadline of 4pm local time to call off their protest, according to student leader Min Thwe Thit. "We will not do it so maybe they will crack down," he told AFP. On Monday, there was a tussle with police, as several students from Pyi Township attempted to show support to the students in the main protest column despite police blocking. No one was injured in the fight, and the students from Pyi Township and some locals were ultimately granted entry. Locals also demanded the removal of the roadblocks because the authorities did not impose an official curfew. On the night of March 2, about 100 police officers blocked nine local journalists. They were granted entry after ten minutes of interrogation. MYANMAR ELEVEN, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 3 National 4 The Spanish cyclist who disappeared from Yangon General Hospital while seeking medical treatment for multiple slashes has been found at Sakura Hospital. “He seemed to be seeking treatment at Sakura without informing Yangon General. We still don’t know how he left Yangon General. We believe he chose the hospital that he thought was the best. He is still at Sakura,” Lt-Colonel Win Kyi from the Yangon West District Police Force said. While cycling from Bago to Yangon, the man, identified only as Carlos, 31, was attacked by two unknown men on the highway near Bago on Monday night. He sustained 13 wounds and was taken first to Bago Hospital before being transferred to Yangon General the next day. The cyclist has been touring across Turkey, China, Mongolia, Yunnan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and Kawkareik, Myawady, Hpa-An and Mawlamyaing in Myanmar. Villagers not involved in Kachin teachers’ murder The Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) issued a statement on February 28 denying that local villagers were involved in the rape and murder of two Kachin teachers in Shan State on January 19. The KBC’s 15-member investigating team said it is willing to jointly probe the murder case with the Women Networks, local civic organisations as well as international organisation if needed. “The team together with local authorities interrogated about 130 villagers living in Kaungkhar village over the incident. After the investigation, we found out that the villagers could not be involved in the rape and murder because of their love and respect for the two teachers,” said Dr Kha Lung Hsam Hsum, KBC’s general secretary. He said the team has already received some vital clues and will continue with the investigation to find out the truth. Constitutional Tribunal dodges PR ruling The Constitutional Tribunal says it cannot rule on the legality of proportional representation (PR) voting until a bill is written. “It is too early to decide. If the Union Election Commission finishes drafting the PR system, the Constitutional Tribunal will decide whether it is in line with the Constitution. We will wait for the bill,” advocate Khin Maung Than said. Upper House MP Aung Kyi Nyunt said: “When the Speaker of the Lower House was asked whether the PR system was in conformity with the Constitution, he replied it went against the Constitution. We must wait for a bill on the PR system. If it appears, we will continue to object to it. It will be submitted to the Constitutional Tribunal again. We don’t know who or which organisations are supporting the PR system.” Efforts to review drug laws welcomed MYANMAR ELEVEN THE Transnational Institute (TNI) welcomed the government’s recent decision to review drugs-related laws, giving that Myanmar is currently the second largest producer of raw opium in the world, after Afghanistan. “The decision to review the law is not only timely but also offers a prospect to improve the drugs legislation and to ensure that the laws address drug-related problems in the country more effectively. It is an opportunity to ensure that affected populations have access to health care and development, taking into account both national conditions and international developments and best practices,” the international organisation said in a new report titled “Towards a Healthier Legal Environment: A Review of Myanmar Drug Laws”. This report reviews Myanmar’s drug laws and related policies, including the 1917 Burma Excise Act; the 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law; and the 1995 Rules relating to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Devoted to a wide range of international problems, the organisation hosted a drug-related workshop in Nay Pyi Taw last month. The workshop was jointly organised by the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control CCDAC and was funded through a GIZ grant. One of the agenda was to explore the situation of opium farmers and the inter-linkage between land and drugs, the reality of illicit opium cultivation in Myanmar, including its correlations with food insecurity, poverty, and development. In the report, TNI suggested a range of revisions to the laws. •Amend sections 15 and 16 of the Myanmar 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic An opium poppy farmer harvests an opium poppy field in southern Shan State. EPA Missing Spanish cyclist found Substances Law (1993 NDPS Law) and decriminalise drug use and possession for personal use and remove compulsory registration of drug users from the law. •Create a legal framework that supports key harm reduction interventions to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and prevent the harms associated with drug use as much as possible. Sentences should be proportional to their crime. ‘Userdealers’ should be dealt with as a separate category of offenders, and criteria should be established to separate between micro-trade, transport/courier, mid-level trading and organised trafficking. The minimum sen- tence for simple possession of drugs is five years imprisonment, which is excessive and disproportionate, compared to many other countries in the world. •Amend section 20 of the 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law to abolish the death penalty for drug offences. Capital punishment is in breach with the International Convenant on Civil and 42 Political Rights since drug offences fail to meet the threshold of ‘most serious crimes’ and therefore the death penalty must be abolished. •Amend section 16a of the 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law and allow the cultivation of opium in the transition period to new alternative livelihoods. It said some impoverished ethnic minority communities in the country’s uplands still need income from opium production. Most of poppy cultivation is in Kachin and Shan states. “Myanmar has some serious drug problems. There are no reliable data available on number of drug users, drug consumption trends, drug use patterns, and drug use related health problems, as there has not been any national drug consumption survey. Many of them have serious health problems related to their drug use, including HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C,” according to the report. 88-year woman jailed for squatting told them I would move if they give me somewhere else or compensate me Tin Hlaing, an 88-yearand help with old woman, was last week transport sentenced to one month charges. I am in Yamethin prison for sick. I can’t go squatting while Daw Nyo, to prison. I an 82-year-old woman, want to stay faces similar charges. here. I want to Tin Hlaing lived in ward die. no.6 of Lewe Township. “I want to Daw Nyo of Shansu vilask the presilage was sentenced to a dent why the month in prison last year government is under section 26 and is filing lawsuits now being charged under against us. We section 27 because her are the real cithome has not been izens. Where is demolished. the poverty Tin Hlaing, 88, was sentenced to a month in jail. Tin Hlaing said: “We alleviation he are designated as squatspoke about? ters. I sell plums and have lived Where should we live? We heard because I have nowhere to go. I MYANMAR ELEVEN Nay Pyi Taw there since 2009. I was ordered to demolish my hut but I can’t EMG NEWS DIGEST MYANMAR ELEVEN, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 his speeches on the TV and radio. However, his words and actions are different. I would like to tell him the truth.” Tin Hlaing’s daughter said: “The judge made a one-sided decision. I wasn’t allowed to meet her [the judge]. My mother has a disease. I can’t go to the prison often.” Daw Nyo said: “I am living on my own land but the authorities filed a lawsuit under section 26 and they sentenced me to prison. If I knock down my home, where am I going to go? I have lived here for about 40 years ago.” Mi Mi Than, a judge from Nay Pyi Taw City Development Court, who gave the sentences also sentenced Aung Win, 74, and Nga Chun, 67, to a month in jail in January for violating section 26. KYAT EXCHANGE BUSINESS Buy Sell US $ 1,033 1,042 Euro ¤ 1,139 1,157 747 759 Singapore $ Source: KBZ Bank 5 MYANMAR ELEVEN, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 Car-choked Yangon aims to ride the rails to transport revolution Anticompetition law plan AFP Commuters get off a train at a station in Yangon. Kelly Macnamara AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE TRAINS chug around Yangon’s circular railway at a stately pace barely faster than a brisk walk, but this creaking relic of colonial times is at the heart of plans for a public transport revolution in the trafficchoked metropolis. Rush hour spills a throng of passengers towards Kyi Kyi Win’s cigarette stand at a downtown station, and the tobacconist says she has seen more commuters using the trains since changes to the city’s longneglected network were introduced. “Only poor people used to use the train because the tickets were very cheap,” she told AFP. But upgrades including higher-priced air-conditioned carriages have drawn wealthier customers aboard, delighting Kyi Kyi Win who says the average spend on her tobacco and betel nuts has soared from 50 kyats (US$0.05) per person to 200 kyats. Built under British colonial rule, the railway winds a 50-kilometre loop around Yangon, ferrying some 100,000 people a day from sleepy rural suburbs into the heart of Myanmar’s main city. Its ponderous pace - just 15 km/hour - has for years made the link the last resort of those too poor to afford a car or wearied by the city’s sweaty and dangerously speedy buses. But moves to revive the service have seen travellers return to rail. “I always feared for my life on the bus and the traffic was very bad,” said Tin Tin Win, who switched to commuting by train two years ago, when rail authorities began their upgrades. ■ Car is king The new air-conditioned carriages - plastered with advertisements for Red Bull and Myanmar Beer - were added shortly before the launch of a new Yangon tram that now trundles along the city’s riverfront road. They are all part of a plan to entice people off the roads, which have been choked by the influx of cars that accompanied the country’s opening to the world after decades of military rule. And the gridlock looks set to get worse. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), working with Myanmar on several nationwide transport projects, warns “Yangon’s roads will be paralysed” without urgent improvements to infrastructure. It predicts the city’s population will double to around 10 million in the next 20 years, while the number of cars clogging Yangon’s pot-holed roads will quadruple to around one million. “It is the right time to start thinking about the future transportation system,” JICA’s Myanmar head Tanaka Masahiko told AFP. He says developing the country’s public transport system, particularly rail, lies at the heart of solving its infrastructure woes and in turn drawing foreign investors. Yangon officials appear to be taking the advice on board, saying they plan to replace more of the city’s rusting old trains and computerise control and safety mechanisms. “We are particularly focused on getting trains to be punctual, cheap, and easy for passengers to travel into the city,” said Htun Aung Thin of the rail ministry. But luring people off the roads is still a major challenge - only one per cent of Yangon journeys were made by rail in 2013. Some 50 per cent were on buses and around eight per cent each in taxis and private cars or vans. ■ Long road Public transport, like other services including health and education, was chronically neglected under Myanmar’s military rulers - and the bus network is run by private firms, creating a complex array of overlapping services. Megan Quirk, an urban planner who has worked with Yangon authorities, said road congestion could be eased with small changes such as networked traffic lights to replace police on walkie talkies - and public education campaigns. For the circular railway to reach its full potential it would need to be better integrated with plans for the city’s booming property development allowing it to connect densely-populated neighbourhoods, she told AFP. But recent proposals such as lifting a junta-era ban on motorbikes in Yangon would likely make things worse by tempting people off buses, rather than persuading car drivers to take to two wheels. Meanwhile large projects -like a proposed subway system would be disruptive to implement. “Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better,” Quirk said. Myanmar is eager to avoid the perennial traffic jams that plague other Southeast Asian cities. But the plans to upgrade its transport network are expensive - JICA estimates countrywide improvements would cost around $20 billion to 2030. The task will also stretch Yangon’s authorities, closeted from modern technologies during the country’s isolation and still often working without office computers. For vendors like Kyi Kyi Win, a busier station means more business and a safer neighbourhood -- and she’s positive about the changes. “I think things will be even better in the future,” she said. Businesses that resort to monopolistic approaches will face a prison sentence of up to three years, fined Ks15 million or both, according to the new Competition Law. “We pledged to enact the law by 2015. Our country needs a competition policy, as its economy is now open. It really needs one. We held a workshop on the issue in Nay Pyi Taw recently. The grace period will last one or two years before it is enforced. If a case evidently violates the law, we will take action. More education programmes on the law should be arranged,” said Thein Myint Wai, the deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce. The law prohibits unfair and deceptive advertising and sales promotions. In particular, entrepreneurs must not compare their goods or services with products offered by competitors, imitate other adverts, give misleading information about the price, amount, quality or other characteristics of goods. Airline plans 3 daily Yangon-Nay Pyi Taw flights FMI Air, a scheduled airline, has launched three daily flights between Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. The firm, which has 170 staff in Myanmar, also launched another flight to Mandalay. It uses a Bombardier CRJ200 and expects to expand its service and fleet. “The Bombardier is small but fast as it’s a jet. It carries 50 passengers. The country has never used the aircraft before. The pilots, engineers and technicians are all from overseas. Four or five months later, we will hire local people and train them,” said FMI Air’s CEO Bruce Nobles. A second aircraft for the airline is due to arrive in early May. Business 6 Soft shell crab farm planned in Myanmar MYANMAR ELEVEN, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 Tourists visiting Inle Lake were seen. Malaysia’s conglomerate Texchem Resources Bhd (TRB)’s food division plans to double its production of soft shell crab in Myanamr this year. Claims to be the world’s largest soft shell crab exporter, the company’s food division plans to further invest in Myanmar this year. “We are presently producing 800 tonnes of soft shell crab annually in Myanmar. “The new project will be located in Labuta, which will eventually double the current annual production in five years for the global market,” said Group executive chairman Tan Sri Fumihiko Konishi. In Malaysia, the group will set up a seafood processing facility in south of Pahang this year. “The facility will produce fish, shrimp, and cuttlebased seafood products for the markets in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and Australia,” he said. The group is allocating RM20 million (US$5.51 million) for the food division’s expansion plans. The company will invest about RM50mil (US$13.79 million) in 200 Yoshinoya and Hanamaru brand name restaurants in Malaysia over the next five years. Konishi said the investment was being planned due to the growth in demand for new concept restaurants. He added that the investment would continue to ensure the restaurant division remained the most profitable segment. He spoke at a press briefing to disclose the completion of the group’s 28 per cent equity disposal in Sushi Kin Sdn Bhd to Asia Yoshinoya International Sdn Bhd, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japanese fast-food restaurant giant Yoshinoya Holdings Co Ltd. “The plan for the next five years is to set up 100 Yoshinoya and 100 Hanamaru restaurants in the country. We also plan to increase the number of Sushi King outlets in Malaysia to 150 by 2019 from 89 presently,” he added. Konishi said the restaurant division was the most profitable among the four business segments in TRB. EMG THE STAR George Town Price hikes in southern Shan keep local tourists away MYANMAR ELEVEN Despite the increase in foreign tourism in Taunggyi, Inle, Kalaw and other destinations in southern Shan State, price hikes have kept many local visitors away from these places, according to sources in the travel and tourism sector. “Hotels in Inle are expensive. Those in Kalaw are more expensive. So we cannot offer packages to all classes of people, [especially] local people]. It costs at least over US$100 to visit Taunggyi,” said a representative of Caravan Myanmar Tour Co. Currently, the total cost of a one-night, two-day trip from Yangon to Ngwe Saung Beach is $65 per person, and a trip of the same duration from Yangon to Chaungtha Beach costs $85 per person. Thus, only middle-class people can afford to visit these places. “Kalaw has seen more tourists. Many travel through in nearby villages. As for local visitors, they just stop for a while, but they rarely visit nearby villages. There are hotels with fair prices, but in high season, rooms are full and prices rise,” said Naung Naung Han, General Secretary of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association. Since hotels in Inle Lake are built to meet foreign tourists’ tastes, prices are high. Thus, most local visitors stay in nearby Nyaung Shwe in order to visit Inle Lake. Small-scale miners demand mining exploration law MYANMAR ELEVEN Local residents from Mogok called on the government on February 27 to enact a mining exploration law to create fairs condition for gold miners. “Our region sits on resourcerich land. But the majority of local people are living below the poverty line. Local miners face charges of mining companies and are often arrested. So far, there has not been a law that can give protection to local people. So we demand the immediate enactment of such a law,” said a gold miner from Lakekya village. Local people said there is monopoly held by mining companies that have already received a green-light from the Ministry of Mines, which causes the government to suffer huge tax revenue losses. Local smallscale miners face legal action, even if they pay fees to the relevant departments. “The companies force us to move when we find gold in the mines. We even face possible arrest even, though we have already paid money to the authorities [for mining permits]. Their acts amount to forcing us defy the laws. So we demand the enactment of bylaws,” said a gold miner from Zayatgwin village. Currently, about 10 gold miners face a lawsuits filed by the Myanmar Ruby House Co over robbery. The families of those workers face many difficulties due to a delay in interrogating plaintiff witnesses, said U Myo, a local. Gold miners said they would demand new laws across the region until the government enacts them. There are around 300,000 small-scale gold miners workers in the Mogok area. Plan to collect Vat on some industries Phyo Wai MYANMAR ELEVEN The Yangon region government plans to collect value added tax (Vat) instead of double taxation for the industries operating on CMP (cutting, making and packing) system, said Zaw Aye Maung, minister of the Rakhine Ethnic Affairs and Labour for Yangon region. “The government is collecting double taxation for the goods produced in Myanmar. They collected tax for the imported raw materials and again collected tax when the finished products are being exported. So we have submitted a proposal to the union government to collect only value added tax for the corporations operating on CMP system,” he said. Most of the factories especially shoe and garment factories are operating on CMP system. Myanmar is attracting more foreign investors because of tax privileges granted by the government. Most foreign investors are from China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong and they mostly invest in the garment industry and other industries operating on CMP system. The garment industry operating on CMP system exported about US$ billion worth of products in 2013 and on 2014. The government is targeting to export products worth US$1.5 billion in this fiscal year, according to the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association. ASEAN+ M’sia’s new law includes detention without trial 7 The Straits Times Malaysia’s new anti-terrorism act that will be tabled in parliament this month will include provisions that allow for detention without trial and the implementation of the Electronic Monitoring Device (EMD), it was reported. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) will have features similar to the Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Extension) Act 2013 (Poca), which allows suspected criminals to be detained without trial for up to two years, a source told the Malaysian Insider. “The power to decide whether or not the person will be detained or put under restrictive residence will be decided by an advisory board. The information, intelligence report and other evidence will be presented to the board before it makes its decision,” the news portal quoted the source as saying. The source added that no one else has the power to decide whether a suspect can be detained, “not even the police or the home minister”. Under Pota, any evidence needs to go through the Deputy Public Prosecutor who will act as the Inquiry Officer, the source was quoted as saying. The EMD is an additional feature to monitor the movement of the person detained under Pota, the source said without elaborating. Deputy home minister Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar con- firmed that an advisory board would be formed. “Since the preventive measure exists, definitely we will have an advisory board, because we want to remove such powers (to detain suspects) from the executive.” When asked how the anti-terror act would differ from the existing Poca, Wan Junaidi was quoted as saying that “Poca is on the prevention of crime, but terrorism is more subversive.” The news portal reported that lawyers felt the new anti-terrorism act was unnecessary given the wide array of security-related legislation already in place. “We already have laws that allow the government to stop people from leaving the country to join terror groups. They are just not using them,” said Andrew Khoo, who heads the Bar Council Human Rights Committee. Malaysia has arrested at least 36 citizens suspected of militancy since April last year. At least 30 are believed to be in Syria and Iraq, fighting for extremist groups. A White Paper on terrorism tabled last year by prime minister Najib Razak said the government must “act immediately to contain” the influence of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State (IS). The 19-page policy document said efforts required to tackle the ISIS threat have become more challenging and current laws need to be strengthened. Minister’s Facebook page welcomed in Vietnam Deutsche Presse-Agentur HANOI The launch of a Facebook page by a Vietnamese minister could lead to a more open society, an observer said Tuesday. Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien launched her official Facebook page Monday, becoming the first minister in the communist country touse a social network to contact the public. The page provides health information and receive questions from the public, a statement from the ministry said. “This is an encouraging signal proving the cabinet has recognised the strength of social media,” said Professor Nguyen Minh Thuyet, former deputy chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children. “It shows a more open, transparent and democracy working way in dealing with the public of the government,” he said. “People, social media are very excited about her Facebook page,” one Facebook user wrote. “It has become the hottest issue discussed in social media Tuesday,” Nguyen Ngoc Hang posted. Vietnam has periodically blocked access to Facebook but currently has 30 million registered users. The site is popular with businesses as well as activist groups at a time when the government has been cracking down on its online critics. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at a government meeting last year admitted “banning social media is impossible.” Reuters MYANMAR ELEVEN, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 About 10,000 families in Manila were rendered homeless after 5,000 houses were razed by an overnight fire. According to Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), since January 2015, there were more than 600 fire incidents in Metro Manila, while 18 people were killed and 46 injured. Laos’ first woman trainee pilot reaches for the sky Vientiane Times Laos is on track to have its first female pilot after an ambitious 19-year-old completed her first solo flight out of Wattay International Airport recently. Thinanong Leusasinh, of Nongping village in Chanthabouly district, Vientiane, was one of six trainees making their first solo flight without an instructor on board last week. The solo flight is a milestone in the two-year pilot training course, when trainees take the controls of a four-seat, single engine Cessna 172. “I’m very excited to know that I’m one of the top six students at the flying school. Originally there were 120 from which they selected the best 20. So it’s very satisfying for me to be one of the top six,” Thinanong said. The six trainee pilots are scheduled to finish their course next year, after which they will be employed by Lao Skyway, the company that is supporting the training. During training, the trainees attend courses known as “ground school”. These courses cover all the subjects required by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Lao Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. The general knowledge course covers airframes, engines and systems, theory of flight, flight instruments, flight operations, human factors, and pilot decision-making. Flight training includes dual, solo, cross-country, instrument and simulator training in accordance with ICAO and Lao Civil Aviation Safety Regulations requirements, a senior official from the Department of Civil Aviation said. In a telephone interview, the department’s Director General, Mr Yakua Lopangkao, said the project was a collaboration between the Swiss-based Partners in Aviation and Communication Technologies (PACTEC) and the Department of Civil Aviation. In line with the breakthrough approach on human resources adopted at the 9th Party Congress, Mr Yakua said this project will help to develop the capacity of the Civil Aviation Training Centre (CATC) and train the next generation of Lao pilots. “It is good to have this training programme in Laos because it cuts expenditure,” he said. In the past, the Civil Aviation Training Centre had to send pilots for training in China, Thailand, France or New Zealand. It costs about US$100,000 to train a single pilot in Thailand, according to the CATC. For too long the people of Laos had been relying on other countries to train their pilots. This situation prompted PACTEC to offer the DCA and CATC help in setting up a flight training programme so Lao pilots could be trained in Laos. The first complete training of pilots in Laos since 1975 began in November of 2013 and is the result of a long-standing partnership between the DCA, CATC, Lao Skyway and PACTEC. In 2004 the Department of Civil Aviation invited PACTEC to teach aviation English to Lao pilots and air traffic controllers. Over the years, PACTEC has also supported the CATC in training air traffic controllers. In 2010, this sector-wide capacity-building partnership was expanded to include pilot training, according to the Civil Aviation Training Centre. ASEAN+ 8 Philippines warns against Korean marriage brokers South Korean nationals who run international marriage agencies in the Philippines may be subject to legal punishment including prison terms, the Philippines government recently told Seoul. According to South Korea’s Gender Equality Ministry, it is the first time the Southeast Asian country has sent an official notice on the matter. Under the Philippines’ Anti-Mail-Order Bride Law, which was established in the 1990s, matchmaking agencies that connect Filipino women to foreign nationals for marriage are illegal. Matchmaking services, however, are legal in South Korea and about 2,500 Korean nationals sign up every year in hopes of connecting with a foreign-born spouse. Such matchmaking activities are also illegal in countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and China, where a large number of foreign spouses in Korea are from. - THE KOREA HERALD Cambodia recommends refugee status for 13 Montagnards Cambodia has recommended 13 members of Vietnam’s Christian Montagnard ethnic group for refugee status, amid international criticism of its previous treatment of asylum seekers from the same community. The group of Montagnards, named after the French word for mountaindwellers, would be recommended for processing with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Phnom Penh Post reported. “We have learned that their request (for refugee status) is true, unlike those who come to dig cassava or for logging,” Mom Sophanarith, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s refugee department, was quoted as saying. “I was fairly confident that they were going to be found to be refugees because the Montagnards really do face systemic discrimination and abuses” in Vietnam, Phil Robertson, deputy director for Human Right’s Watch’s Asia Division, told dpa. “There’s a reason why they’re coming this way,” he said. They are stigmatised in Vietnam partly for assisting US forces during the war in the 1970s. Trial to push for better flight tracking a year after MH370 Reuters, AFP SYDNEY Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia are launching a trial to allow air traffic controllers to more closely track aircraft traversing remote oceans such as the one believed to be the final resting place of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 227 mainly Chinese passengers and 12 crew in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The intensive underwater hunt for missing plane MH370 has so far turned up just a few shipping containers - and no sign of the jet, the head of the Australian agency leading the search said Tuesday. The plane vanished a year ago Sunday carrying 239 people en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and is believed to have gone down in one of the deepest and most remote areas of ocean far off the Western Australia coast. Chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Martin Dolan said that while several manmade items - mostly shipping containers -- have been detected during a sonar search, they had found nothing resembling debris from the Malaysia Airlines jet. Australian and Malaysian authorities have narrowed the search area to a vast 60,000 square kilometre (23,000 square mile) zone - and they have so far scoured around 40 per cent of it, Dolan said. Under the system being tested, long-haul aircraft would effectively be required to check in every 15 minutes, rather than every 30-40 minutes, which is the current norm. Long-haul flights in an area covering roughly 11 percent of the world’s surface will take part in the test. There was no further detail immediately available about what flights or routes the trial would cover. MH370 vanished from radar screens shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing, early on March 8. Investigators believe it was flown thousands of miles off course before eventually crashing into the ocean off Australia. A preliminary report issued by Malaysia last May described frantic attempts to trace the aircraft, with air traffic control in Kuala Lumpur contacting counterparts in Singapore, Hong Kong and Phnom Penh when something appeared to have gone awry. Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said in a Australians to be moved to Indonesia execution site Wednesday Officers take the death row inmate of a drug case, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, to her first judicial review trial. She applied for the review after her plea for clemency was rejected by Indonesian President Joko Widodo. - DPA Air pollution tops public concerns in China Air pollution, corruption and the wealth gap are the three issues of most concern to readers ahead of the annual parliamentary sessions of China, dubbed as “two sessions”, according to an online survey by the China Daily website. The issue of pollution has grown in importance for people since last year’s survey which then showed the top three issues as being the cost of living, the environment and employment. This year is crucial for the deepening of reforms, with attention being focused on how the “two sessions” will handle the ongoing development of the country and further improve people’s livelihood. The survey drew 3,886 respondents, 60 per cent of whom were from countries other than China. - CHINA DAILY media release in Sunday that the new system, which adapts technology already used by most long-haul jets, could greatly narrow down search areas in the case of future tragedies. “This new approach enables immediate improvements to monitoring long-haul flights and will give the public greater confidence in aviation, without requiring any additional technology investment by airlines,” Truss said. Airlines say they generally support improved tracking, but baulked recently at a stop-gap proposal to oblige carriers tofit existing systems within 12 months, saying the technology was still evolving. The European Union is expected to unveil new regulations on flight tracking soon as the international aviation communityattempts to show some progress a year after MH370 was lost. Agence France-Presse DENPASAR Indonesia, March 3, 2015 (AFP) - Two Australian drug smugglers on death row in Indonesia will be transferred Wednesday from their jail on Bali to an island off Java where they will be put to death, an official said. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug trafficking gang, and officials escorting them will be flown in two military aircraft, said Momock Bambang Samiarso, head of the Bali prosecutor’s office. Officials are yet to announce a date for their executions, but the transfer indicates it is imminent. The men, in their early 30s, were convicted of trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia in 2005 and sentenced to death the following year. They recently lost their appeals for presidential clemency, typically a death row convict’s last chance to avoid the firing squad, and are expected to be put to death soon. Canberra has mounted a sustained diplomatic campaign to stop the executions from going ahead, but President Joko Widodo has been a vocal supporter of the death penalty and has refused to change course. Following a coordination meeting with other officials on Tuesday, Samiarso told reporters: “The coordination has been completed. (The transfer) will be carried out tomorrow.” The Australians are being transferred to Nusakambangan island, which is home to several prisons. Five people, including foreigners, were put to death on the island in January. The Australians are among a group of foreigners, including a Frenchman and a Brazilian, who have lost their appeals for clemency and are facing imminent execution. Authorities must give convicts 72 hours notice before they are put to death. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made repeated appeals for Chan and Sukumaran’s lives to be spared. Chan’s brother, Michael, called on Widodo to show mercy in an appearance on Indonesian television at the weekend. “Andrew is a changed man from 10 years ago,” he said, urging Widodo to give him a “second chance”. Reuters GLOBAL BRIEFS MYANMAR ELEVEN, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 MYANMAR ELEVEN, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 9 ASEAN+ Indonesia considers tax breaks for labour-intensive industries VN businesswomen in Forbes’ Asia top 50 list THE JAKARTA POST VIET NAM NEWS Hanoi THE JAKARTA POST THE government may make existing tax allowances applicable to labour-intensive industries in an effort to reach its 2-milliona-year job-creation target, an official with the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) said Monday. “We really need the investment in the labour [-intensive] industries, including garment, footwear and furniture. If we don’t give [a tax allowance] to them, they [investors] may relocate to other countries,” BKPM deputy chairman Azhar Lubis said after a meeting with industry officials. In 2012 a tax policy was enacted that slashed taxable income to 30 per cent of overall investment realised over six years; sped-up depreciation and amortisation; charged an income tax of up to 10 per cent for offshore taxpayers; and carried forward losses from five years to 10 years. However, at the moment the allowance applies to just 129 business sectors, ranging from plantations to real estate. The industry ministry’s director-general for base manufacturing industries, Harjanto, said the tax allowance should be made more accessible to downstream industries ineligible under the current system. At present, for example, the tax accommodation applies to textile businesses, but excludes the garment industry. “We may require greater flexibility as our new orientation is to Pulogadung industrial estate in East Jakarta. Labour laws and infrastructure deficiencies have been blamed for the poor showing of Indonesian export-oriented manufacturing compared to the likes of Vietnam and Bangladesh. absorb labour,” he said. The labour-intensive industry covers firms that employ at least 200 workers and whose labor costs account for 15 per cent of total production costs; they include manufacturers of food and beverages, tobacco, textiles and garments, leather and leather products, footwear, toys and furniture. Investment in labour-intensive industries trended upward between 2010 to 2014, rising by between 20 and 40 per cent annually, with 1,528 projects realised in 2014 making up 15 per cent of total domestic and foreign direct investment. However, industrial growth did not trigger increased labour absorption, which raised concerns among policymakers; in fact the number of workers in the labour-intensive industry tumbled, falling from 337,305 work- ers in 2011 to 203,732 workers last year. Harjanto added that in addition to the tax allowance, his office had proposed a restitution of taxes for firms in export-oriented industries to encourage them to use locally sourced raw materials. Such an incentive would be needed to lure investment in the industrial sector, where there is stiff regional competition. Singaporeans top real-estate buyers among Asian THE STRAITS TIMES Investors from Singapore remained Asia’s biggest buyers of international real estate last year as capital outflows from the region hit a record. Asian investors shelled out US$40 billion on property around the world in 2014, up 23 per cent over 2013. Singaporean buyers accounted for a third of the total, said consultancy CBRE yesterday, with investors outlaying $11.9 billion, up $2.5 billion from 2013. Chinese investors were next, with spending of $10.1 billion as new players such as insurers sought to increase their allocation of funds to international real estate. Hong Kong was in third place, with $6.3 billion. But Singapore fell out of favour as an investment destination, falling out of the top five places for Asian real-estate dollars last year after being fourth in 2013. “Singaporean investors looked offshore as a result of compressed yields in their home market and a shortage of investible assets,” said Ada Choi, senior director for CBRE Research Asia. Property cooling measures have hit property investing here, driving developers and sovereign wealth funds alike to venture abroad. Though Singaporeans were active across the globe, including in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the Pacific region, they invested the most in Asian countries such as Japan, said CBRE. Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, for instance, invested $1.7 billion to buy the entire office component of Pacific Century Place Marunouchi in Tokyo in October. GIC also reportedly picked up a 49 per cent stake in five malls in New Zealand for $1.04 billion last November. Just 39 per cent of Asian capital outflows was concentrated in the top five real estate destinations of London, Tokyo, Sydney, Shanghai and New York last year. A year earlier, these top five cities accounted for 60 per cent of Asian investments. “Perhaps the biggest untold story for 2014 has been the movement into secondary gateway cities such as Paris and Los Angeles, as well as regional centres of the UK,” noted Marc Giuffrida, executive director of global capital markets at CBRE. The diversification was also seen in investments across asset classes. While Asian investments in offices were the highest, at 54 per cent, investments in hotels picked up 5 percentage points to 16 per cent from 2013, while industrial property rose 5 percentage points to 7 per cent. “Investors feel that by looking to new markets and asset classes, they will be able to secure better yields and face less competition,” added Giuffrida. Asian investments mostly went to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which received $13.7 billion, hardly changed from 2013. Within Asia, investors doled out $12 billion, marking a 58 per cent increase over the previous year. German firms in bid to overhaul Manila elevated train line DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR Manila A consortium of two German firms and a Philippine partner has proposed a 4.65-billion-peso (US$105.68million) rehabilitation plan for one line of the Philippine capital’s ageing overhead train system, news report said Tuesday. The government has earmarked 4.76 billion pesos for the rehabilitation of the 17-kilometre Metro Rail Transit Line (MRT 3), which has been experiencing repeated malfunctions in recent months. The joint venture of Schunk Bahn-und Industrietechnik GmbH, HEAGmobilo GmbH and Comm Builders and Technology Philippines Inc said its proposed system rehabilitation would not disrupt the operations of the MRT 3, according to the Philippine Star report. It added that its proposed rehabilitation would be completed in 3year to 4 years and would address all problems, including the installation of new elevators, escalators, toilets and public address system in 13 stations. Schunk designs, manufactures and installs high-quality power transmission systems for the industrial and railway sector, while HEAG operates and maintains a fleet of trains and buses in Darmstadt. Two Vietnamese entrepreneurs have been named by Forbes as being among the top 50 powerful businesswomen in Asia. Mai Kieu Lien, chairwoman and CEO of the Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) and Thai Huong, chairwoman of TH Group with the TH True Milk brand, were named in the Asia’s Power Businesswomen 2015 list, released by Forbes last week. Vinamilk is one of the bestknown brands in Viet Nam and, according to research firm Nielsen, has 51 per cent of the liquid milk market share, Forbes said. Vinamilk’s revenue jumped 14 per cent in 2014 to reach US$1.7 billion, supported by two new factories, the magazine said, adding that Lien, 61, aims to push sales to touch $3 billion by 2017 by expanding overseas. Vinamilk exports to 30 countries and is trying to sell more to the Middle East, Africa and Cuba. But Mai faces certain challenges. For instance, the company’s profit last year was flat as the price of raw materials – largely imported milk powder – shot up, according to the magazine. Lien has been included in the Asia’s Power Businesswomen list for the fourth consecutive year. Meanwhile, TH Group Chairwoman Thai Huong, 57, is the newest representative of Vietnam in this list. Huong entered the milk business in 2009, vowing to change the nature of the industry in Vietnam, which has mainly used powder to produce liquid milk, Forbes said. Since then, TH Group has invested $450 million to import and raise cows to produce fresh milk products, using Israeli technology. It has 40,000 cows on 8,100 ha, but plans to raise its total land to 37,000ha, according to Forbes. TH Group estimates that its 2014 revenue exceeded $200 million, with a one-third share of the fresh-milk market, a challenge to the country’s largest milk producer, Vinamilk, Forbes said. The Asia’s Power Businesswomen 2015 list covers the top 50 representatives in several sectors from 16 regional countries. To prepare this year’s list, Forbes applied the criteria of company sales, the positions of the candidates in their companies, and the level of their participation at work. In 2014, Forbes named three Vietnamese businesswomen in its most-powerful women list, including Vinamilk Chairwoman and CEO Lien, Chairperson and CEO of Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Joint Stock Company Nguyen Thi Mai Thanh, and Chairperson of the Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank Nguyen Thi Nga. ART&CULTURE 10 MYANMAR ELEVEN, Wednesday, March 4, 2015 MYANMAR ELEVEN The Museum of World Cultures in Barcelona, Spain, has just opened its doors as a massive repository of cultural and artistic collections that illustrate different non-western cultures of Africa, Asia, America and Oceania. More than 700 pieces on display at the museum come from the private collection of the late Albert Folch-Rusinol (1922-1988) as well as the Ethnological Museum of Barcelona. Its Asian art collection, among the largest in the world, features priceless objets d’art from India, Nepal, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The Myanmar collection figures prominently in the Asia section. Most are Buddha images and deities in different sizes and styles dating from the 16th to 20th centuries. The Myanmar collection includes several images of the “Crowned Buddha” (16th to 18th centuries) from Arakan and elsewhere, “Victorious Buddha over the demon Mara” from the late 19th century, “Buddha with his disciples” from the 19th century and a deity from the 18th to 19th centuries. Besides the religious sculptures, the museum boasts the Kammavaca manuscripts dating to the 19th century. The manuscripts contain sacred texts of Theravada Buddhism about the ordination and behaviour of monks. Written in the Pali language and Burmese script, mainly on lacquered and gilded palm leaves, they were widely produced and disseminated throughout Myanmar in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The first and last pages were generally illustrated with mythical creatures. There’s also a gong stand. In Myanmar, some of the supports for holding gongs and drums are elaborately decorated with figurative motifs for use in religious and courtly contexts. This support represents toe nayar, a Burmese-tradition mythical beast with dragon or snake scales on its body, hoofed feet, a fish-like tail, wings, a lion’s head and an elephant’s trunk and tusks. In this case, the toe nayar would have protected the orchestra of which it formed part, thus ensuring its success in performances. According to the museum’s website, some of these art objects were gathered during ethnological-anthropological trips and campaigns to different parts of Africa, America, Asia and Oceania, funded by the Barcelona City Council. EPA An audience with the deva A visitor eyes a deity from Myanmar, part of the 700 archaeological pieces from Asia, Africa, America and Oceania, which are displayed at the new Museum of World Cultures in Barcelona, Spain. Yangon celebrates International Women’s Day Myanmar to witness the ‘Big Bang’ in July Big Bang’s Facebook Page MYANMAR ELEVEN Big Bang is slated to perform a concert in Myanmar in July. MYANMAR ELEVEN Popular South Korean idol group Big Bang will hold a concert in Myanmar in July, according to Living Sound Entertainment. “We are planning to hold it at a venue with a seating capacity of between 40,000 and 50,000 fans. Only then, it will be convenient for us,” said Jaw Maran of Living Sound Entertainment. Living Sound Entertainment, which organised the band’s labelmate 2NE1’s concert in Myanmar last year, is currently looking for a suitable venue to stage the concert. “We need to invest a lot to bring the band here. We will try to sell the tickets at reasonable prices for everyone without making the prices too high,” he added. Formed by YG Entertainment in 2006, the five-member band comprises G-dragon, TOP, Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri. Big Bang is one of the top idol groups in South Korea with fans throughout the world. The group has released a number of popular hits over the past eight years with plans to release an album within this year. When 2NE1 staged a successful concert last August, it attracted over 10,000 fans although it was the most expensive concert in Myanmar. To celebrate International Women’s Day this Sunday, the week-long Yangon Women’s Festival is being organised to inspire and celebrate Myanmar women’s achievements. The festival brings together female artists, performers and professionals in an attempt to remove the stigma attached to society’s views on women and to promote gender equality in Myanmar through role models as a way to educate and inspire young ladies. Featuring art exhibitions, concerts, movie screenings and seminars, the festival serves as a hub of women’s rights concerns and empowerment in Myanmar while creating a platform to expose and advertise women’s contributions and voices. The festival, which wraps up this Sunday, runs at various venues including Think Art Gallery, Pansodan Scene, Mojo, Coconut Cafe and Bar, Sein Lan So Pyay Garden and the French Institute. All are welcome. Admission is free.
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