MP urges parliament to re-invite tender for Yangon New Town Plan

A Yangon MP lashed out at the lack of transparency around the so-called Yangon New Town investment plan and calling for an open tender to chose its contractor, following the announcement of the secret deal on August 22.

The Yangon Region government’s plan to create the new town adjacent the country’s largest city were kept secret until August 22 when Yangon Mayor Hla Myint revealed the plan at the ninth session of Yangon Region Parliament. He also announced that Myanma Sedana Myothit Plc won the contract to build a housing project on 30,000 acres of land, located in Kyimyindine, Seikkyi Kanaungto and Twantay townships.

“The plan was kept secret as we feared that it would create unnecessary confusion while preparations were being made,” the mayor said.

Nyo Nyo Thin, an MP from Bahan Township constituency, on August 25 urged the Yangon Region Parliament to re-open the bid, to ensure transparency.

The project is of high importance to Yangon residents, but it has been kept secret, he said. He added that it was unfair to all as the construction plan is awarded to a single company. An open tender is necessary to ensure transparency in the gigantic project.

“The Yangon Region government hid the info silently. Only the regional government knew there would be a project. In some countries like Cambodia and Indonesia, government officials who know about this investment in advance would buy up land under others’ names. I’m not sure if this would be the same here. Nobody can guarantee whether our officials won’t do the same,” Nyo Nyo Thin said.

Land prices in the townships are expected to rise on the back of the plan, which will exacerbate the situation of many poor who cannot afford accommodation in the city.

The biggest city in Myanmar now houses some 6 million people.

It remains unclear whether the New Town Plan is part of the 20-year urban development plan, which is being drafted for Myanmar’s biggest city by the Construction Ministry and the National Comprehensive Development Plan. The plan has won assistance from the United Nations Development Programme.

The majority of Myanmar’s 60 million people live in the central and lower areas of the country. Yangon has the largest population, with Mandalay in the north coming second with 1.5 million people. The capital, Nay Pyi Taw, has a population of about 500,000. Nationwide, about 30 cities have populations of more than 100,000. Among them, Yangon is the most attractive in terms of job opportunities.

Nationwide, about 33 per cent of Myanmar’s population are in urban areas, but this will rise to 36 per cent in 2030. As the country reopened its doors, Yangon – the biggest city – will continue to draw more migrants from rural areas.


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