A conspiracy of silence seems to surround the issue of parts allegedly stolen from imported vehicles at Yangon ports, parliament heard on July 13.
That was the conclusion reached by Magwe Region MP U Hla Swe, who claimed stolen parts, including TVs, CD players, spare wheels and floor mats, were being pilfered at the ports and resold at Tarmwe township tax-free market. He urged importers to speak out.
When U Hla Swe raised the matter in Amyotha Hluttaw, deputy transport minister U Han Sein replied that no complaint about stolen parts had been reported from any Yangon port for the past two years, nor had any arrests been made for the theft of such parts.
However, the deputy minister added, “The authorities are acting to prevent the resale of stolen auto accessories at Tarmwe market by posting guards or 24-hour patrols by teams of police, ward and market officials. They are also watching auto accessories shops ready to make arrests for the resale of stolen goods.”
U Hla Swe said, “The deputy minister said there was no complaint. It is reported that there are more than 140 security staff at the port, and port authorities say they are conducting systematic security checks. Since we are told no complaints have been made, it looks as if importers are keeping mum about their missing auto parts. There is a solution: if something is missing, importers should complain.”
Vehicle importers said they already frequently complain about missing parts, though so far authorities have been unable to offer much help.
U Soe Htun, chair of Farmer Auto, said in a telephone interview that his imported vehicles often arrive with parts missing.
“I’m always losing smart keys,” he said. “When that happens, I complain at the port. But they can’t do anything for me and I don’t receive any compensation.”
U Soe Htun said last month the port called a meeting to discuss the issue, but it does not appear to be solved.
MPs heard that according to a Ministry of Transport survey, there were 149 security staff in total at the two Thilawa ports concerned, including 103 at Myanmar International and 46 at Myanmar Integrated Port.
Deputy Minister U Han Sein agreed that importers could prepare an inventory before the vehicle left the ship and compare it with the inventory produced by the shipper, then claim for any discrepancy. Compensation would be the responsibility of the shipping line, he said.
“Myanma Port Authority has issued the necessary instructions to avoid destruction of or theft from imported vehicles,” he said.
Security measures were in place for all three stages of importation: the time the vehicles were aboard the ship, the time spent in the storage area at the port, and the time when the importers took delivery, he said.
Source: Myanmar Times