Jade Curse Tests Post-Sanctions Myanmar

Its embrace can bring wealth beyond measure, or instant death. It is a magnet for the most impoverished migrant workers and the most ruthless exploiters. Its haunts are a cauldron of armed conflict beyond the law of the land. In what could be one of its most challenging tests, how will Myanmar’s democratic government deal […]

NGOs in Myanmar against EU agreement

EU has requested an investment protection agreement with Myanmar which is being criticized by local NGOs in Myanmar. The agreement was intended to secure investors from EU in case of dispute so the dispute could be raised at an international court of law. Local NGOs say that disputes about legal rights to land is a […]

To pay or not to pay? INGOs wrangle over income tax

With a new government in office and the start of a new financial year, international non-government organisations (INGOs) are holding intense discussions over whether their well-paid expat staff should pay income tax in Myanmar. Some have been paying tax for years; others claim to have deals that exempt their foreign staff; and others would not […]

Guest registration changes tipped to win NLD ‘goodwill’

“Midnight inspections” – raids on the homes of suspected dissidents and opponents of the former regime – could be a thing of the past. But observers have warned that the proposal by the National League for Democracy to scrap this practice would leave many other repressive laws in place. On March 21, the NLD proposed abolishing the […]

End of a way of life: Burmese islands that are home to 2,000 sea gipsies set to be turned into ‘new Phuket’ with 30 hotels and a casino

Mergui Archipelago in Burma is home to 800 untouched islands but officials says this could soon change 30 hotels and resorts have been given the green lights and officials say these could attract eco-tourists and divers Only 2,612 tourists visited the islands last year, but this is set to soar if plans are given the […]

Anthem Asia Invests “Six-Figure Sum” in Myanmar-based Mobile Platform

Investment and advisory firm Anthem Asia is to invest a “six-figure US dollar sum” in Xavey, a mobile data collection platform in Myanmar, taking a significant minority equity stake in the start-up firm. Xavey Pte Ltd, a Singapore-registered entity operating out of Yangon, was established in December 2013 and serves market research and NGO clients. […]

Aid groups in Myanmar trip over links to elite

YANGON, MYANMAR — Staff hired to work with the U.S. government’s aid agency in Myanmar are preparing to move out of their office following revelations their landlord is a notorious former spymaster who oversaw the imprisonment and torture of thousands of pro-democracy activists. The debacle surrounding Development Alternatives Inc., a company contracted by USAID to […]

London Accused of Hypocrisy While Preaching Myanmar Transparency

The British government has been sharply criticized for hiding behind “commercial confidentiality” rules relating to Myanmar while calling for business transparency in the Southeast Asian nation. The London Foreign and Commonwealth Office has refused all requests for information about British companies’ activities in Myanmar, “using commercial interests and commercial confidentiality as an excuse,” said the […]

Chinese and Indian Firms Tipped for Kyaukphyu SEZ Bidding Race

The Burmese government call for international bids to develop a proposed Special Economic Zone around Kyaukphyu on the western coast makes no mention of existing MoUs already signed with Chinese and Japanese companies, and reportedly involving noted crony Burmese businessman Tay Za. The announcement raises questions over these previous agreements, but an economic expert on […]

Myanmar braces for mobile phone boom as Internet access trickles in

In Yangon, Myanmar, giant Samsung billboards hang overhead as dozens of handset shops line the crowded city streets and advertise the latest smartphones. Just a few years ago, you wouldn’t have seen such a sight, said Soe Nyi Nyi, a local tech entrepreneur. “There’s been a lot of changes,” he said. “There’s a lot of […]