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9 Acres of Marga Land Returned to Govt, but MP Demands More

The return to public hands of more than half a plot of land given to Marga Landmark Co for the relocated Dagon City real estate project in the waning days of the previous government is not enough for MP U Maung Maung Ohn, who yesterday called for more.

Nine of the 17.7 acres of public land granted to Marga have been returned to the government, deputy minister for education U Win Maw Tun told the Amyotha Hluttaw yesterday.

The land, near Yangon’s Inya Lake, was owned by what was then the Ministry of Science and Technology, but Marga obtained a permit to develop it from the Myanmar Investment Commission. The concession came in February, several months after the real estate firm’s initial plans – for a luxury high-rise development in close proximity to Shwedagon Pagoda – ran afoul of Buddhist nationalists, the public and eventually the government.

But the new arrangement lacked hluttaw approval, an issue raised by MPs earlier this year amid a broader discussion of last-minute deal-making by the previous government.

U Maung Maung Ohn (NLD; Aye­yarwady 5) yesterday said he would continue to ask questions about what is planned for the area until he gets a definitive answer. For him, the 9-acre give-back, tentatively to be the site of a new research centre, is not enough.

“I do not accept it because they will build housing or development centres, and there will be many people,” he said. “The fumes from the laboratory are not good in places with lots of people. It is not appropriate to take the land for their own self interest … This land is for the students to do research.”

“Since the era of General Aung San, this land has been given out with the aim of doing research on rice, teak and agriculture,” he continued. “They have taken a state-owned asset without reporting to the hluttaw and without transparency. I do not know what they are doing with it. I have asked because I assumed that the state’s asset is being exploited through the use of inadvisable power.”

U Maung Maung Ohn said a lack of quality research was one factor keeping the country impoverished, adding that he hoped to see as much of the 17.7 acres of land as possible dedicated to research facilities.

Daw Nyo Nyo Thin, a former regional MP who first proposed to the Yangon hluttaw that the project be cancelled, told The Myanmar Times yesterday that the Dagon land relocation was not transparent. The projects need to be reassessed under the new government, she said.

“This is science and technology land,” she said. “I do not understand why the military owned that land. Those projects should be checked again by the new government.”

In April, the Ministry of Science and Technology was abolished as such and housed under the Ministry of Education.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

 

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