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Heartbeat of the nation

500
Ks.

DAILY EDITION

www.mmtimes.com

ISSUE 22 | tuesday, April 7, 2015

Trawler
tragedy
lifts veil
on illegal
recruitment
Wa Lone
Laignee Barron
newsroom@mmtimes.com
AFTER a Russian trawler crewed in
part by 42 Myanmar fishermen sank
in a tragic disaster last week, the veil
was lifted on a duplicitous recruitment
scheme that has for years profited by
illegally tricking labourers onto fishing
boats, The Myanmar Times has learned.
Two of the five Myanmar recruitment agencies responsible for sending seamen aboard the now sunken
Russian freezer Dalniy Vostok admitted they knowingly falsified workers
registration cards, and said such practices were standard in the industry.
The companies told The Myanmar Times they regularly registered
recruited seamen to government-approved vessels, but instead sent the
workers into unchartered territories
and unpermitted industries, such as
the fishing sector.
Thats a normal case. We always
have to do it because the [approved]
shipping companies have no jobs, but
another, unregistered ship has a vacancy so we [send them there] even
though it violates the laws of the Department of Maritime Administration, said U Soe Tint, manager of Myanmar Sea Rider Shipping.
Myanmar migrants can work
aboard cargo ships, oil tankers or cruise
vessels but government rules make it illegal for them to join the overseas fishing industry, which is rife with abusive
and exploitative conditions.
Continued on news 4

PAGE

Buses sit idle as drivers quit in droves

Photo: Zarni Phyo

Thousands of buses have been warehoused because drivers on the citys notoriously
chaotic network are quitting due to worsening traffic and declining incomes, sources in
the industry have told The Myanmar Times.

Six-way talks set for April 10


Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann tells representatives from 18 parties at meeting yesterday that President U Thein Sein
has agreed to six-way talks on the constitution, and a meeting is expected to take place on April 10. news 3

2 News

THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

Over 66,000
white cards
surrendered
in Rakhine
Former white-card holders given receipt to
enable them to apply for citizenship from June

Lun Min
Mang
lunmin.lm@gmail.com

IMMIGRATION officials in Rakhine


State have collected almost 67,000
white cards since a hand-back program began on April 1, a senior official said yesterday.
In February, the Presidents Office announced that the cards, which
have been distributed to temporary
citizens, would be invalid from
March 31. Holders have been given
until May 31 to return them.

When we ask
the holders, they
often give their
cards to us with
no complaints or
resistance.
U Shwe Hla
Muslim leader

The process is overwhelmingly


focused on Rakhine State, where
more than 83 percent of white-card
holders mostly Muslims who identify as Rohingya live.
Immigration Department director U Khin Soe told The Myanmar
Times yesterday that the numbers of
cards being handed in had been low
on April 1 but increased day by day.
The department has set up 71
centres in the states 14 townships
to manage the return process.
The centres are run by immigration officers together with

teachers and volunteers.


On the first day we collected
about 1700 cards but as of [April
6] we have collected 66,863 cards,
he said.
Department figures show there
are 797,504 white-card holders nationally, of whom 666,381 live in Rakhine State. Only Kayah State and
western Bago Region have no whitecard holders.
Those who hand in the cards
have been given a receipt, which
they can then use to apply for citizenship from June, U Khin Soe said.
U Shwe Hla, a representative
from the Muslim community in Sittwe who is helping the immigration
department collect white cards, said
the process was proceeding smoothly.
When we ask the holders, they
often give their cards to us with no
complaints or resistance. It has been
easy to collect them, he said, adding
that he and his family will apply for
citizenship when applications open
in June.
Citizenship applications will be
examined by township- and statelevel citizenship scrutiny boards. It
is unclear how the government will
handle applicants who cannot meet
the citizenship criteria, or former
white-card holders who refuse to
apply. Some Muslims say they will
refuse to apply because they would
be forced to list their ethnicity as
Bengali rather than Rohingya.
U Khin Soe said the issue will be
overseen by a new advisory board
formed by the Presidents Office on
April 3 to review laws, rules and
regulations and tasks related to the
temporary cards, according to state
media.
The commission comprises nine
members and is led by U Win Myint,
the deputy minister for immigration
and population.
We will manage unidentified
people as advised by the commission, he said. I think they will call a
meeting within this month.

MPs show respect for late colleague


Htoo Thant
thanhtoo.npt@gmail.com
PYITHU Hluttaw representatives yesterday forewent their daily allowance,
donating it to the relatives of MP U
Pyae Maung, who passed away on
April 5.
The representative for Madaya
township from the Union Solidarity and Development Party, U Pyae
Maung died at his home. The cause of
death has not been released. While his
official biography lists him as 69 years
old, his colleagues said he was 71.
At the suggestion of deputy speaker
U Nanda Kyaw Swar, parliamentarians yesterday formally noted their

sadness at his death.


The deputy speaker said U Pyae
Maung had fulfilled his duties to the
public and had been a capable member of the Pyithu Hluttaw Public Affairs Management Committee.
Elected and military MPs agreed to
donate their K20,000 daily allowance,
totaling K8.38 million, to his relatives.
During the second hluttaw session
in late 2011, representatives agreed
that if an MP passes away while in office they would donate their daily allowance to the representatives family.
The proposal was submitted by U
Myo Thant, who represents Yedashe
in Bago Region, in memory of a colleague from Htantabin who died

earlier that year.


When the MP from Htantabin
died, we felt that we had not done our
duty toward him, U Myo Thant said
yesterday. The duty of an MP is huge
and so is the loss. Thats why I put forward an urgent proposal to help their
remaining family members with our
daily allowance.
U Pyae Maung joined the Tatmadaw in 1962 and retired as a major,
later taking up farming and livestock
breeding. He previously served as head
of the war veterans and anti-drug associations for Madaya township. MPs
said yesterday he kept a low profile
but was respected by his colleagues.
Translation by Thiri Min Htun

A woman walks past a car parked on Bo Sein Hman Street in Bahan township yesterday. Photo: Thiri

Yangon gets more no-parking zones


Toe Wai Aung
linnhtet.lt@gmail.com
TRAFFIC police have expanded Yangons no-parking zones to another four
areas in a bid to fight traffic congestion.
The citys traffic police chief, Police
Lieutenant Colonel Lin Htut, said the
zones came into effect on April 3, adding that there were now 99 no-parking
zones in Yangon.

Any cars found parked in these areas will be towed away if the driver cannot be found. If police find the driver,
they will issue a fine, he said.
The four zones are Taw Win Road,
between Pyay and Mindhamma roads;
Oke Pone Seik Road from Kabar Aye
Pagoda Road to Thudhamma Road;
Bo Sein Mhan Road from Shwegonedaing Road to U Chit Maung Road,
continuing into South Race Course

Road from U Chit Maung Road to East


Race Course Road; and New Strand
Road from Aung Yadanar Road to
Wardan Road.
He said that for the month of
March traffic police took action
against more than 30,000 drivers for
traffic infringements, while another
21,000 faced action for parking violations in the 95 no-parking zones.
Translation by Khant Lin Oo

www.mmtimes.com

News editor: Thomas Kean | tdkean@gmail.com

News 3

Wa army offers to host ceasefire summit in Pangkham


Ei Ei Toe Lwin
eieitoelwin@gmail.com
THE United Wa State Army has offered to host a conference of leaders
of ethnic groups from across Myanmar next month to consider the
draft nationwide ceasefire agreement
reached with the government.
The offer by Myanmars most powerful ethnic armed group to host the
critical talks in its border stronghold
of Pangkham also known as Panghsang is seen by some analysts as a
bid by the Wa to incorporate other
ethnic allies, including Kokang rebels, that were excluded by the government from the peace process in
Yangon.
We are going to find a way to end
civil war as soon as possible based
on the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord,
UWSA spokesperson U Aung Myint
told The Myanmar Times yesterday.
The UWSA has informed U Thein
Zaw, deputy chair of the government

ceasefire negotiating team, of its offer to host the talks from May 1 to
3, U Aung Myint said. Government
negotiators, who signed the draft accord with representatives of 16 armed
ethnic groups on March 31, will not
attend the ethnic leaders conference.
The signing of the draft in a ceremony witnessed by President U
Thein Sein has been hailed in some
quarters as a historic achievement,
but the agreement still needs the
blessing of the various ethnic leaders
who could decide they want changes.
The president has urged the ethnic
groups to reach a final agreement as
soon as possible so political dialogue
can begin.
Both sides have acknowledged
that failure to complete dialogue before the start of election campaigning
could put progress made to date at
risk, as an incoming government in
2016 might not honour agreements
made by its predecessor.
The UWSA, which is estimated

to have between 20,000 and 30,000


fighters and is equipped with Chinasourced weaponry, has enjoyed a
relatively stable ceasefire with the Myanmar government for more than 20
years. It is not a member of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team
(NCCT) that negotiated the agreement
on behalf of 16 ethnic armed groups
in Yangon.
While the UWSA joined talks that
began in November 2013 as an observer, it stayed away from the latest
round after the military accused the
Wa of supporting allied Kokang rebels in fighting that erupted in northern Shan state in February.
The Kokang rebels of the Myanmar
National Democratic Alliance Army
(MNDAA) are members of the NCCT
but the government refuses to recognise their status and has previously
rejected their offers of a ceasefire,
despite Chinas urging to find a political solution. More than 100 government troops have died in the fighting,

according to unofficial tallies of Tatmadaw casualty reports, and tens of


thousands of people have fled their
homes across the border to China.

We are going to
find a way to end
civil war as soon as
possible.
U Aung Myint
United Wa State Army

The NCCT has urged the government to resolve the Kokang conflict
through political means. The negotiators also sent a clear message that a
final ceasefire agreement would be
signed by all NCCT members, including the MNDAA.

The deputy chair of the NCCT, Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win, said the group
had put forward three possible summit
venues Pangkham, the Kachin Independence Armys base of Laiza and
Law Khee Lar, which is the headquarters of the Karen National Union but
it was up to the ethnic leaders and not
the NCCT to decide. He said a decision
could be reached after April 20.
The offer by the Wa to host the
ethnic leaders summit is seen by
some observers as a way of putting
pressure on the Tatmadaw to halt its
offensive against the Kokang rebels.
The Ethnic Nationalities Affairs
Center, an NGO based in Chiang Mai,
published a report on April 4 that
said it would be difficult for the ethnic leaders to sign a ceasefire agreement without the MNDAA if fighting
was continuing in Kokang. The NCCT
members were committed to seeking a
truly nationwide NCA that will mean
all fighting will cease throughout the
country upon signing, the report said.

Rakhine
party to
resume
election
cooperation
Lun Min Mang
lunmin.lm@gmail.com

Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann speaks during a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw on February 11. Photo: AFP

Six-way talks set for April 10


after speaker meets parties
Some participants in yesterdays meeting say talks are locked in, while others are less certain they will be held

Htoo Thant

Pyae Thet Phyo

A SIX-WAY meeting to discuss


amendments to the constitution appears set to take place on April 10,
with MPs saying that Pyidaungsu
Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe
Mann had revealed the date in a
meeting yesterday.
The meeting, which parliament
proposed back in November, would
bring together the speaker, his upper house counterpart U Khin Aung
Myint, President U Thein Sein, Commander-in-Chief Senior General
Min Aung Hlaing, National League
for Democracy leader Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi and Rakhine National

Party leader U Aye Maung, representing ethnic minorities.


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had earlier called for four-way talks between
herself, U Thein Sein, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and Thura U
Shwe Mann, but has voiced support
for the six-party meeting.
The government has so far resisted taking part in the talks, but
Thura U Shwe Mann told a meeting of political party representatives
yesterday that the president had finally agreed to the meeting, according to those present.
The meeting was held at the conclusion of yesterdays parliamentary
session. Eighteen parties sent two
representatives.
The speaker said that the six-way
talks will be held on April 10. He has
got a letter from the president, said
U Ye Tun, an MP from Hsipaw who
attended as the representative of the

Shan Nationalities Democratic Party.


U Aye Maung said the government
had given the talks the green light.
Parliament will stop on April 10
so we can meet in the evening on
that day, he said. Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi also attended [yesterdays]
meeting. The speaker told me again
to prepare for the six-party talks.
Another Pyithu Hluttaw representative, U Sai Maung Tin from the
SNDP, said the meeting was likely
to be held at 2pm on April 10.
The government could not be
reached for comment yesterday.
However, others who attended
were less certain that the meeting
would take place.
U Soe Win said that Thura U
Shwe Mann had only told parties
to prepare for the six-way talks. He
requested all MPs to attend parliament until the water festival break
begins on April 10.

U Saw Taw Pale, who was also


present at the meeting, said he
planned to submit an urgent proposal today or tomorrow calling for
the talks to be held.
The Kayin Peoples Party representative said MPs also discussed
several other issues, including problems relating to housing.
Some MPs proposed building
housing for representatives inside the
hluttaw compound so they dont have
to stay at the Nay Pyi Taw City Development Committee guesthouse.
It is not convenient for us to stay
at the guesthouse, he said. We will
submit an urgent proposal to build
housings in the hluttaw compound.
U Aye Maung said talks also covered salary increases for MPs and
government staff, as well as plans to
finalise amendments to the National
Education Law during the current
parliament session.

THE Rakhine National Party plans to


resume cooperation in this years elections with two loose coalitions of other
ethnic parties that could improve its
chances of winning seats outside its
home state.
U Hla Myint, a member of the partys central executive committee, said
a three-day meeting of party leaders
that ended on April 4 had decided to
revive electoral agreements with the
Nationalities Brotherhood Federation
(NBF) and United Nationalities Alliance (UNA).
Such electoral alliances are intended to boost the chances of ethnic-based
parties winning seats in areas such as
Yangon, where there are large concentrations of ethnic minorities competing
against the ruling Union Solidarity and
Development Party and the opposition
National League for Democracy.
The RNP was born from a 2013
merger between the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party and the Arakan
League for Democracy. Its two founding parties had been members, respectively, of the NBF and the UNA, but the
merged party decided last year to break
with the two alliances.
The RNP controls eight seats in the
Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house), six in the
Amyotha Hluttaw (upper house) and
18 seats in the Rakhine State Hluttaw,
where it is aiming to win a majority in
the November elections.
U Hla Myint said there would have
to be negotiations with the two alliances as the RNP plans to contest some
constituencies in neighbouring Chin
State and also run for the positions of
ethnic affair ministers for Ayeyarwady
and Yangon regions.
U Aye Thar Aung, a senior RNP
member, said, To widen the democratic nature in politics, we decided to
break the lock. We are to work again
with the two alliances.
Asked why the RNP had ended the
cooperation last year, he replied that the
decision was made by the central executive committee without his knowledge.
The RNPs chances of a strong result
in Rakhine have been boosted by the
governments decision to cancel temporary identity papers held mostly by the
Muslim Rohingya minority in the state
that allowed them to vote in the 2010
elections.

4 News

THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

continued from news 1

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INVESTIGATION

Job agencies admit illegal


practices after ship sinking
Rights advocates call for heavy punishments for five recruitment companies that sent abroad the
Myanmar migrants who ended up on the Dalniy Vostok, which sank in frozen waters on April 2

Wa Lone

Laignee Barron

It is also illegal to transfer a recruited seaman from one ship to another


without the Department of Maritime
Administrations prior approval, said
U Toe Myint, director of the administrations seaman department.
But the regulations are flagrantly
ignored.
On its website, Sea Rider lists
worker registration cards posting seamen to vessels in Malaysia, Singapore
and the United Arab Emirates. But in
late November 2014, Sea Rider sent a
group of fresh recruits to Busan, South
Korea, where they joined the crew of
Russian trawler the Dalniy Vostok.
According to manager U Soe Tint,
all the seamen accepted the transfer
from various posts to the fishing ship.
He said they even signed a document
agreeing to crew a vessel not registered with the Myanmar government
as it sailed back into Russian waters.
But their families tell a different
story; They say the men had no idea
they were being sent to a fishing vessel until it was too late. When the men
found out their lot, they were given
no other employment options and,
having already paid a steep fee to
the agency, felt they had little option
but to take menial fishing work in exchange for promised high wages.
Sea Rider admits it sent 27 Myanmar workers to the Russian trawler
now submerged in the freezing waters
of the Northern Pacific. One of those
Sea Rider recruited is dead and another 13 are unaccounted for, presumed
dead.
Ko Zwe Wai Yan, 26, is one of a
handful of Sea Riders recruits listed
by the Myanmar embassy in Moscow
as a survivor. His sister, Ma Ei Ei Min,
said he paid US$2500 to the agency
to work on the docks as an engine
mechanic.
We have tried to get information
about my little brother from the company but they didnt want to respond
to us because they said they were too
busy, she said yesterday.
She found out her brother was
alive via a crew list posted to Facebook
following the deadly accident.
Star Global, another recruitment
agency that sent Myanmar seamen
into the trawler disaster, said it had
knowingly recruited four workers for
the Dalniy Vostok after South Korean
brokers advertised vacancies.
Two of Star Globals recruits are
still missing, nearly a week after the
vessel went down in conditions that
rescue workers said would be fatal
after just 20 minutes exposure to the
elements.
Star Global manager U Than Chit
Kywe said the company knew it was
sending workers to a vessel without
Myanmar government approval.
This is the normal way for brokers
of Myanmar seamen even the big
shipping lines do it. They need to do it
to create jobs for the seaman, he said.
After catching wise to the five recruiters schemes, the Maritime Administration indefinitely suspended
the agencies Seafarer Recruitment
and Placement Service licences.
We will take action on the companies according to the instructions of
the department. The suspension can

Top: A file picture taken on March 20, 2013, provided by ShipSpotting.com shows the Stende trawler in the Canary Islands.
The trawler was bought in 2014 by Magellan LLC and renamed Dalny Vostok. Above left: Rescuers search freezing waters
off Russias far east on April 2 for survivors. Above right: The entrance to Sea Riders Yangon office. Photos: AFP, Wa Lone

be temporary or permanent depending on how the company responds to


the victims; we are watching, U Toe
Myint said.
In addition to Sea Rider and Star
Global, the companies caught defrauding registration cards with incorrect descriptions of employers and
work locations included Top Chance
Company, Asia Wav Service, and Light
Oasis.
The latter three declined to comment when contacted by The Myanmar Times yesterday.

This is the normal


way for brokers of
Myanmar seamen
even the big
shipping lines do it.
U Than Chit Kywe
Star Global manager

Star Global was the only one that


mentioned compensation. It said this
would be up to the ships owner, Russian seafood company Magellan LLC.
The company did not respond to
requests for comment yesterday, but
Alexei Vasin, general director of Magellan LLC, told Interfax that survivors
would be given 200,000 rubles ($3500),
while the families of the deceased will
get 500,000 rubles ($8900).
According to the Myanmar embassy
in Moscow, the Russian government
has already promised 1 million rubles
($18,000) for the victims. However, it
is unclear whether the money will only
apply to Russian citizens or also extend
to undocumented migrant labourers.
Rights advocates said yesterday
they were not surprised that recruitment agencies had been engaging in
illicit activity, but added that the Myanmar authorities should have acted
earlier to stop the scheme.
The real fault lies with the Ministry
of Labour, which is apparently asleep
at the switch when it comes to enforcing its regulations, said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights

Watchs Asia Division.


The Ministry of Labour needs to
blacklist everyone involved with these
five agencies for life from any involvement in labour recruitment, and prosecutors should prosecute those responsible. Anything less than that means
that these unscrupulous recruiters will
rename and rebrand themselves.
In Russia, criminal investigations
have already been launched into potential negligence that led up to accident,
as well as the apparent violations of the
labour laws. The Dalniy Vostok also
had fishermen from Ukraine, Latvia
and Vanuatu on board when it went
down.
The foreign crew are a concern as
they were brought to the vessel outside
Russian territorial waters. Therefore
they could not obtain work permits in
line with the Russian national requirements for foreign workers, said Vadim
Ivanov, vice president of the Seafarer
Union of Russia. All this looks like an
illegal scheme.
In both 2014 and 2013, Russia
granted just one work permit a year to
Myanmar nationals.

News 5

www.mmtimes.com

Beijing
struggles
to rein in
human
traffickers
Khin Su Wai
jasminekhin@gmail.com
BILATERAL agreements between Myanmar and China on human trafficking are facing practical difficulties in
implementation in Yunnan and the
inner provinces of China, police say.
Police Brigadier General Win Naing
Tun, head of the Anti-Trafficking in
Persons Division, told The Myanmar
Times yesterday that governmentto-government mechanisms were
not thoroughly enforced throughout
China, including in Yunnan province,
which borders on Myanmar.
Myanmar women are sought after
in China partly because the countrys
one-child policy has produced a preponderance of men in the population,
while the rapid rise in prosperity in
the cities has left many unmarried
men in the countryside.
We have a government-to-government agreement [with Beijing], and
we have regular meetings. But for a
remote area like Yunnan, the bilateral
agreements are not in force. Its difficult to tackle human trafficking with
the border liaison office mechanism
in the inner provinces of China, said
Brig Gen Win Naing Tun, who is also
joint secretary of the Central Body for
Suppression of Trafficking in Persons.
Last month the Chinese authorities
reported the breaking-up of a criminal
ring of more than 35 people, led by two
men called Tang and Yang, who advertised to lonely older single men, saying, While Chinese wives would cheat
on you, a Myanmar woman would cost
you only 20,000 yuan [US$3200].
According to the Want Daily newspaper, the young women were sold to
customers in Henan, Shandong and
Anhui provinces. Chinese police freed
177 women and underage girls who
had been illegally taken and sold off.

Yangon chief brushes


off hotel project suit
U Myint Swe says he was instructed by the Union government to sign
lease agreement with developer, a claim lawyers have dismissed as a lie

Ye Mon
yeemontun2013@gmail.com

THE fight over the future of one


of downtown Yangons most iconic
colonial-era buildings intensified
yesterday amid accusations of lying.
The charge came only days after the
Myanmar Lawyers Network had
filed suit, for the third time, to block
plans to turn the old Small Claims
Court the former headquarters
of the Burma Socialist Programme
Party into a five-star hotel.
On April 3, the network applied
to Yangon Region High Court to
sue the chief minister for Yangon
Region, the Myanmar Investment
Commission and Flying Tiger, the
development company, over their
respective roles in the project.
Network advocate U Kyee Myint said the chief minister had
lied when he said he had been instructed to proceed by the Union
government, adding that the signing ceremony between the regional
government and Flying Tiger had
been broadcast on MRTV.
The chief minister shouldnt lie,
we have too many witnesses. The
project cant start without his permission, he said.
Chief Minister U Myint Swe
told The Myanmar Times yesterday
that the Union government had instructed him to issue the tender and
had given permission to rent the
court building to a private company.
This has nothing to do with me.
The instruction came from the Union government, and the Myanmar
Investment Commission (MIC) issued the tender. I have nothing to
fear from this case, he said.
Advocates U Than Tin, U Kyee

CRIME in BRIEF
Missing girl forced into
prostitution, says mother

A mother reported to Hlaing Tharyar


township police that her 15-year-old
daughter was forced into prostitution
by two human traffickers.
The Twante township mother said
her daughter revealed that the traffickers, a man and a woman, had forced
her to have sex with six men a day. The
girl was allegedly given K3000 a day by
her captors who charged each client
K5000.
The mother has asked the Myanmar
Womans Affairs Federation to intervene and also opened a criminal case
at the police station under article 24 of
the Anti-Human Trafficking Law.

Teen-parent squabble turns deadly

A family dispute ended in tragedy with


a teenage son murdering his father, according to the Okkan police station.
The pair, from Kyon Kyon Kya village,
argued on April 2. Tensions between
the 16-year-old and the 44-year-old
escalated until the teen picked up a
stone and bamboo yoke and beat his
father to death. Police in Okkan opened
a murder investigation under section
302 of the penal code.

Farm fire kills 70-year old man

A lawyer holds a placard during a protest against a hotel project in


downtown Yangon in October 2012. Photo: Ko Taik

Myint and U Ohn Maung have


sought to lodge complaints against
U Myint Swe, former MIC head U
Zeyar Aung and two private Myanmar-owned companies, Flying Tiger
and Prime Residence, over the proposed hotel. The high court has not
yet responded to their application.
MNL first applied to the high
court in November 2013, and again
a year later, under section 42 of the
Specific Relief Act, but the case was
rejected each time with no reason
given.
Flying Tiger won a tender in
2012 to turn the building into a fivestar hotel. Under the agreement,
it will pay US$14.4 million for a

70-year lease, and the Union government will receive 7 percent of


the income.
Flying Tiger managing director
U Thaung Htike Min said yesterday that his company had commissioned Hong Kong-based Purcell to
draft a conservation management
plan, and now the renovation plan
was complete.
Were now repairing the roof
of the courthouse; otherwise the
building will be destroyed. Were
acting with the approval of the Union government and the regional
government, under a tender approved by the MIC. We have nothing to fear from the case, he said.

Slash-and-burn farming in Nyaung Pin


Thar village got out of control on April 2
and killed a farmer.
The victim, U Saw Hlaing, 70, tried to
save his cows from the out-of-control
blaze, but was killed in the process.
Police Captain Htun Naing opened
a criminal case of death by negligence
as well as negligent conduct with
combustibles.

Man found dead in home

A 36-year-old man was found dead


in his Thanlyin township home with a
knife wound to his neck on April 5.
Relatives told police that the man
was an alcoholic who had given up
drinking four days earlier. After he
went nuts while withdrawing from
alcohol, they took him to an exorcist in
Htamalone village. He was allowed to
go home on his own from the exorcism
while the rest of the family continued
on to a wedding.
The family found him dead in his
home after returning from the wedding.
Toe Wai Aung, translation by Emoon

6 News

THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

Thousands of buses sit idle


as drivers flee traffic jams
Worsening traffic and declining incomes have driven many out of the industry, with some turning to taxis instead

aye
nyein
win
ayenyeinwin.mcm@gmail.com

Electoral
reform
returns to
agenda
pyae thet phyo
pyaethetphyo87@gmail.com
MINOR political parties yesterday debated a bill in the upper
house on amending the electoral
system to include some degree
of proportional representation
even though the lower house
last year decided to retain the
first-past-the-post system and
changes are considered unlikely
before parliamentary elections
in November.
Amyotha Hluttaw representative Daw Khin Wine Kyi of the
National Democratic Force had
tabled a motion to adopt a system of proportional representation in elections for the upper
house. Views were mixed, however, even among smaller parties
that might stand to benefit from
electoral reform.
U Zaw Zaw Tun from the New
Society Democratic Party said a
PR system would have an adverse effect on equality if applied in the upper house. Daw
Yi Yi San, secretary of New Era
Peoples Party, said it was better
to continue applying the existing system but that PR should be
used in some regions.
U Myo Nyunt, general secretary of the Democracy and Peace
Party, said PR should be applied
if it was demonstrated to be
practical but careful consideration was necessary. U Sat Thar
Oo, chair of the Federal Union
Party, said it was too early for
Myanmar as a young democracy to adopt PR.
The Pyithu Hluttaw, or lower
house, voted unanimously last
November to keep the existing
electoral system after the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that seven other proposed alternatives
were unconstitutional.
The existing system is generally considered to favour the
opposition National League for
Democracy.

LIFE on the buses is getting too hard,


bus owners are warning. Drivers are
leaving in droves, exhausted by the
increasing congestion and aggression
they experience, losing money because of reduced opportunities to pick
up passengers, and aware of greener
pastures elsewhere. All of this means
more misery for the commuting
public.
Normally, drivers would run their
route five or six times a day, bringing
in enough fares to support themselves.
But constant heavy traffic has cut in
half the number of circuits they can
run a day, even as their working hours
have lengthened.
Because drivers and conductors
make money based on how much they
bring in from fares rather than from
a salary fewer trips mean less income.
Today, one of my drivers didnt
come in to work because he worked
so late last night. I couldnt find a replacement driver until 10am for a 4am
departure. We lost a lot of money,
said U Myo Win, the owner of buses
on route 31.
Sometimes we can only run three
times a day, half of what we did before.
Drivers arent earning enough.
The situation has been aggravated
by a liberalisation of car import rules
that has seen hundreds of thousands
of private vehicles enter the country
since late 2011. Accidents and frustration have markedly increased.
The Yangon Region Supervisory
Committee for Motor Vehicles, known
by its Myanmar acronym Ma Hta Tha,
as well as Yangon City Development
Committee and the traffic police have
all tried to relieve the situation, including by marking out bus lanes with
concrete dividers and cracking down

on poor driving. Now erring drivers


can face the loss of their licence for up
to six months for some infractions.
But some bus drivers have left Yangon altogether, and others have quit to
become taxi drivers.
Ko Thaw Zin Min told The Myanmar Times he quit his job as a
bus driver and began driving a taxi
a month ago. He said the long hours
and loss of income due to traffic jams
and mechanical failures drove him to
switch careers.
The traffic jams are always getting worse and we cant due as many
routes as before. As a result I didnt
make as much money as I hoped, he
said. Now I can make about K400,000
profit a month.
U Myo Win said some bus owners

Civil servants
in Mandalay to
face rent hike

Embassy delegation begins assessing


status of rescued fishermen in Indonesia

MANDALAY civil servants will face


much higher rents when they move
into a new housing estate on 26th
Street later this year, the government
says.
More than 100 households were
forced to leave their apartments in the
Pyi Taw Thar block in October 2013.
The apartments were demolished and
a new estate, Seittaramahi, is under
development.
While each household paid just
K37 a month to stay at Pyi Taw Thar,
U Kyaw Kyaw Lin, head of the Department of Human Settlement and
Housing Development for Mandalay
Region, said that rents would increase
when they move into Seittaramahi.
It wont be the market price; it will
be a rate for civil servants, he said,
adding that the new rate had not yet
been set.
Former Pyi Taw Thar residents
said they were concerned at the likely
increase.
I didnt even know it was going
to go up, said one civil servant, who
asked not to be named. We are worried that we wont be able to afford the
new rate on our government wages.
Mg Zaw, translation by Zar Zar Soe

A bus driver steers a vehicle through the traffic-clogged streets of downtown Yangon. Photo: Zarni Phyo

faced the loss of their fleet because


they could not pay interest on the
loans they had taken out to buy buses.
Some buses are parked at home because of the driver shortage, he said.
The situation has deterred new
owners from investing in public
transport.
Ko Ta Yote Lay, one of the owners on the No 48 line, said the driver
shortage meant about half of Yangons
6000 registered buses were not in use.
Buses cant run as often as we
want, he said. The owners are cutting back on maintenance and support, and there isnt even enough CNG.
A new owner would have to wait
three to six months to get the permits,
and the existing owners just want to
sell out.

Some owners are suggesting that


road transport authorities should be
prepared to allow tested drivers to go
on the buses even if they dont hold a
so-called nga licence, which enables
them to drive heavy vehicles.
Its not right that more than 2000
buses should be off the road because of
driver shortages, said U Hla Aung, the
head of Ma Hta Tha.
As The Myanmar Times reported
earlier this month, nga licence-holders
were never given a driving test, and
qualified to drive a bus simply because
they held another licence type for at
least five years.
The Road Transport Administration Department has said it plans to
retest all nga licence-holders to ensure
they are up to the task.

More than 300 migrant workers from Myanmar have been rescued from remote islands and held for assessment
Nyan Lynn Aung
29.nyanlynnaung@gmail.com
HUNDREDS of fishermen rescued
over the weekend from remote Indonesian islands got one step closer to
home yesterday, as the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta began an inventory
of names for repatriation.
Officials from the embassy were
dispatched on April 6 to Tual, Indonesia, where more than 300 migrant
fishermen await repatriation assistance, according to the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs.
Indonesian authorities brought
the group of mostly Myanmar workers to the island of Tula from more remote shores after an Associated Press
investigation revealed that hundreds
of migrants had been forced to crew
Thai fishing vessels illegally plying remote Indonesian waters. The men reported beatings, starvation, abusively
long work hours, being shocked with
Tasers and receiving little to no pay.
An Indonesian delegation visited
the island to assess the exploitation
and offer a way out to the stranded

fishermen on April 3. Now, Myanmar


authorities are working to verify the
mens identities, said U Sein Oo, a
Ministry of Foreign Affairs director
general.

If we get confirmation
we will give [the
fishermen] identity
cards and arrange for
them to be taken back
to Myanmar.
Police Colonel Win Naing Tun
Head of government delegation that
will travel to Indonesia this week

Officers have to go and meet


[the fishermen] to collect identification lists as the first step. After
that, we will check to confirm their

citizenship, he said, adding that


the delegation will also be tasked
with identifying victims of human
trafficking.
If the fishermen are in possession
of any legal documentation, such as a
passport or citizenship card, U Sein
Oo said the process will go quickly.
But he warned those who lack any official identification could face delays.
The fishing industry is notoriously rife with fake Seaman Books,
documents that serve as unofficial
visas and often bear counterfeit Thai
names and address to mask the illegal
employment.
One of the key factors exacerbating trafficking into Thailands distant
water fishing fleet is the flourishing
black market trade in counterfeit
Seaman Books, said Steven Trent, executive director of the Environmental
Justice Foundation, a London-based
advocacy organisation.
Pressuring Thailand to crack down
on counterfeit Seaman Books and introduce a port in/port out inspection
regime is one way for neighbouring
governments to reduce the vulnerabil-

ity of their citizens to trafficking.


The US State Department acknowledged that in the past the Myanmar government has been slow to
verify paperwork, and urged officials
to quickly repatriate the rescued fishermen.
In addition to yesterdays embassy delegation, Myanmar also plans
to send government officials and
anti-human trafficking police to Indonesia within the next week to help
scour the remote waters for more
captive fishermen, said Police Colonel Win Naing Tun, who will lead the
team.
We will send reports back to Myanmars immigration department
and if we get confirmation we will
give [the migrant fishermen] identity cards and arrange for them to be
taken back to Myanmar immediately,
he said.
According to government figures,
129 Myanmar fishermen were repatriated from Indonesia in 2013. In the
first three months of this 46 have been
sent home. Additional reporting by
Laignee Barron

News 7

www.mmtimes.com

Views

TRADEMARK CAUTION
3M Company, a Company incorporated and existing under
the laws of Delaware, United States of America, and having its
registered office at 2501 Hudson Road, St. Paul, Minnesota 55144,
United States of America, hereby declares that the Company is the
Owner and Sole Proprietor of the following Trademark:

SCOTCH-MOUNT

Reg. no. IV/691/2015 (29 January 2015)


The above trademark is used in respect of Double coated foam
adhesive for general household use; paper, cardboard and goods
made from these materials, not included in other classes; printed
matter; bookbinding material; photographs; stationery; adhesives
for stationery or household purposes; artists materials; paint
brushes; typewriters and office requisites (expect furniture);
instructional and teaching material (except apparatus); plastic
materials for packaging (not included in other classes); printers
type; printing blocks in Class 16: and
Double coated foam adhesive for industrial use; rubber, guttapercha, gum, asbestos, mica and goods made from these materials
and not included in other classes; plastics in extruded form for
use in manufacture; packing, stopping and insulating materials;
flexible pipes, not of metal in Class 17.

Any
fraudulent imitation or unauthorized use of the above mark or
other infringements whatsoever will be dealt with according to law.
Daw Thit Thit Kyaw, LL.B, M.A( Business Law), (H.G.P.)
For 3M Company,
c/o BM Myanmar Legal Services Limited (Baker & McKenzie)
# 1203, 12th Floor, Sakura Tower,
339 Bogyoke Aung San Road,
Kyauktada Township, Yangon,
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Dated: 7 April 2015
A man barbecues fish at a stand in Hledan Market. There are concerns that a recent decision to increase civil servant
salaries from April 1 will lead to higher prices for commodities, particularly food. Photo: Staff

Will a pay rise really


help civil servants?
Printing money to cover a pay-rise-fuelled deficit will not help the lowest-paid staff

AST week, the government


finally received approval
for its proposed salary
increase for civil servants,
including military personnel. The pay rises came into effect
on April 1, the start of the 2015-16
financial year.
The pay rise comes at a time when
inflation is rising and the currency
is depreciating against the US dollar.
There is speculation that it will add
further impetus to these economic
trends.
It is the third pay rise under U
Thein Seins government. The lowestranking civil servants and military
personnel will see their salaries rise
from K75,000 a month to K120,000.
Meanwhile, the highest-ranking
civil servants the director generals
who head each department will see
their salaries double, from K250,000
to K500,000 a month. The salary of
the highest military officer, the senior
general, will rise from K1.2 million to
K3 million.
There were no increases for senior
government officials. The presidents
salary remains at K5 million, while
ministers will take home K3 million
and their deputies K2 million.
However, the pay for Pyidaungsu
Hluttaw representatives Nay Pyi
Taw-based MPs increased from
K300,000 to K1 million.
The salary increases were partly
aimed at reducing disparities between
ministers and deputy ministers, and
the staff in their ministries. Before, a
deputy minister earned eight times
that of a director general. Now the ratio has been cut in half, to four times.
Meanwhile, the salary of the

Sithu Aung
Myint

newsroom@mmtimes.com

commander-in-chief has been increased to the same level as a minister.


But the increases are skewed
toward higher ranks, with only small
rises for lower ranks. For example,
the salary of a junior civil servant was
previously K75,000, plus a K30,000
cost-of-living allowance. The effective
increase is only K15,000, or about 14
percent.
But a director general who previously took home K280,000 will now
get K500,000, a healthy 80pc increase.
Similarly, while the salary of
the lowest-ranking soldiers in the
Tatmadaw have gone up by 14pc,
the senior generals pay has gone up
about 150pc.
Cast in this light, we cant say that

The increases are


skewed toward
higher ranks, with
only small rises for
lower ranks.

the new pay rise is fair.


Theres also the question of
whether the pay rises for the lower
ranks will be eaten up by inflation.
There is no direct connection
between government pay rises and
increases in commodity prices.
However, if the government meets its
budget deficit by printing cash, this
will lead to inflation and commodity
prices may increase.
The governments budget deficit
is about K3 trillion. It also has a very
high and growing trade deficit.
To cover the budget deficit, the
government has started selling Treasury bonds through auctions. But if it
cant raise enough money to cover the
deficit, it will likely have to print cash.
This can lead to inflation, which
will mostly affect lower-ranking
civil servants, who spend a higher
proportion of their income on basic
commodities.
Lower international oil prices
should be putting downward pressure
on commodities due to lower transportation costs. However, fuel prices
have not dropped significantly.
Moreover, if we look at budget
expenses, Union ministries account
for only 58pc. Another 38pc goes to
state-owned enterprises.
These enterprises are losing more
than K330 billion a year. If the government doesnt privatise them, they
will continue to act as a drain on the
budget.
The budget seems likely to lead
to higher inflation and commodity
prices. While the higher ranks will be
mostly insulated from this, the lower
ranks will bear the brunt.
Translation by Thiri Min Htun

TRADEMARK CAUTION
Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a Company incorporated and
existing under the laws of United States of America and having
its registered office at One Merck Drive, Whitehouse Station, New
Jersey 08889-0100, United States of America, hereby declares that
the Company is the Owner and Sole Proprietor of the following
Trademarks:

TRUSOPT

Reg. No. IV/1411/1991 (26 June 1991)


The above trademark is used in respect of Pharmaceutical
preparations for the treatment of disorders of the eye in Class 5:

COSOPT

Reg. No. IV/4827/1995 (22 November 1995)


The above trademark is used in respect of Ophthalmic
preparations in Class 5:

M-M-VAX

Reg. No. IV/155/1973 (6 April 1973)


The above trademark is used in respect of Immunologic
preparation in Class 5: and

H-B-VAX

Reg. No. IV/2298/2002 (25 April 2002)


The above trademark is used in respect of Human vaccine
preparations in Class 5:

Any
fraudulent imitation or unauthorized use of the above marks or
other infringements whatsoever will be dealt with according to law.
Daw Thit Thit Kyaw, LL.B, M.A( Business Law), (H.G.P.)
For Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.,
c/o BM Myanmar Legal Services Limited (Baker & McKenzie)
# 1203, 12th Floor, Sakura Tower,
339 Bogyoke Aung San Road,
Kyauktada Township, Yangon,
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
Dated: 7 April 2015

8 THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

Business
Garment industry disputes mean fewer
orders and worried factory owners
Guy
Dinmore
guydinmore@gmail.com

LABOUR disputes in the garment industry, a main driver of Myanmars


growing exports, have had a serious
impact on orders from abroad and risk
scaring away foreign investors, according to South Korean officials and sector
representatives.
Disputes over workers demand
for higher wages affected output at
two South Korean factories and three
Chinese-owned enterprises in Yangon
earlier this year until a tough police
crackdown in February got most workers back to the production lines.
Workers were demanding an extra 30,000 kyats (US$28) a month in
wages.
There is a really serious problem
with orders, said Chu Hyun-oh of Suitstar Garment company and representative of the South Korean manufacturers
association. The future of the garment
business in Myanmar looks gloomy, he
told The Myanmar Times.
Myanmar representatives of the industry and union leaders had a much
more upbeat perspective however,
noting record exports last year. There
is also the hope that orderly elections
later this year could lead to an upsurge
in orders from the US.
Mr Chu said that last year Myanmar had successfully attracted foreign
investors who were lured by lower production costs compared with China.
But labour costs had risen by some 25
percent and could rise further on the
back of wage increases recently granted
by the government to civil servants. He
said foreign investors were urging the
government to help resolve labour disputes by finalising an overdue law setting a minimum wage.
Many buyers are watching the situation closely, he said, explaining that
they could easily switch orders to other
countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Laos.
South Korean and Chinese companies are the largest foreign investors in
Myanmar in the garment and related
sectors. About 140 South Korean companies employ around 100,000 workers. An easing of US and EU sanctions
since President U Thein Seins reformist
government took office in 2011 has led
to an industry rebound.
The Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association said that, based on
an analysis of data in the first half of the
2013-14 fiscal year just ended, exports
were on track to reach a record high of
$1.7 billion, a near doubling of exports
in just two years.
South Korean ambassador Lee Baeksoon said labour disputes that turned
violent risked scaring away South Korean investors in Myanmar.
Now they are thinking twice about
staying for long or whether they might
relocate to another country. It is a red
signal, he said in an interview. There
are many South Korean factories in
China and Vietnam. From time to time
they come here to do market surveys on
possible relocation, but if they hear of
labour disputes they will be hesitant,
he said, stressing the potential to create
thousands more jobs.

Garment workers hold a strike earlier this month. Photo: Naing Wynn Htoon

The ambassador said that a monthly


wage increase of K30,000 represented a
rise of 40pc. He called this intolerable
and would risk driving many factories
into bankruptcy. He said garment sector wages in Myanmar were 30pc to
40pc lower than in Vietnam, but productivity was 20pc to 30pc less and
Myanmar lagged far behind in terms of
infrastructure.
Job creation is much more important than labour rights at the initial
stage of economic development, he
said.
Ambassador Lee confirmed that
he had asked the police in Yangon to
provide protection for a South Korean
manager and a group of Myanmar
workers who he said had been blockaded in their Costec factory on February 3
by striking workers outside.
That is all we asked for, he said, insisting that he had not called for a subsequent crackdown when police wielding batons broke up a demonstration of
mostly young female strikers.
The ambassador stressed that only a
small number of South Korean-owned
factories had gone through labour disputes and that they had resumed operations. The rest, he said, had good relations with their workers and wanted to
enhance fringe benefits, such as providing dormitories and night-schools.
U Aung Lin, chair of the Myanmar
Trade Unions Federation, dismissed
talk of foreign investors leaving. This
was said by the government for show,

he said.
He called on the government to help
resolve labour disputes by completing
the enactment of laws governing foreign investment, settlement of disputes,
minimum wages, employment and skill
development. The laws lacked enforcement and were deficient, he said.
Workers were aware of their rights
but the law on the right to strike was
confusing and unclear to workers, he
said.
Wage increases could be granted if
it were not for the extra expenses that
employers had for renting factories,
coping with power outages, logistics
and under the table money for senior officials, he said. He also rejected
the concept that job creation came

Job creation
is much more
important than
labour rights at
the initial stage
of economic
development.
Lee Baek-soon
South Korean ambassador

before labour rights.


Workers are not slaves, they are human beings as well. If they had got their
rights, for sure they would not strike
anymore, he said, arguing that labour
rights and creating jobs should go hand
in hand.
However, on one issue he and the
ambassador both agreed that external activists had been involved in
stoking the labour disputes. Neither
elaborated on who these activists were.
We dont know exactly who they are.
We have hunches. I cannot say if they
were South Korean or not, the ambassador said.
Daw Khine Khine Nwe, general secretary of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA), said
Western investors were still hesitating
over committing to Myanmar but not
Chinese or other Asian investors who
were drawn by its large and relatively
young workforce.
Jacob Clere, MGMA project manager, said Myanmars slightly unclear
policy framework still scares investors
despite the passage of legislation in recent years. Investors like stability and
they like transparency, and if the policy
framework, the rule of law is not very
consistent, that makes them nervous,
he said.
The industry is hoping that US markets for Myanmars garment products
will recover further, with parliamentary
elections set for November seen as a
landmark event.

If they [the US government] are


satisfied with the elections, then they
might consider easing the pathway of
US businesses wanting to do business
in Myanmar. Because if there were a
few small changes, then it would be
very easy for US brands to start sourcing here, he said, arguing that the US
market could potentialy reclaim its position as Myanmars top export market.
Japanese, Korean buyers havent
always had the same ideas about social
compliance as Europe and the US. They
have their own approach ... For that reason Myanmar missed out on what was
basically at that time a trend toward increasingly responsible manufacturing,
Mr Clere said.
Mr Clere said the wage rates could
be criticised but they were high
enough that jobs were attracting
people to move to Yangon from rural
areas, and that, for example, garment
factories paid more than the food
processing sector.
But in terms of labour unrest,
its a worry because its been a big
problem in other countries. A lot of
brands and a lot of producers would
like to see Myanmar do it better. I
think a lot of people feel this kind
of optimism, that Myanmar has a
chance to do it better. A lot of people
are trying to push things in that direction, he said.
Additional reporting by
Catherine Trautwein and
Nyan Lynn Aung

Business editor: Jeremy Mullins | jeremymullins7@gmail.com

Controversial free
software pioneer
makes his case

Mountain of Thai
rubber forms as govt
promotes glut

Business 10

business 13

Exchange Rates (April 6 close)


Currency
Euro
Malaysia Ringitt
Singapore Dollar
Thai Baht
US Dollar

Buying
K1148
K287
K780
K32.2
K1070

Selling
K1170
K294
K790
K32.8
K1077

Energy Planning
Department gone
with reorganisation
aung shin
koshumgtha@gmail.com
THE Energy Planning Department
has been abolished since the beginning of the financial year, with its duties to be taken up by other organisations with the Ministry of Energy,
according to an official.
The department, known under its
acronym EPD, has been the key player in the ministry to direct energyrelated issues, being responsibly for
energy policy formulation, management and coordination as the ministrys technical arm.
There is no more EPD starting
from the first of April, said a senior
Ministry of Energy official. It has
been abolished as part of reforms to
the ministrys structure.
The EPDs functions will not be
removed, but rather the ministrys
structure is changing.
The official added that former
EPD staff will be reorganised into
other sections. Their list of duties will
also be reduced, with many of its former tasks taken up by the ministrys
state-owned enterprises, he said.
There were over 100 officials with
technical or managerial responsibilities with the department. Some
of them have been moved to stateowned enterprises Myanma Oil and
Gas Enterprise and Myanma Petrochemical Enterprise.
Most EPD staff will be kept at the
Ministry of Energys offices inside
their existing positions, he said.
The Ministry of Energys action is
likely part of the governments plan
to reform the public service by creating a permanent secretary office under each ministry.
The government has been training largely high-ranking officials
from 30 ministries since last year,
with the top candidates among the
hundreds of director generals and
managing directors to be selected to
join the permanent secretary offices.
However, parliament postponed the governments proposals
to install the permanent secretary
offices in March.
The official said that abolition of
EPD does not mean the entire staff
will simply be transferred into one
of these permanent secretary offices,
adding most of the staff will continue
their old functions.

This is just the restructuring of


the ministry, said a different official
from the Ministry of Energy, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media. The
revamped ministry office will ultimately have five different sections,
while EPD only has three sections.
The Ministry of Energy has
also been looking at the ways it
is funded. Currently it depends
on revenue from the state budget,
running a number of state-owned
enterprises. Its state-owned arm
Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise
owns parts of some offshore oil
and gas blocks, though only operates onshore blocks at present.
In the future, plans call for its
state-owned enterprises to be semistate owned, running with independent budgets and operating both onand offshore.
The Ministry of Energy has already begun several joint ventures
in different areas, including drilling, pipeline construction, seismic
acquisition with Myanma Oil and
Gas Enterprise, and LPG plants
with Myanma Petroleum Enterprise, and also privatised most of
its downstream facilities.
Last year the ministry announced
that the ministrys state-owned enterprises will begin tackling unconventional resources in the future,
though at present they can only handle conventional resources.
U Soe Myint, former director
general of EPD, said there are many
objectives this kind of reform can target, with good reason.
But it only depends on people
who are going to implement the policies and reforms, he said.
EPD was initially formed in 1985
to properly regulate the energy business. The oil industry had been nationalised in 1963, and a national
oil company was formed under the
Ministry of Energy to act as the sole
petroleum operator in the country.
Recently, EPD has been the main
regulator involved with signing Production Sharing Contracts with international oil companies.
So far, contracts have been inked
for 14 onshore and 18 offshore
blocks. Seismic surveys and drilling
campaigns are expected to start by
2016 and continue through to 2023,
according to ministry officials.

Work continues at HAGL Myanmar Centre last year. Photo: Zarni Phyo

Vietnam HAGL project


loses Singapore partner
myat nyein aye jeremy mullins
SINGAPORES Rowsley Ltd has
pulled out of a planned purchase
of a stake in one of Yangons largest
developments.
In February the firm announced
it was purchasing a 50 percent stake
in the HAGL Myanmar Centre for
US$275 million from Hoang Anh
Gia Lai (HAGL), a Vietnamese conglomerate, with a future option to
increase its stake.
[Rowsley and HAGL] have mutually agreed not to proceed with the
proposed joint venture in relation
to the HAGL Myanmar Centre as an
agreement could not be reached over
the details of the investment structure, Rowsley said in a press release
late last week.
[Rowsley] will not enter into the
proposed joint venture as the conditions precedent under the Heads
of Terms Agreement have not been
satisfied. [Rowsley] will continue to

explore other investment and development opportunities, it said.


The firm had not elaborated as of
deadline yesterday.
Rowsley is Singapore-listed, with
significant investments including in
the city-state as well as neighbouring
Malaysia.
HAGL Myanmar has also not
released a statement on the issue.
When contacted yesterday, company
officials said their management was
overseas and could not respond.
HAGL is listed on the Ho Chi
Minh exchange, and has been retooling its focus from a number of

[Rowsley and
HAGL] have
mutually agreed
not to proceed with
the proposed joint
venture.
Rowsley statement

industries to narrow in on property


and agriculture.
The initial deal to build the project in Yangon was signed in December 12.
The HAGL Myanmar Centre is
near Inya Lake on Kabar Aye Pagoda
Road in Bahan Township. It is one of
the countrys largest mixed-use developments, slated to eventually include
four office blocks, a five-star hotel, a
retail mall and apartments. Local residents said yesterday that construction was carrying on at the site.
It sits on 73,000 square metres of
land, held on a lease term of 50 years
plus two possible 10-year extensions.
The first phase of the project is
to be completed this year, including
two office towers covering 81,000
square metres (871,877 square feet),
a retail mall and a 400-room fivestar hotel. It is due to be completed
in 2018, with construction on the
second phase to start next year.
The 50pc stake Rowsley was to
take for $275 million would have
valued to project at $550 million. At
the time of the February release announcing the purchase, Rowsley said
the deal was subject to various due
diligence and regulatory approvals.

Mandalay

Affordable housing sold in installments


Than Naing Soe
thannaingsoe@gmail.com
AFFORDABLE housing being built
in Mandalay by the Ministry of
Construction will be sold using an
installment system, according to U
Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, head of the Department of Human Settlement and
Housing Development.
Installments will be due over a
four-year period, and the system
is being used to make the housing
more affordable, he said.
The price has not yet been revealed, but U Kyaw Kyaw Lwin said

he has proposed a price to the Departments head office.


The development is located in
Mya Yi Nandar Ward of Chanmyathazi township in Mandalay.
The large-scale project is being
built by the ministrys Special Construction Group (6) and seven private companies. The project began
in July, and is set to include 27 buildings of four storeys. Each storey
will have four units measuring 650
square feet.
We have ordered construction to
be completed in April, said U Kyaw
Kyaw Lwin. They shall transfer the

buildings to the department in May.


After that, we will sell them to those
who have real difficult in owning a
residence.
The department has a number of
other construction projects planned,
including a 22-building development in the same ward as the current project, with a total of 880 units
planned.
The head offices planning department has nominated some tender applicants, he said. The buildings will be built in May after the
tender winner has been confirmed.
Translation by Emoon

The Mandalay housing is nearly completed. Photo: Than Naing Soe

10 Business

THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

Controversial free software pioneer


makes his case at a Yangon seminar
Catherine
Trautwein
newrooms@mmtimes.com.mm

RICHARD Stallman, the founder of


the Free Software Foundation, clearly
enjoys making puns.
With a background in computer
programming, he has become a leading advocate for free software, the
concept that software should be open
to use, modification and distribution
by anyone.
Mr Stallman visited Yangon last
week, bringing his often controversial
message to local audiences.
Along with other wordplay, puns
received particular preference in
his talk on free software and much
more at downtown Yangon innovation lab, Phandeeyar, and helped
demonstrate his distaste for proprietary software such as Microsoft
Windows. At the April 2 event, he
called Apples app store the Crap
store, and renamed Amazons Kindle reader the Swindle.
The re-christenings pop up during Mr Stallmans stories about how
user freedoms have been infringed
upon. Amazon snatched copies of
George Orwells dystopian classic
Nineteen Eighty-Four off their readers in a move Mr Stallman described
as Orwellian the company told The
New York Times in 2009 that the
books had been uploaded to the Kindle store by an entity without permission to do so. And Apple limited
app downloads to those approved by
the company, an act of censorship,
according to Mr Stallman.
Though computer users might feel
like theyre in the drivers seat, he said,
someone else is steering.
Who gives the instructions to
your computer? You might think its
you, but really its somebody else, Mr
Stallman told the crowd in Yangon on
April 2. With software there are two
possibilities. Either the users control
the program, or the program controls
the users. Its always one or the other.
When the users control the program, we call that free software.
Local attendees agreed his views

profile
Tin yadanar htun
yadanar.mcm@gmail.com
KO Mo Lwin, 26, is managing director of Peak Point Travel and Tour
Company and Peak Point Business
and Website Solution.
After I got my masters degree
from Australia, I couldnt find a travel company to suit me. So I started
my own, with my own structure and
plan.
Now that tourism is developing in Myanmar, its time to develop
ecotourism, he said. Myanmar has
many historical and heritage sites
like Bagan and Inle, World Heritage
attractions such as the three ancient
cities of Pyu-Hanlin, Beikthano and
Sri Kestra and other ecotourism sites.
If we promote those places, tourism will be a good creative business.
We need money from the tourism
sector for the countrys development.
Other countries promote their attractions and their governments use slogans to promote tourism.
Ko Mo Lwin was ready to open Peak
Point Travel and Tour by late 2012, but
registration took nearly six months.
The official start of the company was
not until September 2014.

Richard Stallman speaks. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

were unique, with one person saying,


he lives outside of our society.
I think it needs a lot of time here
in Myanmar, said Ko Phyo Min Thu,
a student. Myanmar is different from
other countries ... All we need is people, and people need to change.
Mr Stallman has been at the front
of the free software movement for
decades.
The year 1984, rather than ringing in an Orwellian apocalypse, saw
Mr Stallman begin work on the GNU
operating system. With the addition
of Linux in 1992, it evolved into the
free world of GNU/Linux a place
users could escape to, according to
Mr Stallman.
He added free software guarantees users four essential freedoms:
the freedom to run a program as a
user wishes; the freedom to study and
change a programs source code; the
freedom to redistribute the program;
and the freedom to make copies of
and redistribute a modified version of
the program.

Now that we use software for so


many social activities, free software,
control of the software we use, has
become one of the essential human
rights that we must fight for, Mr Stallman said.
He presented the crowd gathered
on April 2 with a dilemma: If you have
a software program you have agreed
not to redistribute, what do you do if a
friend asks for a copy?
You should choose the lesser evil,
which is to give your good friend a
copy and violate the licence of the program, he said. Your good friend deserves your cooperation, but the developer of this proprietary program has
deliberately tried to divide you from
the rest of your community. That is an
attack on society.
The redistribution of proprietary
software known in other circles as
piracy has become a fairly commonplace practice in Myanmar.
What hes describing is currently whats happening here, said
Ko Thiha Aye Kyaw, an entrepreneur

that attended the Phandeeyar event.


With this logic ... distribution of pirated CDs is good.
But Mr Stallman regards redistribution of proprietary tech not as
good but simply less evil than
keeping it to oneself.
An unauthorised copy of a proprietary program is a bad thing, he said.
Its not bad because its unauthorised,
its bad because its a program that
doesnt respect users freedoms.
In his view, to be good, users

Who gives the


instructions to your
computer? You might
think its you, but really
its somebody else.
Richard Stallman
Free software pioneer

shouldnt sign their name to licence


agreements with developers.
Mr Stallman practises what he
preaches. Though entrenched in tech
history, he has refused to float along
and use some of the industrys developments, declining to own a mobile
phone a device he calls Stalins
dream.
His non-ownership of a mobile
handset certainly places him against
the trend of the industry locally. The
opening of two international telcos
last year was seen as a landmark
event, and mobile penetration rates
have shot up in its wake.
Meanwhile, Mr Stallman said that
because many people in Myanmar
dont have computers, their human
rights as users of computing are currently safe.
Do we want to be included in a
Big Brother surveillance system that
tracks us and listens to us? I dont, he
said. Unless we can have a just digital
society, a free digital society, the proper goal is digital extraction.
He acknowledged that proprietary
software is convenient and its use
satisfies practical desires but said
he was more worried about long-term
harm than short-term good.
When I weigh [these benefits]
against the freedom I would be losing,
I choose freedom, he said.
In the long term, we could have
the same benefits and freedom if we
reject proprietary software and we
make free software to do whatever it
is we want.
At the end of Mr Stallmans speech,
he took questions from the audience.
When one from The Myanmar Times
began with the use of proprietary software being a fact of life for many, and
in some business cases perhaps leading to better quality of life, he cut in.
What difference does that make?
he asked.
Better quality of life?
At the expense of your freedom?
Will you sell yourself into slavery if
your master would feed you better?
he asked.
Basically it depends what your
values are. Many unjust practices are
a fact of life, sometimes for millions of
people in the world. Is that an argument that we should accept them? I
dont think so.

Entrepreneur taps into the travel market


I visited all the tourist attractions
in the country starting late 2012, as
well as overseas tourist attractions to
expand the network, he said. Many
foreign countries develop man-made
places as tour sites. This country already has many natural locations and
I thought there was a market for them.
So I decided to start ecotourism.
At first, I used to think a travel
company just sold tickets to tourists.
But after I opened my own company, I
faced many difficulties that I had not
expected. Having a masters degree is
not enough. But the power of critical
thinking did give me the strength to
solve problems.
It is not easy to start an SME business in Myanmar. Registration, finding a suitable location, dealing with
competition and ensuring finance are
among the main problems.
Ko Mo Lwin said he did not choose
to start his company because he had
lined up investment, but rather because he is interested in ecotourism
and could not find a company to do
it his way.
Theres also the question of
customer confidence. Some companies cheat their customers and
then disappear. Building customer

trust takes time.


He added that some local tour
companies are not as a good at forming partnerships as some foreign
firms, where they often cooperate on
a venture.
If I had a good partner, I would
want to organise trips to social enterprises in villages. Village residents
know far more about their village
than tour guides, and can explain it
better to visitors, he said.
Ive also tried not only in-bound
but also out-bound travel and tours.
Now our company can serve customers who want to visit ASEAN countries for work or leisure, or maybe
even Australia and other countries.
His Master of Business Information Systems degree is from Australian Technical University. He serves
as a part-time lecturer at Myanmar
Metropolitan College and is a social
enterprise consultant with the British
Council.
Information Technology is more
and more developed and it will assume a greater role in future. My
Website Solution company is ready
to offer consultancy and research
services to big companies wishing to
invest in Myanmar, he said.

Ko Mo Lwin wants to get you to where you want to go. Photo: Thiri Lu

12 International Business

THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

Toyota City, Japan

Carmakers profits revitalise hometown


TAKAKO Sugiyama isnt sure how old
her two grandchildrens school is. She
knows this: The building was dated
when her three kids now in their 50s
attended.
This year, things will finally change.
With Toyota Motor Corporation set to
earn more money than all other Japanese carmakers combined, Toyota City
the companys hometown is seeing
a surge in tax revenue. The school will
be torn down and replaced with an
earthquake-resistant building, putting
Sugiyamas mind at ease.
Ive been worried the current building is a bit too dangerous, Ms Sugiyama, 71, said while walking by with her
granddaughter. The economy around
this area has been improving as Toyotas business has gotten better.
Toyota City plans to build two new
schools, two community centers and a
low-income housing complex this year
as its fortunes improve. Corporate tax
revenue jumped to an estimated 24.8
billion yen (US$208 million) in 2014
and is projected to hit 26.2 billion yen
in 2015, about seven times the average
for the five previous years.
Its getting easier for us to pursue
these kinds of projects for the future, as
tax revenue from Toyota and its affiliates has grown, Ichihiro Nishiwaki, a
team leader in the citys policy planning
office, said in an interview.

Toyota City is seeing growth return on the back of the eponomyous car company. Photo: Bloomberg

Toyotas fortunes have turned since


the 2008 global financial crisis, recalls
over unintended acceleration and natural disasters in Japan and Thailand
crippled sales and output creating a
bleak state of affairs for the city that
was renamed after the company in
1959. In the span of five years, the industrial town of about 420,000 people
drew down its savings by about a third,
to 11.3 billion yen by the end of 2013.

Japans corporate tax laws allow


companies including Toyota to incur
loss carry-forwards that give them relief
from paying taxes after an unprofitable
year. In May 2009, less than a month
before Akio Toyoda became president,
the company reported a loss of 436.9
billion yen for the previous fiscal year.
It was Toyotas first annual loss in 59
years.
Toyota has bounced back and now

Opinion

forecasts a 2.13 trillion yen profit for


the fiscal year ending this month, a
second consecutive record. Japans
seven other carmakers are projected
to earn about 1.76 trillion yen in total,
according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The automakers
stock has more than tripled since
November 2011, outperforming the
benchmark Topix Index.
Nissan, the nations second-largest

automaker, may boost net income by


17 percent to 455 billion yen while the
third-largest, Honda, may post a 0.8pc
drop to 569 billion yen, according to the
estimates.
Toyotas recovery is boosting not just
tax revenue but paychecks as well. The
company is giving unionised workers
across Japan a 4000 yen raise in base
monthly salaries beginning April 1, its
biggest wage increase since at least
1993.
While the increase is one-third less
than what Toyotas labor union proposed, Mr Toyoda, 58, said at the end
of negotiations that the raises would
keep the company in the good graces
of Japan.
Wed like to hear children say that
theyd like to work for Toyota in the
future, theyd like to drive a Toyota,
managing officer Tatsuro Ueda told reporters on March 18. Both labour and
management will be heavily united to
make that happen.
The trickling-down of some of
Toyotas wealth is a welcome sign
for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he
seeks to revive Japans economy and
end deflation. While his economic
policies have weakened the yen and
provided a lift to large exporters like
Toyota, small businesses and the general public are less optimistic about
prospects for a recovery. Bloomberg

Australia

Time to re-think position of


emerging markets in portfolios
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN
THE concept of an emerging-markets
asset class may no longer be a sufficiently useful and accurate catch-all
classification for investors.
The implications of this shift are
important given the concepts pervasive influence on asset allocation
methodologies, benchmarking and
even the way investment companies
(and their service providers) are organised. The category also determines
how allocators of capital review their
portfolio decisions, especially at the
beginning of a quarter.
To understand why EM may be
losing it prominence as an analytical
tool, lets start with the three elements
that typically define an asset class:
First, its components share similar
characteristics: geographic location,
for example, or much more importantly for investment purposes, economic
and financial commonalities. These
similarities allow the investments to
be modeled relatively coherently for
expected return, volatility and correlations with other asset classes. Yet these
assets arent so completely homogeneous that they can be replicated via a
single instrument, which also opens
the possibility of out-performance
thanks to active management.
Second, the majority of the components of the asset class are sensitive
to an external influence that is strong
enough and sufficiently encompassing to have a similar impact across
the board. This can take the form of
a single variable, such as the price of
oil for producers, or it can be linked
to a policy, such as the effect of the
European Central Banks quantitative
easing on sovereign bonds.
Third, the actions of investors impose a self-reinforcing consistency in
the way individual elements of the asset class relate to one another. EM has
grown markedly since its relatively
modest beginnings, and it now contains far too much diversity to meet
the first requirement of shared char-

acteristics. It no longer qualifies for


the second criterion, especially now
that the comments and actions of a
single policy-making body, such as the
International Monetary Fund, dont
move markets as they once did. The
third characteristic the propensity of
investors to look at such an asset class
as a unit rather than as the sum of its
parts still plays a role, giving rise to
interesting dynamics.
Macro decisions to allocate or
withdraw capital from EM particularly through index and indexlike vehicles tend to be significant
drivers of return, volatility and
correlation behaviours, which too
often leads to valuations that are
decoupled from individual fundamentals. The resulting overshoots
on the way up or down generate
risks and opportunities not just for
investors but also for the issuers of
securities they transact in.

Investor attitudes
will tend to be overly
influenced by news,
for better or worse,
from a few big
markets.
It is important to note that these
distortions arent caused by irrationality or malfunctioning markets. Instead, they reflect the evolution of an
asset class that, at its inception, was
underpinned by investor behaviours
devised around common economic
and financial attributes. It has since
failed to keep pace with the increasingly diversified and divergent realities on the ground.
In the case of EM, this phenomenon
is amplified as the market influence of

a relatively small base of dedicated investors is subject to the vagaries of less


well-informed crossover funds; that
is tourist capital that, rather than
being attracted by the attributes of the
asset class itself, is driven to invest by
fluctuating circumstances at home,
and thus is far less stable.
As a result, both investors and issuers should expect valuations to continue to decouple for more prolonged
periods than would be warranted by
fundamentals. They also need to attach
bigger margins of error to their predictions for risk-adjusted expected returns
and, in the case of borrowers, the cost
of capital and ease of issuance.
With long-term strategic positioning in mind, investors also need to
take a more tactical approach to managing their exposures in relation to
their fundamentally-based strategic
portfolios. Borrowers should do the
same when issuing new bonds.
Today, this means recognising
that EM is in a technical phase of unsettling volatility. It also means that
individual components of the asset
class will tend to trade cheaply relative to intrinsic values. Meanwhile,
investor attitudes will tend to be
overly influenced by news, for better
and worse, from a few big markets
(Brazil and Russia come to mind) as
well as by the impact of advanced
country central banks on the flow of
tourist capital.
Solid markets will at times be contaminated by the broader trends, even
when their fundamentals are good. And
the temptation to purchase the EM asset class via passive benchmarks will
negate some important fundamental
differentiation that is sure to emerge
down the road and become an important contributor to performance.
Mohamed El-Erian is chief economic
adviser at Allianz, chair of President
Obamas Global Development Council
and the former chief executive officer and
co-chief investment officer of Pimco.

An Australian pensioner smokes a pipe. Photo: Bloomberg

Oz pensions grow
as a state liability
STANDING with his suitcase beside
a cruise ship at Sydney Harbour, silver-haired Australian Chris Hamilton defends his right to draw a state
pension even as his $400,000 private retirement fund reaps a steady
income.
Weve been very wise and frugal, said the 70-year-old retired
chemical engineer as he prepared
to board a 10-day Pacific island
cruise with his wife. The trip, to be
followed by a European tour later
this year, is one of the things on
the bucket list, he said, adding the
government support is a welcome
boost rather than a necessity.
More than two decades after
Australia set up a compulsory retirement savings scheme, known as superannuation, to wean people off of
state pensions, over-generous means
testing has resulted in four out of
five retirees still being eligible for
such welfare. The nations A$40 billion (US$30 billion) annual pension
bill accounts for 10 percent of government spending and is destined
to grow in a country with one of the
worlds highest life expectancies.
While government pension
spending in Australia as percentage of the economy is half the developed world average, the system

poses challenges for Prime Minister Tony Abbotts government as it


confronts dwindling revenue and
budget deficits forecast for at least
the rest of the decade.
The government is backtracking from fiscal tightening in Mays
budget, however, and has put off
any changes to superannuation until at least 2016. Besieged by poor
opinion poll ratings that triggered
a leadership challenge in February, Mr Abbott is wary of alienating
well-to-do pensioners that form a
bedrock of support for his LiberalNational coalition.
Abbott knows theres big problems, but he also knows Australians punish politicians who seem
to mess with their financial security, said David Burchell, a political
analyst at the University of Western
Sydney. The longer the problem is
left, the more politically hard and
financially difficult it will be to fix.
The system is simply unaffordable and entirely inequitable, said
Richard Denniss, the institutes executive director. Rapacious fees
charged by fund managers estimated by the Grattan Institute at
A$20 billion a year further undermine the system, he said.
Bloomberg

International Business 13

www.mmtimes.com
Bangkok

WASHINGTON

Greece has pledged


to make April 9 debt
payment: IMF head
GREECE has agreed to repay its debt
to the International Monetary Fund
by April 9, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said after a meeting with Greek
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.
There was speculation ahead of the
visit that Athens might fail to meet
the 460 million euro (US$501 million)
IMF installment if forced to choose
between the IMF and paying government workers.

MILLION EUROS

460

A woman collects rubber from a tapped tree in Thailand. Photo: Bloomberg

Thai rubber mountain


grows amid supply glut
EIGHT months after Thailands military junta started selling rice into
an oversupplied global market, the
officers are taking a different tack
amid a rubber glut.
But this approach by Thailand,
the worlds biggest exporter of both
commodities, may cause as many
problems in global markets as the
old one, analysts say. Thats because
while the rubber purchases revived
domestic prices that touched a fiveyear low in October, theyre failing to
cut a global production surplus that
is entering its fifth year, according to
data from the International Rubber
Study Group.
Demand is slowing in China, the
worlds top buyer and tire exporter,
and natural rubber faces stiffer competition from synthetic material
made from crude oil, which costs
half what it did a year ago. Rubber
prices are down more than 70 percent from their 2011 peak as trees
planted in Asia over the past decade
matured and flooded the market.
That hurt farmers and cut costs for
users of the raw material, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co and
Michelin & Cie.
Thailands approach is just
pushing the problem down the
road, Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at Macquarie in
London, said by email on March 20.
The market needs supply to exit,
not be encouraged.
To some observers, the junta may
be supporting rubber farmers to
ensure political stability. The growers who backed General Prayuth
Chan-o-chas takeover have successfully lobbied for subsidies as prices
slumped, said Ambika Ahuja, a London-based analyst at Eurasia Group,
a political-risk adviser.
In addition to buying at abovemarket prices, the government
makes direct payments to growers
and helps with borrowing costs.
While the junta has ruled out purchasing rice, it also makes payments
directly to farmers and subsidises
loans to help millers and growers
with storage.
Former Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra was overthrown last
year and now faces criminal charges
related to her administrations ricebuying program, which the finance
ministry estimates lost $16 billion.

The junta began selling off record


stockpiles, prices have tumbled, and
the country is reclaiming its place as
the worlds biggest exporter.
Ms Yinglucks opponents say the
rice program was part of a pattern of
corruption by politicians allied with
her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra,
who was deposed as prime minister
in 2006. Since his ouster, the country has been divided between Shinawatra family loyalists mostly farmers in the north and northeast and
urban and middle-class opponents.
Ms Yingluck denies the corruption
charges.

Thailands
approach is just
pushing the
problem down the
road.
Colin Hamilton
Commodities researcher

Southern Thailand is home to


70pc of domestic rubber output and
many local farmers supported protests against Ms Yinglucks regime.
About 1.6 million households in the
nation of 65 million people own rubber plantations and exports totalled
$6 billion last year, government data
show. Some 4.4 million households
grow rice, with shipments valued at
$5.4 billion.
The government has to step in
as the market mechanism alone is
not enough to help farmers have
enough income to offset costs of living, Amnuay Patise, deputy minister for agriculture and cooperatives,
said in an interview, when asked
why the junta changed its policy
toward direct purchases. Well buy
when farmers are in trouble.
While the government measures
dont solve the farmers problems
completely, theyre better than doing
nothing, said Sangwern Tuadhoy,
the president of the Thai Rubber
Growers Network, who owns a 40acre plantation in Rayong province.
We decided to buy rubber, as an

additional step, to increase prices


and theres no hidden political agenda, government spokesperson Sansern Kaewkamnerd said by phone
on April 2. Were not aiming to
build a voter base because this is an
interim government.
Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, which account for two-thirds of
world production, said in November
they would limit exports to tighten
supply. The global surplus will narrow to 51,000 tonnes in 2016 from
an estimated 77,000 tonnes this
year, the International Rubber Study
Group said in January.
Prices of ribbed smoked sheet
grade 3 in Bangkok, the Thai benchmark, averaged 58.59 baht ($1.80) a
kilogram in March compared with
52.79 baht in October. That was
lower than rubber on the Shanghai
Futures Exchange, which averaged
about 12,802 yuan a tonne, or 67
baht a kilogram.
The junta in Thailand is also
encouraging farmers to fell ageing
trees over an area of 400,000 rai
(158,000 acres) annually, with some
land being turned over to palm oil.
That may reduce production by
about 100,000 tonnes a year, according to data from the Office of Agricultural Economics. Output will be
4.3 million tonnes in 2015, the Association of Natural Rubber Producing
Countries estimates.
Prices will find little support
from China, where the producer
group predicts imports will drop
9.9pc this year, the first decline
since at least 2010. China forecasts
economic growth of 7pc, the slowest
pace since 1990.
The Thai government has bought
130,000 tonnes since November,
Mr Amnuay, the deputy minister,
said March 6. Buying probably will
resume in May, he said last week.
Small-holders want the government to continue purchases and
were listening to the voice of farmers, he said.
Buying is artificially distorting
the market, said Michael Coleman,
managing director of RCMA Asset
Management. Its keeping the price
higher than it otherwise would be.
Thailand just created a case study of
that with rice in the most dramatic
fashion you could imagine.
Bloomberg

Value of Greeces debt installment to be


paid by April 9

Ms Lagarde said repaying the IMF


debt was in the countrys best interest.
Continuing uncertainty is not
in Greeces interest and I welcomed
confirmation by the minister that
payment owing to the Fund would be
forthcoming on April 9, Ms Lagarde
said in a statement.
Greece has not received the remaining funds in its 240 billion euro
European Union-IMF rescue package
as Brussels has demanded to first approve Greeces revised reform plan.
Ms Lagarde encouraged Athens to
continue talks in Brussels which she
said would resume yesterday and to
conduct the necessary due diligence
in Athens.
The Fund remains committed to
work together with the authorities to
help Greece return to a sustainable
path of growth and employment, Ms
Lagarde added.
AFP

TRADE MARK CAUTION


Chevron Intellectual Property LLC, a Company organized and
existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, of 6001 Bollinger
Canyon Road, San Ramon, CA 94583, U.S.A., is the Owner of
the following Trade Marks:-

CETUS

Reg. No. 20574/2014

DELO

Reg. No. 20575/2014

HAVOLINE
Reg. No. 20576/2014

MOLYTEX
Reg. No. 20577/2014

MULTIFAK
Reg. No. 20578/2014

TARO

Reg. No. 20579/2014

TEXTRAN
Reg. No. 20581/2014

ULTI-PLEX
Reg. No. 20582/2014

VERITAS

Reg. No. 20583/2014


in respect of Class 4: Lubricating oils and greases; Petroleum
and petroleum-derived products for industrial and automotive use,
namely, fuels, oils and engine lubricants.

TEXAMATIC

Reg. No. 20580/2014


in respect of Class 1: Fluids; transmission fluids, automatic
transmission fluids.
Fraudulent imitation or unauthorised use of the said Trade Marks
will be dealt with according to law.
Win Mu Tin, M.A., H.G.P., D.B.L
for Chevron Intellectual Property LLC
P. O. Box 60, Yangon
E-mail: makhinkyi.law@mptmail.net.mm
Dated: 7th April 2015

14 THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

World

World editor: Fiona MacGregor

gfdgfdrg

Cambodia at extreme risk of disease


pandemic, according to new report
A GLOBAL risk-analysis firm has
released a grim albeit partial
snapshot of Cambodia, noting that
the Kingdoms overreliance on essential resources from other countries leaves it vulnerable to instability, and that it is at extreme
risk of a communicable-disease
pandemic.
The Global Risks and Resilience
Atlas 2015 which looks at natural
and manmade problems affecting
the globe, and which was released
last week by risk-analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft placed Cambodia
at the top of its external resource
security risk index, which rates a
countrys vulnerability to fluctuations in outside sources of water,
energy and food.
Verisk identified as a major concern Cambodias overreliance on
outside sources of water and energy.
This lack of independence becomes a liability, the report notes,
because as the reliance on internationally sourced staple commodities increases, new threats to the

sustainability and viability of supply chains that lie beyond any one
country or governments control
also begin to emerge.
Whats more, the lack of energy
independence also leaves the country open to aggressive energy diplomacy. Between 2008 and 2011,
deadly clashes over ownership of
territory along the Cambodia-Thailand border saw Thailand cut energy supplies to Cambodia, leaving
thousands in the dark.
The countrys need for energy
independence has been a key factor
in the governments argument in favour of dams currently in planning,
including the controversial Sesan
and Areng Valley projects. However those projects have been widely
panned by observers as presenting
their own significant threats to food
security.
The report also selected Cambodia, alongside Bangladesh, as the
only two countries to receive the
extreme rating on the Pandemics
Risk Index.

Countries most at risk for such


outbreaks are characterised by
densely populated urban centres with underdeveloped rural
regions, the report says, pointing to outbreaks of avian influenza as evidence of the Kingdoms
susceptibility.
Multiple government officials either declined to answer questions,
or could not be reached for comment on the reports findings.
However, according to Doctors
Without Borders (MSF) head of
mission in Cambodia, Adriana Palomares, the countrys current battle
with tuberculosis, which MSF is
heavily involved in, is already considered a pandemic.
And while Cambodia is improving its health infrastructure day by
day, she said, the recent HIV outbreak in Battambang province is a
clear alert to the authorities.
Cambodia is not ready to respond alone to a pandemic, she
said.
Phnom Penh Post

KUALA LUMPUR

Terror suspects arrested in Malaysia


POLICE in Malaysia have arrested
17 people, including two who recently returned from Syria, had
been arrested on suspicion of plotting terror attacks in the capital
Kuala Lumpur.
Authorities in the Muslim-majority country have expressed increasing alarm over the threat of Muslim
militancy in the wake of the Islamic
State (IS) groups bloody jihad in
Syria and Iraq.
Seventeen people were planning
terror activities in Kuala Lumpur.
Two of them had recently returned
from Syria, national police chief
Khalid Abu Bakar said in a Twitter
posting yesterday.
Mr Khalid said the arrests took
place on April 5. No other details,
such as the suspects nationalities
or specifics on what they had been

plotting, were mentioned.


Malaysia has traditionally observed a moderate form of Islam,
and authorities have kept a tight lid
on militancy.
But the government has increasingly warned that Malaysian
recruits to the IS cause could return home with the groups radical

Seventeen people
were planning
terror activities in
Kuala Lumpur.
Khalid Abu Bakar
National police chief

ideology.
Police said in January they had
arrested a total of 120 people with
suspected IS links or sympathies, or
who were detained as they sought
to travel to Syria or Iraq.
They also said 67 Malaysians
were known at the time to have
gone to abroad to join IS, and that
five had died fighting in the groups
jihad.
Last week, the government introduced new anti-terrorism legislation to counter the potential IS
threat.
The bill, which has come under
fire from rights groups, allows authorities to detain terrorism suspects for potentially unlimited periods without trial, according to its
critics.
AFP

SURAT THANI

Dark day for revellers as Koh Phangan


restricts parties to full moon dates only
THAILANDS backpacker party
capital of Koh Phangan has banned
almost all tourist parties after complaints from residents.
Only the monthly full moon parties will be authorised, meaning
the raft of alternative revels such
as dark moon parties, jungle parties and half moon parties will no
longer be authorised.
Koh Phanagn district office on
April 5 officially announced the ban
which affects the entire Surat Thani
island immediately.
District chief Kriak-krai Songthani said the ban followed complaints by islandresidents about
noisy parties which disturbed their
way of life.
The noise pollution problem had

reached the ears of provincial governor Chatpong Chatput and he ordered officials at all levels, from the
district office down to village chiefs,
to sort it out by April 3, Mr Kriakkrai said.
A meeting subsequently decided unanimously to ban all parties
across the island except for the full
moon party.
The Surat Thani governor on
March 25 ordered Koh Phangan
district to put up an announcement
on the ban for party organisers and
others until organisers can find a
way to solve the problems. Violators
will face legal action, the district
chief said.
The full moon party is held on
Haad Rin every full moon night.

It has become a trademark for the


island, but is also notorious among
foreign and local visitors for drugs.
In December the Tourism and
Sports Ministry decided to rebrand
the islands image from that of a full
moon party destination.
Wannee Thaipanich, president
of the Koh Phangan Tourism Promotion Association, welcomed the
decision to ban other parties which
caused trouble for local people on
the island.
The full moon party was a principle event that drew foreign and
local tourists to Koh Phangan. Tourism on the island generated about 7
billion baht (US$219 million) a year
for the country, according to Mrs
Wannee. Bangkok Post

JAKARTA

Bali Nine lose


AN Indonesian court yesterday
dismissed the latest appeal by two
Australian drug smugglers facing
imminent execution, taking them
a step closer to the firing squad.
The State Administrative Court
in Jakarta said it did not have the
authority to hear the challenge
to President Joko Widodos decision to reject their mercy pleas,
upholding its own ruling handed
down in February.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the
so-called Bali Nine drug trafficking gang, were sentenced to death
in 2006 for trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.
Mr Widodo recently rejected
their pleas for presidential clemency, typically the final chance to
avoid execution. They are expected to be executed soon with other
drug convicts, including foreigners from France, Brazil, the Philippines, Nigeria and Ghana.
Jakarta has said it will wait for
all legal appeals to be resolved
before putting the group to death
at the same time. Some other convicts have lodged Supreme Court

The appeal by
the challenger is
rejected.
Ujang Abdullah
Presiding judge

appeals, which could take weeks


to resolve.
The mens legal team have
mounted several attempts to halt
the executions. In their latest, they
called for the State Administrative
Court to hear an appeal against
Mr Widodos clemency rejection,
saying that he failed to properly
assess their rehabilitation or give
reasons for his decision.
The court refused to accept the
application in February, and the
Australians lawyers appealed that
decision.
But at a hearing yesterday, presiding judge Ujang Abdullah upheld the original decision that the
court does not have jurisdiction to
rule on the matter.
Ruling on Mr Chans case, he
told the court, The appeal by the
challenger is rejected.
It was not immediately clear
whether the Australians lawyers
would pursue other legal avenues.
Jakarta originally planned to
carry out the executions in February, but following an international
outcry agreed to let legal appeals
run their course.
A Filipina among the group
recently lost an appeal to the Supreme Court, while a Frenchman
and Ghanaian last week lodged
appeals with the court.
Australia, Indonesias neighbour and traditionally a key ally,
has mounted a sustained diplomatic campaign to try to stop
its citizens being put to death,
while France and Brazil have also
stepped up diplomatic pressure on

15

Netanyahu
denounces Iran
nuclear deal

UK politics facing change


as coalition government
predicted

World 16

World 18

SEOUL

IN PICTUREs
Photo: AFP

Britains Prince
Harry pulls a face
after shaking
hands with
children who held
up a sign reading
Red Heads Rule
during a visit to
the Australian
War Memorial in
Canberra on April
6. Captain Wales,
as he is known in
the British Army,
is beginning
a month-long
attachment with
the Australian
Army following
his announcement
that he will
leave the British
military in June.

Park to consider raising


Sewol ferry after a year
SOUTH Korean President Park GeunHye promised yesterday to consider
raising the Sewol ferry that sank a year
ago with the loss of more than 300
lives, in response to an emotional protest by victims relatives.
I will actively consider salvaging
the ship after accepting the opinions of
relatives of those still missing and experts, Ms Parks official website quoted
her as saying during a meeting with
senior aides.
The overloaded Sewol was carrying
476 people, including 325 high school
students, when it sank off the southeast
coast on April 16 last year.
Only 75 students survived.
Ahead of next weeks first anniversary of the tragedy, hundreds of parents
of the dead students, some with their
heads shaved and clad in white mourning robes, marched 35 kilometres (22
miles) to Seoul from their hometown
Ansan over the weekend.
They were joined by hundreds more
supporters for a rally in the capital on
April 5 that called on the government
to raise the sunken vessel and to ensure a fully independent inquiry into
the disaster.
A total of 304 bodies were recovered
from the ferry, but nine remained unaccounted for when divers finally called

off the dangerous search in November.


The tragedy sparked nationwide
grief and outrage as it became clear
that regulatory failings, official incompetence and the ships illegal redesign
were the main causes.
The official response to the disaster
was widely criticised for being slow,
uncoordinated and unfocused, and
prompted Ms Park to vow a complete
overhaul of national safety standards.
Following months of political bickering, the South Korean parliament
passed a bill in November initiating
an independent investigation into the
sinking.
But relatives have accused the
government of seeking to influence
the probe by appointing officials to
key posts in the 17-member inquiry
committee.
More than 50 people have been
put on trial on charges linked to the
disaster, including 15 crew members
who were among the first to climb into
lifeboats.
The Sewols captain was jailed in
November for 36 years for gross negligence and dereliction of duty, while
three other senior crew members were
sentenced to jail terms of between 15
and 30 years. AFP

NEW DELHI

latest execution appeal


Jakarta.
But Mr Widodo, who has taken
a hard line against drugs offenders, has not been swayed. He has
vowed there will no mercy for traffickers, saying Indonesia is facing
an emergency due to rising narcotics use.
Jakarta in January put to death
six drugs offenders, including five

foreigners, sparking a diplomatic


storm as Brazil and the Netherlands, whose citizens were among
those executed, recalled their
ambassadors.
Brazilian
President
Dilma
Rousseff in February refused to
accept the credentials of the new
Indonesian ambassador. A second
Brazilian, Rodrigo Gularte, whose

family say he is mentally ill, is


scheduled to be put to death in the
next batch of drugs offenders.
Indonesia resumed executions
in 2013 after a five-year hiatus.
It did not put anyone to death in
2014.
The other seven members of the
Bali Nine are serving long jail
sentences in Indonesia. AFP

Australian drug traffickers Andrew Chan (left) and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the Bali Nine drug ring,
look on from a holding cell while awaiting a court trial in Denpasar on Bali island on February 14, 2006. Photo: AFP

India moves to tackle


most polluted record
A NEW air quality index was launched
by the Indian government yesterday,
after it came under intense pressure to
act when the World Health Organization declared New Delhi the worlds
most polluted capital.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government would
publish air quality data for 10 cities,
amid growing public concern over the
impact of air pollution on the health of
Indias 1.2 billion people.
The governments website with the
index went live yesterday morning but
could not be accessed.
The Air Quality Index may prove
to be a major impetus to improving
air quality in urban areas, as it will
improve public awareness in cities to
take steps for air pollution mitigation,
Mr Javadekar said as he launched
the index at a conference on the
environment.
But he gave little indication of what
the government would do to improve
air quality, except to say it would introduce new rules on disposing of construction waste.
The dust from Indias thousands of
industrial and construction sites adds
to the fumes from millions of vehicles
to create the toxic cocktail that urban
Indians breathe.
At least 3000 people die prematurely every year in Indias capital because of high exposure to air pollution,
according to a joint study by Bostonbased Health Effects Institute and Delhis Energy Resources Institute.
A World Health Organization
study of 1600 cities released last year
showed Delhi had the worlds highest
annual average concentration of small
airborne particles known as PM2.5,
higher even than the Chinese capital

Beijing.
These extremely fine particles of
less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter are linked with increased rates of
chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and
heart disease as they penetrate deep
into the lungs and can pass into the
bloodstream.
India disputed the WHOs assertion,
but has conceded that air pollution in
the capital is comparable with that of
Beijing.
The government said the new index would initially cover 10 cities:
Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai,
Bangalore and Hyderabad. Each of
those are to have monitoring stations
with Air Quality Index display boards.
The aim is to eventually cover 66
cities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
used yesterdays conference to defend
Indias record on pollution, saying his
country had a strong tradition of protecting the environment.
We must think of traditional ways
to tackle environmental issues, he said
in a speech to delegates.
There can be green solutions in
our age-old traditions, he added,
suggesting that Sundays could become cycle day on Indias trafficclogged roads.
An air quality index compiled by
the US embassy in Delhi yesterday registered a PM2.5 reading of 175, which is
considered unhealthy.
Though the government has yet to
announce any major moves to tackle
air pollution, policymakers have suggested restrictions on private vehicles, higher pollution-related taxes
and stricter enforcement of urban
planning laws. AFP

16 World

THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

WASHINGTON

Netanyahu
denounces
Iran deal
ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu has denounced the agreement between Tehran and world powers as a bad deal, as US President
Barack Obama affirmed his support
for long-time ally Israel despite difference over the nuclear accord.
An outline deal agreed in Switzerland on April 2 paves the way for
Tehran to curtail its nuclear activity
in exchange for relief from punishing
economic sanctions.
It doesnt roll back Irans nuclear
program, Mr Netanyahu told CNN,
one of several US networks he appeared on to slam the deal on April 5.
It keeps a vast nuclear infrastructure in place. Not a single centrifuge
is destroyed. Not a single nuclear
facility is shut down, including the
underground facilities that they built
illicitly. Thousands of centrifuges will
keep spinning enriching uranium.
Thats a bad deal.
One part of the complex agreement would see Iran slash by more
than two-thirds the number of uranium centrifuges, which can make fuel
for nuclear power but also the core of
a nuclear bomb, to 6104 from around
19,000 for 10 years.
The United States and Israel have
clashed over the deal, with Washington insisting it is the only path toward
dismantling Irans nuclear program.

Relations between Israel and its


traditionally staunch US ally are at a
low and were hugely damaged when
Mr Netanyahu took the unprecedented step of addressing Congress last
month to attack the nuclear negotiations with Iran.
When asked if he trusts Mr Obama,
Mr Netanyahu replied, I trust that
the president is doing what he thinks
is good for the United States, but I
think that we can have a legitimate
difference of opinion on this because
Iran has been shown not to be trustworthy.
But Mr Obama said that the USIsrael bond is unshakeable, and affirmed his support for Iran despite
disagreements about the Iran nuclear
deal.
Even in the midst of the disagreements that I have had with Prime
Minister Netanyahu, both on Iran
as well as on the Palestinian issue, I
have been consistent saying that our
defense of Israel is unshakable, Mr
Obama told The New York Times in an
interview on April 4 that was posted
the following day.
I would consider it a failure on
my part, a fundamental failure of
my presidency, if on my watch or as
a consequence of work that Ive done
Israel was rendered more vulnerable,
Mr Obama said.

Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves following his address to a joint session of the US Congress at the US
Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 3. Photo: AFP

Israels government reacted angrily to the historic agreement, which


aims for a June 30 deadline for a final
deal, with Mr Netanyahu demanding
that Iranian recognition of the Jewish
states right to exist be written into
the agreement.
If a country that vows to annihilate us and is working every day with
conventional means and unconventional means to achieve that end, if
that country has a deal that paves its
way to nuclear weapons, many nuclear weapons, it endangers our survival, the prime minister said.
Ill tell you what else will happen,
he added. I think it will also spark an
arms race with the Sunni states, he
said in reference to Gulf monarchies.
Saudi Arabia fears that if too
much of Irans nuclear program is left

ADEN

intact, it will still have the ability to


obtain an atomic bomb, and there are
concerns that Riyadh could seek its
own nuclear capability.
Iran and Saudi Arabia, the foremost Shiite and Sunni Muslim powers
in the Middle East, have had troubled
relations in recent years after taking
different sides in the Syrian civil war.
Mr Netanyahu told ABC News that
the money that will flow back into
Iran as sanctions ease will not be used
to help the population.
It lifts the sanctions on them
fairly quickly and enables them to get
billions of dollars into their coffers,
he said.
Theyre not going to use it for
schools or hospitals or roads. Theyre
going to use it to pump up their terror
machine worldwide and their military

machine that is busy conquering the


Middle East now.
California Democratic Senator
Dianne Feinstein, also speaking on
CNN, said Mr Netanyahus comments
could backfire on him.
I wish that he would contain himself because he has put out no real alternative, Mr Feinstein said.
Ben Rhodes, the US deputy national security adviser for strategic
communications, said Mr Netanyahu
was wrong because no deal could be
reached that involved Iran dismantling its nuclear program.
Obviously thats the preferable solution, Mr Rhodes told CNN.
But the fact is Iran was never
going to agree to a deal in which
they got rid of their entire nuclear
infrastructure. AFP

ISLAMABAD

Death toll soars amid Aden clashes


AT least 53 people were killed in
24 hours of clashes between rebels
and loyalist fighters in Yemens main
southern city Aden, medical and
army sources said yesterday.
Seventeen civilians were among
those killed in Aden since April 6, as
well as 10 fighters loyal to President
Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, a medic
said.
At least 26 rebels were killed, according to an army source.
The rebels had advanced into
the central port district of Mualla
in the city, capturing the provincial
government headquarters, a local
official said.
Mualla is defended by popular
committees, militiamen loyal to Mr
Hadi, who has fled to neighbouring
Saudi Arabia.
The rebels bombarded residential areas, setting fire to several
buildings and damaging others, witnesses said.
The deaths came as a Saudi-led
coalition trying to halt the rebel advance faced growing calls for a humanitarian pause in air strikes.
Earlier yesterday local officials
reported at least 19 Huthi Shiite
rebels and 15 pro-Hadi militiamen
were killed overnight as the rival
forces battled for control of the
town of Daleh.
Street fighting took place in
Daleh after the arrival of significant
Huthi reinforcements from Ibb further north, said a one official.
Violence has escalated sharply in
the deeply tribal country since a Saudi-led military coalition launched
an air war against the Iran-backed
Huthi rebels on March 26.
Daleh is about 120 kilometres
(75 miles) north of Aden, where Mr
Hadi took refuge in February after
the Huthis seized power in the capital Sanaa.

He left for Saudi Arabia last


month as they advanced on the city.
The Red Cross has appealed for
an immediate truce to facilitate aid
deliveries and allow people to seek
water, food and medical assistance.
Yesterday the organisation said it
had an aid plane is ready to leave for
Yemen but its departure has been
held back by logistics problems inside the war-torn country.
We have a cargo plane with
medical supplies which is ready to
go, Sitara Jabeen, a spokesperson
for the International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC), said.
We have the permission for this
plane but we have logistical problems for the landing. There are less
and less planes landing in Yemen.
We are trying to solve the logistic
problems, she added.
The organisation is also trying
to deploy a team of surgeons to the
battle-torn city of Aden, she said,
but added that authorisations from
all the parties involved are necessary before this could happen.
Russia presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council
on April 4 calling for a humanitarian pause in the Saudi-led air war
against the Huthi Shiite rebels, now
entering its 12th day.
But the coalition has kept up its
night-time raids against rebel positions and arms depots, particularly
around the capital Sanaa and Saada,
the northern stronghold of the Iranbacked rebels.
Residents said dozens of families
had fled their homes in Aden, the
heart of which sits on an extinct volcano jutting out into the sea.
Coalition spokesperson General
Ahmed Assiri accused the rebels of
terrorising civilians.
Snipers,
who
took
position on the roofs of provincial

government buildings, targeted passers-by and members of the popular committees, pro-Hadi fighter
Khalid Bashaea said.
The rebels also fired mortar
rounds at an Aden television station
loyal to Mr Hadi, forcing it off the
air.
Fears are high that impoverished Yemen could be torn apart by
a proxy war between Saudi Arabia
and Iran, the foremost Sunni and
Shiite Muslim powers in the Middle
East.
Iran has accused Sunni-ruled
Saudi Arabia of sowing instability in the region with its air campaign against the Huthis, who hail
from the mainly Shiite northern
mountains.
But Tehran has rejected as utter
lies accusations that it armed the
rebels, who have allied with army
units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh to seize vast swathes of
Yemen.
Iranian media reported on April
4 that Tehran had sought help from
Oman, which unlike other Gulf
monarchies did not participate in
the Saudi-led coalition, to end the
air strikes immediately.
Separated from Iran by only the
narrow Strait of Hormuz, Oman
enjoys much better ties with the Islamic republic than other Gulf Arab
states.
Russias request to halt the air
strikes came as Gulf countries
were pushing for a separate UN
resolution that would impose an
arms embargo and sanctions on
the Huthis.
That draft text has come up
against strong opposition from
Moscow, which proposed amendments to apply the arms embargo
to the entire country and to limit
sanctions. AFP

A Pakistani citizen evacuated from Yemen greets a relative as she leaves the
Benazir International Airport in Islamabad on April 5.

Saudi asks Pakistan to


join fight in Yemen
SAUDI Arabia has asked Pakistan to
contribute aircraft, ships and ground
troops to its coalition fighting rebels
in Yemen, the Pakistani defence minister said yesterday.
Khawaja Asif spoke at the start
of a special parliamentary debate on
whether to join the Saudi-led military
intervention against Shiite Huthi rebels trying to overthrow President
Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is due to visit Islamabad tomorrow to discuss the situation,
Mr Asif said.
Shiite Iran has strongly criticised
the intervention in Yemen by the coalition of largely Sunni Muslim nations,
accusing Saudi Arabia of sowing instability with its air campaign.
Despite close and longstanding relations with Riyadh, Pakistan has so
far held back from joining the fight,
calling for a negotiated settlement and
saying it does not want to get involved
in any conflict that would inflame sectarian tensions.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

announced the special session of parliament last week, saying any decision
on intervention could only come after
proper debate.
Mr Asif was part of a high-level political and military delegation that visited Saudi Arabia last week to assess
the situation.
He repeated the governments position that Pakistan was ready to defend
Saudi territorial integrity.
There should be no ambiguity that
if the security of Saudi territory is at
stake Pakistan will stand by for support, he told lawmakers.
Saudi Arabia has requested us
for aircraft, naval vessels and ground
troops.
Pakistan faces a tricky dilemma
over the intervention in Yemen. It has
long enjoyed military ties with Riyadh
and has benefited hugely from the oilrich kingdoms largesse over the years.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also
has close personal ties to the Saudis,
who sheltered him when he was overthrown in a military coup in 1999.
AFP

World 17

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NAIROBI

Lawyer named as gunman as Kenya


massacre investigation continues
KENYAN authorities have named one
of the gunmen who killed 148 people
in a university massacre as an ethnic
Somali Kenyan national and law graduate, highlighting the al-Qaeda-linked
Shebabs ability to recruit within the
country.
Interior ministry spokesperson
Mwenda Njoka said high-flying Abdirahim Abdullahi was a University
of Nairobi law graduate and described
by a person who knows him well as a
brilliant upcoming lawyer.
The spokesperson added said Abdullahis father, a local official in the
northeastern county of Mandera, had
reported to the authorities that his
son had gone missing and suspected
the boy had gone to Somalia.
Describing Abdullahi as an A-grade
student, Mr Njoka said it was critical
that parents whose children go missing or show tendencies of having been
exposed to violent extremism report
to authorities.
Kenya entered the second of three
days of national mourning yesterday
for those killed in last weeks massacre, the vast majority of whom were
students.
Hundreds packed Nairobis Anglican cathedral on April 5, where Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said Easter
services were overshadowed by great
and terrible evil as police patrolled
outside.
These terrorists want to cause

Hundreds gather for an Easter service at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi on
April 5. Photo: AFP

divisions in our society, but we shall


tell them, You will never prevail, the
archbishop said.
Somalias Shebab militants attacked the university in the northeastern town of Garissa at dawn on April
2, lining up non-Muslim students for
execution in what President Uhuru
Kenyatta described as a barbaric medieval slaughter.
Although Mr Kenyatta has vowed
to retaliate in the severest way possible, there have also been calls for
national unity.

He said peoples justified anger


should not lead to the victimisation
of anyone in a clear reference to Kenyas large Muslim and Somali minorities in a country where 80 percent of
the population is Christian.
The massacre, Kenyas deadliest attack since the 1998 bombing of the US
embassy in Nairobi, claimed the lives
of 142 students, three police officers
and three soldiers.
Top Muslim and Christian leaders
also offered their condolences.
Kenya is at war, and we must

all stand together, said Hassan Ole


Naado, the deputy head of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, saying the organisation was helping to
raise money for the funerals of those
killed and the medical costs of the
scores of wounded.
We deeply feel the pain of the loss
of young lives, he added in a statement, warning that the Shebab was
aiming to create religious conflict.
Pope Francis called the killings
senseless brutality, while the Cairobased top Sunni Muslim body AlAzhar has condemned the terrorist
act committed by Somalias Shebab.
On April 4, Shebab warned of a
long, gruesome war unless Kenya
withdrew its troops from Somalia, and
threatened another bloodbath.
Five men have also been arrested
in connection with the attack, including three coordinators captured as
they fled toward Somalia, and two
others in the university.
The two arrested on campus included a security guard and a Tanzanian found hiding in the ceiling and
holding grenades, the interior ministry said.
A US$215,000 bounty has also been
offered for alleged Shebab commander Mohamed Mohamud, a former Kenyan teacher said to be the mastermind
behind the attack.
The Shebab fled their power base
Somalias capital Mogadishu in 2011,

and continue to battle an African Union force, AMISOM, sent to drive them
out that includes troops from Burundi,
Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
The group has carried out a string
of revenge attacks in neighbouring
countries, notably Kenya and Uganda,
in response to their participation in
the AU force.
Shebab fighters also carried out
the Westgate shopping mall attack in
Nairobi in September 2013, a fourday siege which left at least 67 people
dead.
Over 200 family members of those
killed in Garissa continue their agonising wait for the remains of their
loved ones at the main mortuary in
Nairobi.
One of them was 50-year-old Abraham Koech, who last heard from his
daughter when she called him on
April 2 saying, Terrorists have come
and Im hiding under the bed.
There has been growing criticism
in the media that critical intelligence
warnings were missed, and that special forces units took seven hours to
reach the university, some 365 kilometres (225 miles) from the capital.
Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed
defended the response, saying that
fighting terrorism ... is like being a
goalkeeper. You have 100 saves, and
nobody remembers them. They remember that one that went past you.
AFP

18 World

THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

LONDON

UK moves toward uneasy coalition deals


IN one month, Britain votes in a general election likely to put the nail in
the coffin of two-party politics and
herald an uncertain future of coalitions, alliances and horse-trading.
Neither of the two parties which
have dominated parliament since the
1920s, the Conservatives and the Labour, is expected to win the 326 House
of Commons seats out of 650 needed
to govern alone.
They will likely have to team up
with a smaller party or parties instead.
The prime minister after May 7 will
be one of two men: the incumbent,
Conservative leader David Cameron,
who currently heads a coalition government, or his Labour counterpart
Ed Miliband.
Those two points aside, the rest is
about as murky as the River Thames.
We are now in a de facto multiparty system, said Simon Hix of the
London School of Economics (LSE).
A third vote Conservative, a third
vote Labour, a third vote somebody
else.
The BBCs opinion poll tracker
currently puts the centre-right Conservatives on 34 percent and centreleft Labour on 33 percent, followed
by the anti-EU UKIP, junior coalition
partners the Liberal Democrats, the
Greens and a string of other parties.
As if that were not complicated
enough, the election is also bringing into focus two important ways in
which Britains identity could change
in the coming decades.
Independence parties, particularly

British Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader David Cameron talks to the media at the end of a European Union
Summit held at the EU Council building in Brussels on March 20. Photo: AFP

the Scottish National Party (SNP), look


set to make major gains, which could
hasten the loosening and eventual
break-up of the United Kingdom.
Support for the SNP has surged
even though Scotland voted against

independence in a referendum last


year.
It is expected to win most of Scotlands House of Commons seats in
May and says it could be prepared
to prop up a minority centre-left La-

bour government in return for key


concessions.
The UK is now evolving toward a
quasi-federal country, said the LSEs
Tony Travers.
He added that the SNPs main aim

would not be to produce a stable


government in the UK. It would be to
have another referendum on Scottish
independence.
Then there is the possibility that
Britain could end up leaving the European Union as a result of the election.
Mr Cameron has promised to hold
an in-out vote by 2017 if the centreright Conservatives win outright on
May 7.
While none of the main parties are
making Europe a big issue in a campaign dominated by the economy and
the future of the state-run National
Health Service (NHS), polls suggest an
EU referendum could be relatively close.
The latest YouGov poll in February
found that support for membership
was at an all-time high of 45 percent
against 35 pc in favour of leaving.
Another consequence of the election is that some of the biggest names
in British politics could lose their jobs.
Mr Hix predicted that Mr Cameron
would resign as Conservative leader if
the party loses the election, while Labour would force Mr Miliband to do
the same if he fails to get into Downing Street after five years of austerity.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg,
whose centrist Liberal Democrats are
the coalitions junior partners, has
seen his partys support slump to single figures in government and could
lose his seat, according to the polls.
Nigel Farage of right-wing, Eurosceptic UKIP has said he will quit if
he fails to win the House of Commons
seat he is contesting. AFP

World 19

www.mmtimes.com
JAMMU

Stateless Kashmiri
Hindus turn to Modi
SEVEN decades after fleeing the carnage of partition, Mangu Ram is still
regarded as a second-class citizen in
Indian Kashmir, unable to own property or vote in state elections.
But, now aged 82, Mr Ram is daring
to hope he will finally be able to shed
his refugee status after Prime Minister Narendra Modis Hindu nationalist
party won a share of power in Indias
only Muslim-majority state.
If something can be done, then
maybe I will finally have some enjoyment in this life, says the traditional
healer, speaking in a slum home on the
outskirts of Jammu, Kashmirs winter
capital.
If only the gods could show us
some mercy.
A Hindu, Ram was born in pre-independence India in an area of Punjab
province which became part of Pakistan.
Hundreds of thousands of families
fled across both sides of the border during the 1947 partition of the sub-continent, when around one million people
were killed in communal violence.
Most of those refugees were quickly
absorbed in towns and cities of the
newly-independent nations.
However the fate of the WPRs (West
Pakistan Refugees) who decamped
to Jammu and Kashmir state became
mired in the dispute with Pakistan
over the territory, prompting its rulers
to hold off granting them residential

rights, including the right to buy land


or vote in state polls.
Around 100,000 people are classified as WPRs, most living in the Jammu region. Hardly any of them have
ever set foot in Pakistan.
Their plight has been effectively
ignored by the federal government in
Delhi and successive state administrations, citing legal barriers.
But, in its manifesto for Decembers
state elections, Modis Bharatiya Janata
Party pledged to normalise the WPRs
status.
Although the BJP came second,
they have joined a Kashmir governing
coalition for the first time and are expected to champion the WPRs cause.
We have been living here like this
for three generations now, said veteran activist Labha Ram Gandhi. Granting us state-subject rights is the only
way to improve our condition.
Despite prevailing unrest, Kashmir is one of Indias more prosperous
states.
The estimated 18,000 WPR families
however live in abject poverty, mostly
marrying among themselves because
of their low economic status.
I spend whatever money I earn
to send my children to school, said
Ramesh Kumar, a part-time driver.
My fear is their fate is going to be
the same as mine, added Mr Kumar,
who lives with his wife, two children
and mother in a two-room hovel.

The familys only permanent income is the US$100 monthly pension


his mother receives after her husband
died serving in the army.
Like many WPRs, Mr Kumar hopes
the BJPs presence in the state and federal governments will yield a change in
fortunes.
As well as the manifesto pledge,
hopes of a breakthrough were also
raised in January when a committee
of lawmakers in the BJP-dominated
national parliament recommended the
WPRs be granted permanent resident
status.
But the WPRs have been disappointed by the absence of a similar
commitment in the recent agreement
signed by the BJP and its regional partner in Kashmirs coalition.
We were expecting something to
happen about our rights after the BJP
came into government. We are still
hopeful, said Mr Kumar.
At least our situation is being discussed in the assembly but we expect
the BJP and Modi Ji to do more than
just improve our livelihoods, he said,
using a term of respect.
Observers say the reluctance of successive state governments to grant full
rights to the overwhelmingly Hindu
WPRs stems from fears of upsetting
the demographic balance in Indias
only Muslim-majority state which has
special autonomy enshrined in the
constitution.

Hindu refugee from West Pakistan, Mangu Ram (82) sits inside his concrete
shanty in Surej Chak, on the outskirts of Jammu, Kashmir on March 2. Photo: AFP

The WPRs, whose families mainly


originate from Punjab, have fallen foul
of a pre-independence law that only
grants citizenship to people born, or
descendants of those born, in the old
undivided kingdom of Kashmir.
The same legislation has allowed
around 35,000 Hindus who have fled
Pakistan-controlled Kashmir since partition to be granted citizenship.
Mr Kumar says the law is ridiculous.
I was born here [in India]. My roots
are here. What else do I and my children need to be citizens of this place?
As things stand, Kumars children
cannot be admitted to state-run training colleges or be employed in the state
government, although they can work
for the federal one.
The WPRs are widely seen as
victims of the broader dispute
over Kashmir, a Himalayan region
between India and Pakistan and

claimed in full by both.


Successive state governments have
ignored requests by their federal counterparts for a one-time settlement of
the Hindu refugees, fearing a backlash
from Muslims whose numbers have
fallen 6 percent since 1947. Kashmirs
Hindu population has risen by 5 percent in the same period.
The Rashtriya Swayamsawak Sang
(RSS), an influential Hindu group
whose alumni include Mr Modi, has
advocated settling Hindu patriots in
Kashmir.
Separatists opposed to Indian rule
insist the WPRs must settle in states
where Hindus are in a majority.
Mr Gandhi however said the WPRs
patience is exhausted and they are
ready to take matters into their own
hands if their hopes are dashed again.
We will spill our blood on the
streets for our rights, he said. AFP

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the pulse editor: CHARLOTTE ROSE charlottelola.rose@gmail.com

Port Autonomy chef Kevin Ching puts the finishing touches to his Gangnam fried chicken (pictured right). Photos: Naing Wynn Htoon

Hummingbird chef Wayne Third serves up his Food Fight offering.

THE MYANMAR TIMES april 7, 2015

www.mmtimes.com

the pulse 21

Top restaurants fight it out


CHARLOTTE ROSE
NYEIN CHAN MAY

OUR of Yangons top restaurants went head to


head on April 4 in a bid to be named the first
Yangon Food Fight champion.
The event, held in the gardens of
the recently opened Port Autonomy
restaurant, saw four teams led by chefs
Wayne Third of Hummingbird, Kevin Ching
of Port Autonomy, Kyaw Thet of Rangoon
Tea House and Kumar of Gastro Escape
Bar each serving a different culinary
creation to a crowd of almost 200
guests.
After sampling all of the courses,
guests were invited to vote for their
favourite, with Port Autonomys
Gangnam fried chicken crowned the
winning dish of the evening.
Im absolutely honoured to win.
Ive never done a competition like
this before, said chef Kevin Ching,
who served a dish of fried chicken
with smooth gochujang potatoes and
kimchee cucumber pickles. I decided
to keep things simple with my dish at
Port Autonomy we are known for our fried
chicken so I wanted to create a chicken dish
but take it up a notch. I couldnt be happier,
he added.
I hope we do an event like this again. Yangon
is definitely having a food moment right now its a
great city and it deserves to have a great food scene, said
Ching.
The Yangon Food Fight, organised by marketing and
promotions company Luvit Ventures, aimed to showcase the
innovation and excellence in Yangons burgeoning food scene.
Yangon Food Fight is our first collaboration, said Nom Kham, managing director
and co-founder of Luvit Ventures. We wanted to create an interactive event showcasing Yangons
most innovative local and international chefs both the new up-and-coming talent as well as the
seasoned professionals.
Tickets for the event which cost K35,000 each sold out in just a few days. Nom said the
feedback following the event has been wonderful.
People really appreciated the attention to detail and creative thought that had gone into it. But
most of all, they loved the food! she said.

Among the other gastronomic creations offered


were Escape Gastro Bars two little burgers of
wagyu beef and softshell crab in a squid ink
bun, a delicate, well-presented dish that
went down well with guests.
The latest addition to the Yangon
fine dining scene, Hummingbird
has already created a stir among
the citys foodies, and was a
favourite to win among many
of the guests. Hummingbird
mixologists were on hand
throughout the evening
serving a selection of
summery, bespoke cocktails,
while chef Wayne Third and
his team served guests their
proffering of slow-cooked
belly of pork, seared salmon
and beetroot risotto, and
breast of chicken in herb-andlime-scented sauce.
The Rangoon Tea House team,
led by chef Kyaw Thet, served
spicy ears with beer fried pigs
ears accompanied by chai beer. The
dish was met with mixed opinions
among guests, with one guest commenting
that the pigs ears were too salty and the
chair beer too weird, whilst a fan of the beer
exclaimed, This is my second glass!
But Rangoon Tea House chef Kyaw Thet said the
event wasnt about winning or losing.
The Yangon Food Fight is a great event. It was certainly a
new experience for me in most cooking competitions I might be
asked to prepare between one and 10 meals, but for this event I had to cook
for hundreds of people, he said.
I chose to cook fried pigs ears because I dont think that dish exists in Myanmar. But I wanted
to retain the flavours of Burmese cuisine so I used chilli, sugar and lemon to create the dish. I am
satisified with our teams effort, he added.
Food Fight champion Kevin Ching agrees that winning wasnt the be-all and end-all of the event.
For me, the real honour came from working alongside these fantastic chefs and being a part of
Yangons exciting, emergent food scene, he said. Im already looking forward to the next Food Fight.

Yangon is definitely having a food


moment right now.
Kevin Ching, chef, Port Autonomy

The Rangoon Tea House team serve fried pigs ears for guests.

Two little burgers was the dish of choice for the Escape Gastro Bar team, led by chef Kumar.

22 the pulse

THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

Photography book
captures artists
love for Myanmar
Nandar Aung
nandaraung.mcm@gmail.com
Zon Pann Pwint
zonpann08@gmail.com

IX years ago, David Heath


fell in love. The object of
his passion was Myanmar,
its ways and its cultures,
its fields and its cities
and, most of all, its people. And as in
the most dramatic of romantic tales,
he shot the thing he loved, though
fortunately in his case only with a
camera.
It was a photography workshop
that brought him here for his first
visit. After that, he couldnt stay away.
Like any lover, he wanted the world
to know his beloved and to feel the
same way. Instead of penning verse or
a serenade, he has limned the country
in images.
They were not easily to be had.
Over these six years, David has
trundled the rough roads in bullockcarts, touched down in remote
airfields, rattled over cobbles in
trishaws, and clanked and jolted
in trains to capture and frame the
charms of the land he loves.
I fell under the spell of Myanmar,
he explains.
The results are on display in
Burma: An Enchanted Spirit, which
was launched at Gallery 65, Yaw Min
Gyi Street on April 2, accompanying
an exhibition of his photos that closed
on April 4.
Many people in the world have
not seen the beauty and culture of
the country. I wanted to make an
international-quality book to show
the rest of the world, he said.
David, a world adventure
traveller, was raised in Southern
California. He developed a career
in the environmental engineering

industry, and discovered his true


calling as a photographer after a
trip to Europe in 1998, which he
illustrated with pictures taken on
the Canon AE-1 that his stepfather
gave him.
This country has been very
remote and isolated. When I was

younger, I saw many photos of


temples and cultures. I wanted to
come and experience the country that
so few others had seen, he said. And
I fell in love with a lot of beautiful
people here.
His travels took him through
Yangon, Pyay, Mandalay, Inle Lake

in Shan State, Chin State, Mrauk-Oo


and Sittwe in Rakhine State, Mon
State, Hpa-an in Kayin State, and
along the fringes of the Andaman
Sea.
You can see his love reflected in
the laughing faces of young novices,
the calm freshness of a Mandalay

A gallery visitor leafs through photographer David Heaths new book Burma: An Enchanted Spirit. Photos: Thiri Lu

dawn and the heart-catching smile


of the Chin woman with the tattoos
on her face. His photographs of them
bring out the intimacy between
the photographer and the subject,
untainted by any intrusive hint of his
presence.
One of my favourite places is
Shan State because of the landscape
and its people. They are most
beautiful people I have ever seen, he
said.
When I connect with local people,
I feel love, joy, and compassion. They
have an inner joy and peace that
they bring from within their soul and
spirit. It is most rewarding to connect
with the people. Thats why I wanted
to show the world how beautiful they
are, and how incredible their culture
is, he said.
As I love the country, care for
the people, offer genuine concern for
others and take time, I think they
know and they feel it. We laugh and
we communicate with each other
well, which is why there is no barrier
between us, he said.
Thats why I am attracted, he
said.
U Min Lwin, founder of Gallery
65, said, I saw love in the eyes of
the people in his pictures. All the
photographs were created in natural
light. They are very attractive.
I use my camera as my canvas. I
am more artist than photographer,
said David, who has also visited
Bhutan, Nepal, Cambodia, Africa,
Peru, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands,
the Maldives, Indonesia and several
European countries.
These last 10 years, I have been
shooting seriously, he said.
Burma: An Enchanted Spirit
is on sale for US$100 from the
photographers website, heathstudios.
com, or from Gallery 65, 01-246317.

French cartoonist illustrates Myanmar freedom struggle


Chit Su
suwai.chit@gmail.com

Frdric Debomy talks at the Institut Francois last week. Photo: Chit Su

THE land of liberty, equality and


fraternity will learn of the travails
endured by those in Myanmar
who struggle for human rights and
a better life with the upcoming
publication, at the end of the year, of
Frdric Debomys cartoon Books on
Burma.
They will see his graphic
depictions of police beating student
protesters at Letpadan, and garment
workers clamouring for better pay.
We want to try to illuminate the
contrasting and complex situation
that began with the political
opening-up that began in summer,
2011.We will show such various
topics as the peace process, antiMuslim extremism, land-grabs, and
the influence of China. But the most
important thing is to remember the
ethnic issue and the clear limits of
political openness as long as the 2008
constitution remains in place, said
Frdric.
This will be the latest in his series
Burma: Fear is a Habit, a three-volume

mix of articles, testimonies and short


comic-book stories. His interest was
awakened initially when he read of the
involvement in Myanmar of the French
oil giant Total.
I decided to acquaint a
French audience with the fight for
democracy in Burma and the fact
that Total was at the time the main
financial support for the junta. As
a French citizen, I was concerned,
he said.
He set up Burma: Fear is a Habit,
a project entailing the publication
of a book, accompanied by an
exhibition, public screenings and
discussions.
Living in Myanmar and travelling
around for two months, he says
he experienced no difficulty in
gathering the source material,
however sensitive. On his meetings
with people who spoke of national
unity while seeking to exclude
minorities, he said, Xenophobia in
France discourages me as much as
xenophobia in Burma.
His book will also eventually
appear in both the Myanmar and
English languages.

the pulse 23

www.mmtimes.com

TODAY

Tuesday snippets. Gallery conversation


and drinks. Pansodan Gallery, 289
Pansodan Street, Kyauktada. 7pm-late.
Wine tasting. Bottomless glass. Two reds
and one white French wine. K15,000.
Mojo Bar, 135 Inya Road, Bahan. 9:30pm

TOMORROW

Mojito Night. The Lab, 70A


Shwegonedaing Road, Bahan. 5:30-10pm.
Girls night out. Mojo Bar, 135 Inya Road,
Bahan. 8pm.
Jazz music and dinner. Rendez-Vous
Restaurant and Bar, Institut Francais, 340
Pyay Road. 7:30-9:30pm.

Got an event? | List it in Whats On! | whatsonmt@gmail.com

SAO PAULO

Identical triplets say I do together


GUESTS at a wedding in southern
Brazil might have thought they had
had too much champagne to drink,
but they were not seeing triple. There
were indeed three identical brides.
Triplets Rafaela, Rochele and
Tagiane Bini were married on March
21 in the state of Rio Grande do Sul
in a joint ceremony, fulfilling their
childhood dream of walking down the
aisle together.
The 29-year-old sisters appeared
in the same white mermaid gown,
with identical hairstyles and
matching veils. The only distinction
was the colour of their bouquets.
The trio has done everything
together since they were young, and
dreamed of getting married on the
same day.

Their father was beaming as he gave


them away.
We walked together to the middle
of the aisle and from there, I walked
each one down the aisle individually,
said their proud father Pedro.
The brides spent six hours at the
salon getting hair and make-up done.
A few styles were tested, but the vote
on the final look a low, pulled-back
bun was unanimous.
There were 18 groomsmen in
attendance, each wearing different
colours depending on which wedding
party they were with.
After the vows, the lucky grooms
there were three of them too each
dipped their new brides for a kiss for
a memorable wedding portrait.
AFP

IN PICTUREs
An artist swallows a saber during a general rehearsal of Paris Merveilles,
the new revue of the Parisian cabaret the Lido directed by ItalianBelgian theatre director Franco Dragone.
Photo: AFP

24 the pulse

THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

DOMESTIC FLIGHT SCHEDULES


Yangon to Mandalay
Flight
Y5 775
W9 515
YH 909
YH 917
YJ 891
YJ 891
YJ 891
K7 282
W9 201
YH 826
YH 835
YH 909
YH 831
YH 911
W9201
YH 829
7Y 131
K7 266
8M 6603
YJ 751
YJ 201
YJ 211
YJ 601
YJ 761
YJ 761
YJ 233
YH 729
YH 737
YH 727
W9 251
K7 822
YJ 151/W9 7151
K7 622
K7 226
YH 731
Y5 234
W9 211

Days
Daily
1
1,2,3,5,6
Daily
3,7
4
1,2,5,6
Daily
Daily
3
1,7
7
4,6
2
1
5
Daily
Daily
4
5
1,2,3,4
5,7
6
1,2
4
6
2,4,6
3,5,7
1
2,5
4,7
1
1,3,5,7
2,4,6
Daily
Daily
4

Dep
6:00
6:00
6:00
6:10
6:00
6:30
6:30
6:00
7:00
7:00
7:00
7:00
7:00
7:00
7:00
7:00
7:15
8:00
9:00
10:45
11:00
11:15
11:15
11:15
11:00
11:00
11:00
11:15
11:15
11:30
12:30
13:00
13:00
13:30
14:30
15:20
15:30

Arr
7:10
7:25
7:40
8:30
8:05
7:55
8:35
8:10
8:25
8:40
8:40
8:40
8:40
8:40
8:25
11:05
9:20
10:05
10:10
14:50
12:25
12:40
12:40
13:10
12:55
12:55
14:00
13:25
13:25
12:55
16:55
16:45
14:25
14:55
16:40
16:30
16:55

Mandalay to Yangon
Flight
Y5 233
YJ 891
YJ 891
K7 283
YH 918
YH 910
W9 201
YJ 891
7Y 132
K7 267
YH 830
YH 912
YJ 762
YH 832
YH 827
YH 836
YH 910
YJ 212
YJ 212
YJ 752
YJ 202
YJ 602
YH 732
YH 732
YH 728
YJ 762
W9 152/W97152
Y5 776
W9 211
K7 823
8M 6604
K7 227
8M 903
YH 738
K7 623
YH 730
YJ 234
W9 252

Days
Daily
4
3,7
Daily
Daily
7
Daily
1,2,5,6
Daily
Daily
5
2
4
4,6
3
1,7
1,2,3,5,6
7
6
5
1,2,3,4
6
6
Daily
1
1,2
1
Daily
4
2,4,7
4
2,4,6
1,2,4,5,7
3,5,7
1,3,5,7
2,4,6
6
2,5

Dep
7:50
8:10
8:20
8:25
8:30
8:40
8:40
8:50
9:35
10:20
11:05
11:30
13:10
13:20
13:20
13:20
13:20
15:00
15:15
15:05
15:30
15:55
16:40
16:40
16:45
16:50
17:05
17:10
17:10
17:10
17:20
17:20
17:20
17:25
17:40
17:45
17:45
18:15

Arr
9:00
10:05
10:15
11:30
10:45
10:05
10:35
10:45
11:30
12:25
14:55
13:25
17:00
14:45
14:45
14:45
14:45
16:25
16:40
16:30
16:55
17:50
18:05
18:45
18:10
18:15
18:30
18:20
19:15
18:35
18:30
18:45
18:30
18:50
19:05
19:10
19:10
19:40

Yangon to nay pyi taw

Nay pyi taw to Yangon

Flight
FMI A1
FMI B1
FMI C1

Flight
FMI A2
FMI B2
FMI C2

Days
1,2,3,4,5
1,2,3,4,5
1,2,3,4,5

Dep
7:15
10:45
17:00

Arr
8:15
11:45
18:00

Yangon to Nyaung U
Flight
K7 282
YJ 891
YH 909
YH 917
YJ 881
YJ 891
YH 909
YJ 881
K7 242
7Y 131
K7 264
YH 731
W9 129
W9 211

Days
Daily
3,7
1,2,3,5,6
Daily
7
1,2,5,6
4
4
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
1,3,6
4

Dep
6:00
6:00
6:00
6:10
6:30
6:30
6:30
6:45
7:00
7:15
14:30
14:30
15:30
15:30

Days
5
3
1,7
4,6
1,2,3,4
2,5

Dep
7:00
7:00
7:00
7:00
11:00
11:30

Dep
8:35
13:30
18:20

Arr
9:35
14:30
19:20

Nyaung U to Yangon
Arr
7:20
7:20
8:25
7:45
7:50
7:50
8:05
8:05
8:20
8:35
16:40
17:25
17:35
17:40

Yangon to Myitkyina
Flight
YH 829
YH 826
YH 835
YH 831
YJ 201
W9 251

Days
1,2,3,4,5
1,2,3,4,5
1,2,3,4,5

Arr
9:40
10:05
10:05
10:05
13:50
14:25

Flight
YJ 891
YH 918
YJ 881
YJ 891
YH 910
YJ 881
YH 910
K7 242
7Y 131
K7 283
K7 265
YH 732
W9 129

Days
3,7
Daily
7
1,2,5,6
4
4
1,2,3,5,6
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
1,3,6

Dep
7:35
7:45
8:05
8:05
8:05
8:20
8:25
8:35
8:50
10:10
16:55
17:25
17:50

Arr
10:15
10:45
10:10
10:45
9:25
10:25
9:45
11:45
11:30
11:30
18:15
18:45
19:10

Myitkyina to Yangon
Flight
YH 827
YH 832
YH 836
YH 830
YJ 202
YJ 234
W9 252

Days
3
4,6
1,7
5
1,2,3,4
6
2,5

Dep
11:55
11:55
11:55
12:30
14:05
16:20
16:45

Arr
14:45
14:45
14:45
14:55
16:55
19:10
19:40

Yangon to Heho
Flight
YJ 891
YJ 891
K7 282
YH 917
YJ 881
YJ 891
YJ 881
K7 242
7Y 131
K7 266
Y5 649
YH 505
YJ 751
YJ 751
YJ 761
YJ 233
YJ 761
YH 727
YH 737
YH 727
K7 828
K7 822
K7 264
YH 731
W9 129

Days
4
3,7
Daily
Daily
7
1,2,5,6
4
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
1,2,3,4,5,6
3,7
5
4
6
1,2
1
3,5,7
3
1,3,5
2,4,7
Daily
Daily
1,3,6

Dep
6:00
6:00
6:00
6:10
6:30
6:30
6:45
7:00
7:15
8:00
10:30
10:30
10:30
10:45
11:00
11:00
11:15
11:15
11:15
11:15
12:30
12:30
14:30
14:30
15:30

Heho to Yangon
Arr
8:40
8:50
9:00
9:35
8:50
9:20
9:00
9:15
10:05
9:15
12:45
11:55
11:40
11:55
12:10
12:10
12:25
12:40
12:40
12:40
13:45
13:45
15:45
15:55
16:40

Flight
YJ 891
YJ 881
YJ 891
K7 283
YJ 881
W9 201
K7 243
YH 918
YJ 891
7Y 132
K7 267
YH 506
YJ 752
YJ 762
YH 732
YJ 762
K7 829
YH 728
YJ 602
K7 264
YH 738
YJ 752
W9 129

Arr
8:15
9:05
13:50
17:00

Flight
Y5 326
7Y 532
K7 320
Y5 326

Yangon to Myeik
Flight
Y5 325
K7 319
7Y 531
Y5 325

Days
1,5
1,3,5,7
2,4,6
2

Dep
6:45
7:00
11:45
15:30

Days
1,3,6
Daily
1,3,5,7

Dep
11:30
11:45
12:00

Days
Daily
1,2,3,4,5,6
1,3,6
1,3,5,7
Daily
1,3,4,6

Dep
7:00
10:30
11:30
12:00
13:00
15:45

Days
1
2,4,6

Dep
7:00
11:45

Flight
W9 309
6T 612
K7 423

Arr
10:35
13:10
13:50
12:50
13:35
16:40

Flight
K7 243
YH 506
7Y 413
W9 309
K7 422
Y5 422

Days
3,7
5
2,4,6
1,3,5

Dep
10:30
10:45
11:00
12:30

Days
3
4,6
1,7
2,5

Dep
7:00
7:00
7:00
11:30

Days
1,5
2,4,6
1,3,5,7
2

Dep
8:35
16:05
11:30
17:15

Arr
10:05
18:10
13:35
18:45

Days
1,3,6
Daily
Daily

Dep
13:10
13:15
15:10

Arr
14:55
14:20
16:30

Days
Daily
1,2,3,4,5,6
1,3,5,7
1,3,6
Daily
1,3,4,6

Dep
10:50
13:10
13:05
14:05
14:10
16:55

Arr
11:45
14:00
15:25
14:55
16:30
17:50

Tel: 513322, 513422, 504888. Fax: 515102

Air KBZ (K7)


Tel: 372977~80, 533030~39 (airport), 373766
(hotline). Fax: 372983

Asian Wings (YJ)


Tel: 515261~264, 512140, 512473, 512640
Fax: 532333, 516654

Golden Myanmar Airlines (Y5)


Tel: 09400446999, 09400447999
Fax: 8604051

Mann Yadanarpon Airlines (7Y)


Tel: 656969
Fax: 656998, 651020

Arr
8:10
12:50

Flight
K7 320
7Y 532

Arr
12:45
13:00
13:00
14:50

Flight
YJ 752
K7 829
K7 829
YJ 752
YH 730

Arr
11:00
11:00
11:00
15:25

Flight
YH 836
YH 832
YH 827
W9 252

Days
1,3,5,7
2,4,6

Dep
12:25
17:05

Arr
13:35
18:10

lashio to Yangon
Days
5
1,3
5
3,7
2,4,6

Dep
13:15
15:05
15:05
15:40
16:45

Arr
16:30
15:55
17:25
17:55
19:10

putao to yangon
Days
1,7
4,6
3
2,5

Dep
11:00
11:00
11:00
15:45

FMI Air Charter


Tel: 240363, 240373, 09421146545

Airline Codes
7Y = Mann Yadanarpon Airlines
K7 = Air KBZ
W9 = Air Bagan
Y5 = Golden Myanmar Airlines
YH = Yangon Airways
YJ = Asian Wings
FMI = FMI Air Charter

dawei to Yangon

yangon to putao
Flight
YH 826
YH 831
YH 835
W9 251

Air Bagan (W9)

Tel: 383100, 383107, 700264


Fax: 652 533

thandwe to Yangon

yangon to lashio
Flight
YJ 751
YJ 751
YH 729
K7 828

Domestic Airlines

Yangon Airways (YH)

Arr
12:55
12:55
13:50

yangon to dawei
Flight
K7 319
7Y 531

Arr
10:05
10:15
10:15
11:30
10:25
10:35
11:45
10:45
10:45
11:30
12:25
14:00
16:30
17:00
18:45
18:15
17:25
18:10
17:50
18:15
18:50
17:55
19:10

sittwe to Yangon

Yangon to thandwe
Flight
K7 242
YH 505
W9 309
7Y 413
K7 422
Y5 421

Dep
8:55
9:05
9:05
9:15
9:15
9:25
9:30
9:35
9:35
10:20
11:10
11:55
14:20
15:50
15:55
16:05
16:10
16:00
16:40
16:30
16:40
16:45
16:55

Myeik to Yangon

Yangon to sittwe
Flight
W9 309
6T 611
K7 413

Days
4
7
3,7
Daily
4
Daily
Daily
Daily
1,2,5,6
Daily
Daily
1,2,3,4,5,6
5
4
Daily
1,2
1,3,5
1
6
Daily
3,5,7
3,7
1,3,6

Arr
14:45
14:45
14:45
19:40

Subject to change
without notice
Day
1 = Monday
2 = Tuesday
3 = Wednesday
4 = Thursday
5 = Friday
6 = Saturday
7 = Sunday

the pulse 25

www.mmtimes.com
SEYCHELLES

International FLIGHT SCHEDULES


YANGON TO BANGKOK

Flights

Days

PG 706
8M 335
TG 304
PG 702
TG 302
PG 708
8M 331
PG 704
Y5 237
TG 306

Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily

Dep

Arr

6:05
7:40
9:50
10:30
14:50
15:20
16:30
18:35
19:00
19:50

YANGON TO DON MUEANG

Flights
DD 4231
FD 252
FD 256
FD 254
FD 258
DD 4239
Flights

Days
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily

Dep
8:00
8:30
12:50
17:35
21:30
21:00

YANGON TO SINGAPORE
Days

Dep

BANGKOK TO YANGON

Flights

8:20
9:25
11:45
12:25
16:45
17:15
18:15
20:30
20:50
21:45

TG 303
PG 701
Y5 238
8M 336
TG 301
PG 707
PG 703
TG 305
8M 332
PG 705

Arr
9:45
10:20
14:40
19:25
23:15
22:55

Flights
DD 4230
FD 251
FD 255
FD 253
FD 257
DD 4238

Arr

Flights

Days

Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily

Dep

Arr

8:00
8:45
21:30
10:40
13:05
13:40
17:00
18:05
19:15
20:15

8:45
9:40
22:20
11:25
13:50
14:30
17:50
18:50
20:00
21:30

DON MUEANG TO YANGON


Days
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily

Dep
6:30
7:15
11:35
16:20
20:15
19:25

Arr
7:15
8:00
12:20
17:05
20:55
20:15

SINGAPORE TO YANGON
Days

Dep

Arr

8M 231
Daily
8:00
12:25
Y5 2233
Daily
9:45
14:15
TR 2823
Daily
9:45
2:35
SQ 997
Daily
10:25
15:10
3K 582
Daily
11:45
16:20
MI 533
2,4,6
13:35
20:50
8M 233
5,6,7
14:40
19:05
MI 519
Daily
16:40
21:15
3K 584
2,3,5
19:30 00:05+1
YANGON TO KUALA LUMPUR

TR 2822
Daily
7:20
Y5 2234
Daily
7:20
SQ 998
Daily
7:55
3K 581
Daily
9:10
MI 533
2,4,6
11:30
8M 232
Daily
13:25
MI 518
Daily
14:20
3K 583
2,3,5
17:20
8M 234
5,6,7
20:15
KUALA LUMPUR TO YANGON

8:45
8:50
9:20
10:40
12:45
14:50
15:45
18:50
21:40

8M 501
AK 505
MH 741
8M 9506
8M 9508
MH 743
AK 503

11:50
12:45
16:30
16:30
20:05
20:15
23:20

AK 504
8M 9505
MH 740
8M 502
8M 9507
MH 742
AK 502

8:00
11:15
11:15
13:50
14:50
15:05
18:25

Arr
0550+1

Flights
CA 905

Flights

Flights
CA 906

Days

Dep

Arr

1,2,3,5,6
7:50
Daily
8:30
Daily
12:15
Daily
12:15
Daily
15:45
Daily
16:00
Daily
19:05
YANGON TO BEIJING
Days
3,5,7

Dep
23:50

YANGON TO GUANGZHOU
Flights

Days

8M 711
CZ 3056
CZ 3056
Flights

Days

Daily

Dep

Arr

CA 416
MU 2012
MU 2032
Flights

Days

13:15
15:55
22:10

Dep

Arr

10:50

16:10

1,3,5,6,7

Dep

Arr

15:55
18:50
18:15

Dep

Arr

19:10

21:25

YANGON TO HO CHI MINH CITY


Flights

Days

VN 942

2,4,7

Days

CZ 3055
CZ 3055
8M 712

Days
1,4,6

Dep

Days

14:25

17:05

0Z 770
KE 472

4,7
Daily

0:50
23:55

Flights

Days

CI 7915

Daily

Flights

MU 2011
CA 415
MU 2031
Flights

Days

KA 251

Daily
Days

Days

VN 943

NH 914

Daily
Days

BG 061
BG 061
Flights

2
5

Dep

11:45
19:45

PG 724
W9 607
8M 7702

1,3,5,6
4,7
Daily

Dep

12:50
14:30
23:55

2,4,7

Days
2,4,6
1,5
4,7

Flights

Days

3,5,6
2
1,5

Flights

Days

Flights

AI 234
AI 228

1
5

Dep

7:00
13:10
14:05
Dep

13:10
Dep

14:05
18:45

MANDALAY TO BANGKOK

Flights

PG 710

Days

Daily

Dep

14:15

MANDALAY TO singapore

Flights

MI 533
Y5 2233

Days

2,4,6
1,2,4,5,6

Dep

15:45
7:50

MANDALAY TO DON MUEANG

Flights

FD 245

Days

Daily

Dep

12:50

MANDALAY TO KUNMING

Flights

MU 2030

Days

Daily

Dep

13:50

NAY PYI TAW TO BANGKOK

Flights

PG 722

Days

1,2,3,4,5

Dep

19:45

Dep

Arr

7:00

9:50

Dep

Arr

11:50
11:30
14:00

Dep

Arr

16:40
Dep

11:45

5:25

KA 252
KA 250

Arr

Flights

Days

2,4,6
1,3,5,7
Days

Arr

Flights

Arr

Daily
Days

2
5

Arr

Arr

Days

2
3,5,6
5
Days

Dep

11:00
17:20
18:45
Dep
9:25
13:45
17:20
Dep

9:10
9:20
15:00
Dep

7:00

kolkata TO YANGON

AI 227
AI 233

Days

1
5

Dep

10:35
13:30

BANGKOK TO MANDALAY

Flights

PG 709

Days

Daily

Dep

12:05

singapore to mandalay

Flights

Y5 2234
MI 533

Days

Daily
2,4,6

Dep

7:20
11:30

DON MUEANG TO MANDALAY

Flights

15:15

FD 244

Arr

Flights

Days

Daily

Dep

10:55

KUNMING TO MANDALAY

16:40

MU 2029

Arr

Flights

22:45

8:30
16:30

delhi TO YANGON

Flights

Flights

20:50
14:15

Dep

gaya TO YANGON

Flights

Arr

Arr

1,3,5,6
4,7
Daily
Days
2,4,6
1,5
4,7

AI 235
8M 602
AI 233
AI 235

16:40

11:45

INCHEON TO YANGON
Days

Days

Daily

Dep

12:55

BANGKOK TO NAY PYI TAW

PG 721

Days

1,2,3,4,5

Dep

17:15

Arr

00:15+1
23:45

Dep

Tel: 09254049991~3

Air Bagan Ltd.(W9)

Tel: 513322, 513422, 504888. Fax: 515102

Air China (CA)

Tel: 666112, 655882

Air India

Tel: 253597~98, 254758, 253601. Fax 248175

Bangkok Airways (PG)

Tel: 255122, 255265. Fax: 255119

Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG)


Tel: 371867~68. Fax: 371869

Condor (DE)

Tel: 370836~39 (ext: 303)

Dragonair (KA)

Tel: 255320, 255321. Fax: 255329

Golden Myanmar Airlines (Y5)


Tel: 09400446999, 09400447999
Fax: 8604051

Malaysia Airlines (MH)

Tel: 387648, 241007 (ext: 120, 121, 122)


Fax: 241124

Myanmar Airways International (8M)


Tel: 255260. Fax: 255305

Nok Airline (DD)

Tel: 255050, 255021. Fax: 255051

Qatar Airways (QR)

Tel: 379845, 379843, 379831. Fax: 379730

Singapore Airlines (SQ) / Silk Air (MI)


Tel: 255287~9. Fax: 255290

Tiger Airline (TR)

Arr

chiang mai TO YANGON

16:30
17:20
19:45

Dep

22:20
21:50

Air Asia (FD)

Arr

22:30
23:40

DHAKA TO YANGON

Flights

BG 060
BG 060

Arr

Dep

18:30
19:30

Tel: 255412, 413

Thai Airways (TG)

Arr
0459+1

TOKYO TO YANGON

NH 913

13:00
21:00

8:20
14:10
15:05

Dep
19:45

All Nippon Airways (NH)

18:10
13:25

HONG KONG TO YANGON

Flights
Y5 252
7Y 306
W9 608

YANGON TO kolkata
Days

Days

Daily
3,6

Arr
8:05
12:50
16:20

Dep
6:15
11:00
14:30

YANGON TO DELHI

AI 236

10:35
16:40
15:50

SEOUL TO YANGON

PG 723
W9 608
8M 7701

YANGON TO gaya

8M 601
AI 236
AI 234

Days
3,5,7

14:45
16:20
07:50+1

YANGON TO chiang mai

Flights
Y5 251
7Y 305
W9 607

Flights

Arr

YANGON TO INCHEON
Days

Arr

06:45+1

YANGON TO DHAKA

Flights

Flights
QR 918

Flights

1:10

22:10

Arr
11:40

Arr

Dep

Dep

Arr

3
8:25
Daily
11:10
1,2,4,5,6,7 13:30
HANOI TO YANGON
1,3,5,6,7

Flights

KE 471
0Z 769

YANGON TO TOKYO

Flights

Days

Days

VN 957

8:50
07:45+1

YANGON TO HONG KONG

Flights

Dep

DOHA TO YANGON

Dep
7:55
Dep

Arr
22:50

HO CHI MINH CITY TO YANGON


Arr

YANGON TO SEOUL

Flights

Dep
19:30

3,6
8:35
1,5
14:40
2,4,7
14:15
TAIPEI TO YANGON

YANGON TO DOHA
Flights
QR 919

Arr

KUNMING TO YANGON

Daily
12:30
3
12:40
1,2,4,5,6,7 14:50
YANGON TO HANOI
Days

VN 956

Dep

Daily
6:55
Daily
10:05
Daily
10:05
1,2,3,5,6
12:50
Daily
13:40
Daily
13:55
Daily
17:20
BEIJING TO YANGON
Days
3,5,7

Flights

YANGON TO KUNMING
Flights

Days

GUANGZHOU TO YANGON

2,4,7
8:40
3,6
11:35
1,5
17:40
YANGON TO TAIPEI

CI 7916

Flights

International Airlines

Tel: 255491~6. Fax: 255223


Tel: 371383, 370836~39 (ext: 303)

Vietnam Airlines (VN)

Tel: 255066, 255088, 255068. Fax: 255086

Airline Codes
3K = Jet Star
8M = Myanmar Airways International
AK = Air Asia

Arr

17:15
Arr

10:45
18:45

BG = Biman Bangladesh Airlines


CA = Air China
CI = China Airlines
CZ = China Southern

Arr

11:55
18:10
22:05
Arr
10:15
14:35
18:10
Arr

12:10
12:30
18:00
Arr

12:10
Arr

13:20
18:00
Arr

13:25
Arr

16:30
14:50
Arr

12:20
Arr

12:50
Arr

19:15

DD = Nok Airline
FD = Air Asia
KA = Dragonair
KE = Korea Airlines
MH = Malaysia Airlines
MI = Silk Air
MU = China Eastern Airlines
NH = All Nippon Airways
PG = Bangkok Airways
QR = Qatar Airways
SQ = Singapore Airways
TG = Thai Airways
TR = Tiger Airline
VN = Vietnam Airline
AI = Air India
Y5 = Golden Myanmar Airlines

Subject to change
without notice
Day
1 = Monday
2 = Tuesday
3 = Wednesday

4 = Thursday
5 = Friday
6 = Saturday
7 = Sunday

The Presidential Villa of Banyan Tree Resort in Seychelles. Photo: Bloomberg


News/Banyan Tree

A royals retreat
on a commoners
budget
Lynn Freehill-Maye

ur black SUV skidded


to a stop. Our guide to
the Seychelles hopped
out, excited. We smelled
plumeria and saw graceful
white seabirds. But Alrick Agricole
was pointing out toward the ultra-blue
Indian Ocean.
I have to show you something
special! he called out, waving my
husband and me over. Thats North
Island. Some people you know stayed
there when they were in the Seychelles.
You know William and Kate?
Nope, we didnt personally know
the British royals. Nor could we spend
the almost US$13,000 per night that
Agricole had heard they paid to rent
the private islands entire resort. (In
Seychelles, its never a secret, he said,
winking.) This was our first day in the
Seychelles, and Agricoles tour was
making it clear that this 115-island
chain was among the worlds most
luxurious.
I was daunted. Our budget was
sub-royal. It was the Seychelles
tropical ecosystem headlined by giant
tortoises and coco de mer palms that
had captured my imagination.
So had the countrys AfricanEuropean-Asian cultural mash-up.
Located 1000 miles (1600 kilometres)
off Madagascar, the Seychelles were
a French and then an English colony,
but its cuisine is Indian-influenced,
too. It all sounded fabulous. But could
commoners enjoy this trip without
spending a fortune?
The first sticker shock came when
searching air fare, which starts around
$1400 from Washington. The Seychelles
dont get as many US tourists as, say,
Fiji or the Maldives, so fewer carriers
compete and offer lower rates. In fact,
we never met a fellow US traveller in
10 days there. (There were so many
Europeans, prices were often given in
euros.)
Agricoles driving-and-walking tour
was a splurge at nearly $250, but it
gave us a private, full-day introduction
to the main island, Mahe. The wonders
of Victoria, the capital, included a
Hindu temple adorned with elephants
and fat-bellied figures whose arms
reached toward the sky. Another find
was the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke
Market (named after a British colonial
governor), a riot of drying fish and ripe
banana smells. Later, we would come

back for fresh, inexpensive snacks like


passion fruit.
To end our tour, we hiked down a
ravine, and Agricole led us through
a beaded curtain into his childhood
home.
The personal touch also infused the
hospitality we found at guesthouses,
which offer local experiences for onetenth or less of resort prices. High-end
properties such as Constance Ephelia
and Maia Luxury Resort & Spa are
Leading Hotels of the World types,
with rates to match. At less than $100
per night, Belle des Iles guesthouse on
the island of La Digue isnt quite that.
Yet no pricey hotel butler could have
topped the kindness we received there,
starting with a welcome drink of chilled
coconut water served in the shell by our
hostess, Fleurange Payet.
Wed taken a two-hour ferry from
Mahe to La Digue. It was about $70 per
person, far less than a helicopter flight
to this airportless island. And instead of
renting a car, we opted to travel on two
wheels: Payet rented us sand-dusted
mountain bikes for $7 a day.
She pointed us toward one of the
Seychelles wildest beaches, Grand
Anse, about a mile away. Along the
road, front-yard smoothie huts enticed
us with the tang of cut mango and
another tropical fruit, soursop. We
grabbed a $6 juice blend at one called
Chez Bibi.
Then we coasted to Grand Anse,
where the huge granite formations
framing the beach, backed by thick
vegetation, gave it a primordial feeling
that made us think of Jurassic Park. By
4pm the few other visitors had left and
it became our private beach, just like
celebrities rent.
I saved one of my most anticipated
Seychellois sights, the giant Aldabra
tortoises, until nearly the end of our
13-day trip. For $60, we chartered a
fishing boat from a local guy on Praslin
to the nearby island of Curieuse. There,
in an alcove that smelled like a salt
pond, Aldabra tortoises roamed free.
Locking eyes with these centenarians
feels like surveying relaxed dinosaurs.
As we swam out to the boat to
head back, I realised that this beat-up
fiberglass-and-wood vessel wouldnt
even be up to dinghy standards for
a yacht. On this little charter and
everything else I experienced on these
islands I hadnt spent nearly as much
money as a celebrity guest. Even so, the
Seychelles had opened up its riches.

26 Sport

THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

ASIA

Golf

Asias time for more


majors will come
T

hongchai Jaidee is well


rested and excited for his
fourth Masters start this
week at Augusta National,
confident more Asian success in golfs majors will come in
time.
South Korean Yang Yong-Euns
victory in the 2009 PGA Championship remains the only major title
won by an Asian man, but 45-yearold Asian Tour star Thongchai has
watched a rising tide of talent from
India, China, Japan and South Korea.
Its true we havent seen any
Asians breaking through but as time
goes by we can expect more wins
from Asian players, he said.
Development of golf needs time
and these days, I see golfers from
Japan and Korea have been coming
out strong and representing our continent on the world stage. A country
like India is also doing well. But at
the end of the day, it needs time.
World number 43 Thongchai,
one year younger than Jack Nicklaus
when he became the oldest Masters
winner at age 46, has not given up
on making it happen himself, saying
the Masters offers his best chance to
contend.
I feel Im ready for the upcoming Masters, he said. Ive had a full
month of not playing in tournaments
and was instead getting myself ready
for the Masters.
Ive been hitting the ball better
despite my advancing age but Im
good in trying to keep my body fit
and healthy by doing regular gym
work. I stay fit all the time to make
sure that my golf is at its best.
Thongchai has also played Augusta National often enough to know he

The scoreboard that all golfers must master in order to don the famous green jacket of Augusta. Photo: AFP

cannot be overly aggressive when the


years first major tournament opens
April 9.
Ive learned a lot from my three
visits to Augusta National, he said.
Its not a golf course where you can
go aggressive as it will punish you,
especially around the greens. You
need to be steady and consistent to
play each shot and try to make birdies when there is a good opportunity.
Among the things Thongchai
enjoys about the trip down Magnolia Lane to the Augusta National

clubhouse is the tradition on offer,


including the semi-social Par-3 Contest, although no player who has ever
won it has gone on to win the Masters in the same year.
Augusta National is a unique
course unlike the other majors where
they switch different courses every
year, he said. There is so much tradition at the Masters Tournament ...
such as the Par-3 Contest. Itll be a
good week.
The former paratrooper made
the Masters cut for the first time last

year, achieving his goal of playing


through the weekend at every major
at least once.
Thongchai, the only three-time
Asian Tour Order of Merit champion,
shared 37th at last years Masters and
also won the Nordea Masters in Sweden, his second victory on European
soil.
He is also in position to secure a
spot on the Internationals squad that
will face the United States in this
years Presidents Cup in October in
South Korea. AFP

Swimming

Japans
centenarian
notches up
world swim
record
A 100-year-old Japanese woman
has become the worlds first centenarian to complete a 1500-metre freestyle
swim, 20 years after she took up the
sport.
Mieko Nagaoka took just under
an hour and 16 minutes to finish the
race as the sole competitor in the
100-104-year-old category at a short
course pool in Ehime, western Japan,
on April 4.
I want to swim until I turn 105 if
I can live that long, the sprightly Nagaoka told Kyodo News.
Her achievement is expected to
be recognised by Guinness World Records, the agency reported.
Nagaoka, who published a book
last year entitled Im 100 years old and
the worlds best active swimmer, is no
stranger to the 1,500-metre race, having completed the distance at the age
of 99 in an Olympic-sized pool.
Nagaoka only took up swimming
when she hit 80, one of the growing
number of elderly Japanese who are
enjoying longer and healthier lives as
the country ages.
There were nearly 59,000 centenarians in Japan in September last year,
government figures show which
means 46 out of every 100,000 people
is 100 or over.
Among them are several who remain physically active long after many
people have given up the ghost.
They include 103-year-old sprinter
Hidekichi Miyazaki, who holds the
world record for the 100-metre dash
in the 100-104 age category, clocking
up a respectable 29.83 seconds.
His late-blooming athletic prowess
has seen him dubbed Golden Bolt a
reference to Jamaican sprinter Usain
Bolt. AFP

FOotball

Turkey rules out halting league after Fenerbahce attack


Turkey ruled out April 5 any suspension of its football league after a gun
attack on the coach carrying one of the
countrys top teams Fenerbahce that
has been branded as cowardly.
I dont think this is a situation
that requires a suspension or cancellation of the league, Interior Minister Sebahattin Ozturk told reporters
in the capital Ankara.
He spoke after the Istanbul club
called for the championship to be
halted after a bus carrying its players home from a match on the Black
Sea coast was hit by gunfire.
We consider that as long as this
attack is not solved in a way that satisfies Fenerbahce and public opinion, a suspension of the championship is inevitable, the club said on
its website.
Blood ran and football was silenced. Finding and punishing the
culprits is of vital importance for
Fenerbahce, it added.
The bus was shot at late Aptil 4 as
the Turkish Super Lig leaders passed
through the northeastern town of
Trabzon following their away game
in nearby Rize, where they beat Rizespor 5-1.
No players were hurt in the attack, but the driver was wounded in
the face. Fenerbahce vice president
Mahmut Uslu accused the attackers
of trying to crash the bus and kill
the players.

Several international stars were


on board including Brazilian midfielder Diego Ribas da Cunha and
Raul Meireles from Portugal. Dutch
international winger Dirk Kuyt had
not travelled to the game.
It was a cowardly and inhuman
attack, Sports Minister Cagatay Kilic
said.

Blood ran and


football was
silenced. Finding
and punishing the
culprits is of vital
importance.
Fenerbahce club website

Media reports said the shots


caused the driver to lose control of
the vehicle but that a team security official managed to slam on the
brakes to prevent it plunging into a
ravine.
The team was heading to Trabzon
airport to catch a flight back to Istanbul and was later given an armed
escort to the airport.
The Turkish Football Federation

decided April 5 to delay a Turkish


Cup match slated for today between
Fenerbahce and Mersin Idmanyurdu
Klubu.
Pictures of the bus showed a damaged windshield on the drivers side.
Trabzon governor Abdil Celil Oz
confirmed the gun attack and said
the drivers life was not in danger.
At first we thought stones had
been thrown at the bus but police
investigators at the scene have concluded it was an armed attack, he
told the television station 360.
The governor said he received
a phone call from President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, a supporter of the
Istanbul club, asking him about the
investigation into the shooting.
Investigators have found a rifle
near the motorway where the football
teams bus was fired upon, according
to news channel CNN-Turk. No arrests
have been reported for the moment.
The gun attack came after a violent week in Turkey that saw a prosecutor killed in a hostage standoff
in Istanbul in which his two radical
leftist captors also died. Another
member of the same group was killed
after she attacked a police station.
Turkeys football authorities issued a statement condemning the
attack on the bus in the strongest
possible terms and called for the
perpetrators to be brought to justice
immediately.

The driver was injured during the attack on the Fenerhahce bus. Photo: AFP

Turkish media reacted with shock


to the shooting, an unprecedented
attack on a team in the football-mad
country.
A black mark for Turkish football,
said the daily Hurriyet newspaper.
Last June an Istanbul court ordered the retrial of Fenerbahces
chair who had been jailed over a
match-fixing scandal.
Aziz Yildirim was first sentenced
to jail and fined 1.3 million lira
($580,000) in 2012 for match fixing
during the 2010-2011 season and for

forming a criminal gang.


In all, 93 people were convicted
in the case and European footballs
governing body UEFA barred Fenerbahce from the Champions League
for two seasons as a result.
Yildirim served about a year of
his original sentence before being
freed pending on appeal in July 2012.
Fenerbahce, which won its 19th
Turkish league title this season, currently tops the table ahead of its
Istanbul archrivals Galatasaray and
Besiktas. AFP

Sport 27

www.mmtimes.com
Football

Maradona to play match for


Colombias peace process
Argentinas legendary ex-footballer
Diego Maradona will play in a propeace match in Bogota this month
to support Colombias ongoing peace
process, officials said March 6.
The game will take place on April 10
at Techo stadium in Bogota, and will include other football greats whose names
were not immediately released, a statement from the mayors office said.
The appearance by Maradona,
54, is a big show of support for talks
aimed at ending Latin Americas longest running civil war.
The Colombian government is negotiating with the Marxist-inspired

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to end decades of bloody war.


Bogotas mayor Gustavo Petro is a
former rebel with the disbanded M-19
insurgency.
The Colombian conflict has killed
around 220,000 people and uprooted
more than 5 million since the FARC
launched its rebellion in 1964.
Maradona led Argentina to victory
in the 1986 World Cup with his famed
Hand of God goal. This was not the
only controversy in a career tainted by
cocaine-abuse and being sent home
from the 1994 World Cup for ephedrine doping. AFP

Football

Red Bull deny rumoured


Leeds United interest
Austrian energy drinks giant Red Bull
on April 5 denied reports in the British
media that it is poised to buy English
second-division club Leeds United.
Another involvement in football
is not currently planned, Red Bulls
head of global football Oliver Mintzlaff
told German news agency DPA.
On April 3, English tabloid the Daily Mirror reported that Red Bull had
offered 60 million (US$89.5 million)
to buy Leeds, with talks said to be at
an advanced stage.
Leeds controversial Italian owner
Massimo Cellino, who is currently
serving an English Football League
ban over tax evasion in Italy, on April
3 told the Yorkshire Evening Post that

Red Bull had made an undisclosed bid


to Eleonora Sport, which has a 97 percent stake in the Championship club.
There is an offer. I didnt know
about it, but I spoke just now with Giampaolo Caboni, one of the directors
of Eleonora Sport, Cellino told the
English newspaper.
He said Red Bull has made an offer for the club. The shareholders will
have to think about it. I dont know
what they will do.
Red Bull currently backs three
football clubs: Major League Soccer
side New York Red Bulls, German
second-division outfit RB Leipzig and
current Austrian champions Red Bull
Salzburg. AFP

IN PICTUREs

Photo: AFP

Indian students from Yuwa School football training teams The Talented Girls
and The Superstars take part in a practice session at a ground in Hesatu Village,
some 16 kilometres (10 miles) from Ranchi. The Yuwa NGO runs a school and
football program in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand offering education
and football coaching to girls from villages where they would be traditionally
expected to give up their education and get married at around the age of 15 or
16. Divided into teams whose names they chose themselves, the girls attend
class and training sessions in the mornings and afternoons as part of a program
that offers support, friendship and education to empower students to shape
their own futures.

Rugby Union

England flatten Blitzboks


to win Tokyo Sevens

ngland floored South


Africa 21-14 in a battle of
attrition to win the Tokyo
Sevens on April 6 and
take a significant step
toward qualifying for the 2016 Rio
Olympics.
Forward Phil Burgess charged the
length of the field to give England
a 14-point cushion in an absorbing
final before a late surge from the
Blitzboks came up just short in the
pouring rain.
Englands first sevens title in
two years lifted them above Australia into fourth place in the standings, with only the Glasgow and
London legs of the nine-stage tour
remaining.
The top four teams in the Sevens
World Series automatically qualify
for Brazil, where the sport will make
its Olympic debut.
South Africa lead the standings
with 129 points, ahead of Fiji on
125 and New Zealand, who have 120
points. England improved to 100
with Australia on 91 after their weekend fell flat.
Luckily I had enough in the
tank left, said Burgess after his
lung-bursting breakaway proved the
difference. When I looked around
there was nobody with me so I had to
get my head down. We caught them a
little off guard.
Fiji had to settle for third place as
their bid for a hat-trick of victories

South Africa (left) and England contest a line-out in the Tokyo final. Photo: AFP

fell short following success in Hong


Kong last week and in Las Vegas in
February.
The Pacific islanders squeaked
past a fired-up Canada 21-19 in a
nail-biter after the Canadians had
produced the shock of the weekend
by dumping out New Zealand in a
stunning 19-15 quarter-final win.
However, Canadas dream run

bravely led by inspirational captain


John Moonlight was ended by England 14-5 in the semi-finals.
The All Blacks had to console
themselves by winning the Plate after a 21-14 victory over Scotland, substitute Dylan Collier crashing over at
the buzzer.
Its not the trophy we wanted,
snapped New Zealand skipper DJ

Forbes. You got that right.


England showed true grit in the
grand finale, Charlie Hayter racing
over for a converted try before Justin
Geduld latched on to a clever chipthrough to level, leaving the game on
a knife edge at halftime.
England skipper Tom Mitchell
scored seconds after the restart before Burgesss herculean sprint from
under his own posts gave the side
breathing space. A Cecil Afrika try
made for a nervy finish but England
managed to hang on.
Its been a huge effort, said
Mitchell, who had come up big in
Englands 10-0 win over France in
the quarter-finals. South Africa are
an unbelievable team. We were always going to have to fight to the
death.
Australias miserable weekend
was completed in the Bowl final
when Perry Baker crashed down in
the corner to give the United States a
thrilling 17-12 extra-time victory.
Japans fairy tale was snuffed
out by Fiji, who battered the hosts
41-5 thanks to four tries from Josaia
Raisuqe. But the Brave Blossoms collected a priceless 10 points in their
battle to avoid dropping out of the
top-15 core teams.
Portugal upset Argentina to win
the Shield final 12-7 as their relegation dogfight with Japan looks set to
go down to the wire, their points advantage cut to just eight. AFP

Swimming

Hackett clinches
world relay spot
in comeback
Dual Olympic champion Grant
Hackett on April 5 capped one of the
great swimming comebacks earning a
spot in Australias team for the Kazan
world championships in July.
Needing a top-6six200m freestyle
finish to seal a place in the relay team,
Hackett finished fourth in 1 minute
46.84 seconds.
Hackett, 34, had claimed that making the team after just six months
training and a six-year layoff would
feel like winning an Olympic gold.
But his achievement meant so
much more after Hackett reflected
on how much he had turned his life
around in the past 12 months.
Hackett was immersed in a messy
divorce amid allegations that he
smashed up his Melbourne apartment.
If you had asked me 10 years ago if
the only thing that got me on the team
was on the relay it would be bitter disappointment, Hackett told reporters.
But right now, it is one of the biggest achievements of my life.
Hackett last year sought treatment
for sleeping pill addiction and underwent rehab in the United States.
Yet, his professional demons went
back as far as the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games where he was denied a record third straight 1500m gold medal
when he was out-touched by Tunisias
Oussama Mellouli.
I will be honest. I hated the sport
for a long time, Hackett said.
To discover a love for something
that has been such a big part of my life
is really pleasing now because I dont
walk away with that taste of Olympic
silver by a few hundredths of a second.
I can really enjoy the sport for
what it is now. AFP

Sport
28 THE MYANMAR TIMES April 7, 2015

SPORT EDITOR: Matt Roebuck | matt.d.roebuck@gmail.com

Time for Asia to find its way


to an Augusta Green?
SPORT 26

Myanmars youth show


mettle, win medals
SEPAK TAKRAW

Acrobatic skills on were display as IPSE (left) overcame the Ministry of Transportation in the U16 final. Photo: Matt Roebuck

Matt Roebuck
matt.d.roebuck@gmail.com

he final of Sepak Takraws


4TV Cup U16 finished in the
most dramatic way possible
with both sides requiring
just a single point for victory
and recognition as the top young players in this most exciting, athletic and
gymnastic of sports.
The elation of victory finally rested on the young representatives of
the Yangon Institute of Sports and
Physical Education (A) side who focused through the cheers, jeers and
screams that filled Yangons Thuwunna Indoor Stadium on April 5
to run out 25-24 victors in the third
and final set. Their vanquished opponents, played under the guise of
the Ministry of Transportation, but
all in reality hailed from the Mandalay Institute of Sports and Physical
Education.
Im so happy because this trophy
is the first of my career, said Hlwan
Moe Aung, captain of the winning
team after the game.
The boys from the north dominated the first set 11-21 before the slowto-start locals responded in even more
emphatic style and took the second set
21-6.
Service switches every three points
in regular play, and with the scores at
18-20 in the last, the Mandalay side

needed to break one of their opponents next two serves to return home
as champions. IPSE held their nerve
though and brought the game back to
20-20, at which stage a set must be decided on a difference of two points, up
to a ceiling of 25 points.
Now with the opportunity to put
themselves at an advantage before losing the serve back to the Ministry side,
IPSE faltered, albeit after a long rally
arguably the most thrilling point
played of the entire game. Both sides
both competed at the net on a number
of occasions and were forced into desperate lunges to defend the point and
offer themselves the upper-hand.
Now at 20-21, the Ministry held
their second match point and their
first with serve but IPSE again fought
back. And so it continued, until the
scores were at 22-22.
At this stage service alternates after
every point. IPSE had the first chance
to step ahead but were broken, only
to break back to 23-23 and then follow up with an ace. The Ministry then
held serve to bring the set, the match
and the whole competition down to a
single golden point.
Though the Yangon youths held
their nerve and the serve to win the
point, the steel and determination
shown by these youngsters hinted that
a bright future could lie ahead in a
sport where Myanmar sits on the cusp
of the international top tier.

Competing for the pride of the


countrys two largest cities, these players could well soon find themselves in
Nay Pyi Taw, training for future Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games or
the International Sepak Takraw Super
Series.
Ive played the game for about two
years now, said Hlwan Moe Aung. I
hope to continue and one day make
the national side.
Saw Min Tun, captain of the Mandalay side, holds the same dreams,
even though his time in the game only
amasses to nine months.
Sepak Takraw is second only to
football in terms of its popularity in
Myanmar, said U Kyaw Zin Moe, general secretary of the Myanmar Sepak
Takraw Federation, adding that the
purpose of the tournament that
they intend to hold annually was to
identify prospective talents for the national squad.
The sport sometimes better
known as kick volleyball can be
seen on roadsides across the country
but when played at this level it climbs
to another level in terms of flair. That
wow factor was in clear evidence at
the culmination to this tournament
that had 24 sides fight it out for victory
at the junior level and 58 senior sides
playing in the open event.
Only a couple hundred spectators
attended the final game, but made
enough noise during the thrilling fi-

nale that, if you had closed your eyes


on court, you might have imagined a
vociferous partisan capacity crowd.
Hopefully with improved promotion
of these events, the crowds might one
day match next months Lethwei event
at Thuwunna Indoor Stadium.
For their victory the A team
from the Yangon Institute of Sport
and Physical Education will share
K500,000. The Ministry of Transport
(A) team received K300,000. Thirdplace winners the Yangon Institute of
Sport and Physical Education (B) team
share K200,000 after they beat their

corresponding side from the Ministry


of Transport.
In the Open competition completed earlier in the day, the Ministry of
Transportation were dominant with
their A side collecting K700,000 and
the gold medal by defeating in the final the Ministry of Transportation (B)
team, who were awarded K500,000
with their silver.
In the third-place final Golden Islanders (B) outplayed the Ministry of
Home Affairs (C) to collect K300,000
for their troubles. Additional reporting by Kyaw Zin Hlaing.

4TV Sepak Takraw Cup 2015


OPEN Gold Medal Final
Ministry of
Transportation
(A)

25

23

21

13

Yangon Institute
Ministry
of
of Sport and
Transportation
Physical
(B)
Education (A)

OPEN Third-place Final


Golden
Islanders
(B)

21

14

21

15

U16 Gold Medal Final

Ministry
of Home
Affairs
(C)

11

21

21

25

24

Ministry
of
Transport
(A)

U16 Third-place Final


Yangon Institute
of Sport and
Physical
Education (B)

21

21

10

Ministry
of
Transport
(B)