A regional hluttaw MP is in hot water over a land dispute in the Ayeyarwady delta. Two farmers who say they lost 16 acres to Union Solidarity and Development Party MP U Nyein Myaing have sent a complaint letter to President U Thein Sein, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann and the region’s chief minister.

The dispute erupted on January 6 when the land in Pantanaw township was allocated to U Nyein Myaing for a fish farming project, according to the complaint letter. It said many farmers had lost land to his business but they were too afraid to complain.

“They told me that this project was permitted by the regional government but they couldn’t show me any paperwork,” said Daw Ohn Htay, one of the farmers who sent the complaint letter.

Ko Thu Zaw, a local activist assisting Daw Ohn Htay and the other complainant, said U Nyein Myaing had been involved in many land disputes prior to the 2010 election. Meanwhile, U Tin Win, the chairman of the township farmers and fishermen union for Pantanaw, said about 700 farmers protested last year because they had lost their land to U Nyein Myaing. The dispute was eventually solved through negotiation with the regional government, he said.

“The farmers don’t have land for their livelihood. They have no education so if they lose the right to run their farms their lives are broken. I think there will be many problems unless this situation is resolved,” U Tin Win said.

However, U Nyein Myaing denied the accusations he had taken the land from the farmers and warned he would press charges against those who trespass on his new holdings.

“They don’t own this land. It is vacant land. The [Ayeyarwady Region] chief minister has given me 34 acres to use … But the farmers trespass on my land do I’ll have to sue them.

“I’ve got all the paperwork. The land was held previously by Yuzana company and they distributed it to us because they couldn’t use it.

“They can complain to anyone but I am right. If they can show any evidence [of ownership] I’ll give land to them free of charge.”

Link: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/9555-mp-under-fire-for-land-confiscations.html