In an encouraging example of pragmatism and inter-communal cooperation in Rakhine State, Buddhist and Muslim businesspeople have agreed to work together to develop the Ka Nyin Chaung industrial zone on the outskirts of Maungdaw Township.

The chair of the Maungdaw Trade Association, U Aung Myint Thein, told Mizzima on May 11 that the agreement had been reached at a meeting of 15 leaders of the two communities on May 9.

U Aung Myint Thein said the agreement had come during talks on proposals to build textile factories and cold storage warehouses at the meeting, which was also attended by Union and State cabinet ministers and the ambassadors of Norway, Switzerland and the European Union.

“Businesspeople communicate with each other for the benefit of their businesses,” said U Aung Myint Thein.

“We believe that regional economic development has a role in contributing to the settlement of local conflict between these two groups, although the government must also focus on improving regional security,” he said.

U Abutahay, a leader of the Muslim business community in Maungdaw, told Mizzima that government officials had proposed that the project be implemented next year.

“These are the first baby steps towards job creation programs; we have many more to go,” U Abutahay said.

In June 2012, Maungdaw was the initial flashpoint of communal violence in the state which has claimed about 200 lives, displaced about 140,000 people and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Link: http://mizzima.com/mizzima-news/myanmar/item/11174-buddhists-muslims-to-co-operate-for-development-in-maugdaw