Interviews


In 2015, Burma’s former quasi-civilian government announced that the country had received more than 4 million visitors; however, industry observer Sabei Aung, chairwoman of Nature Dream Travel and Tours, criticized the statistics as misleading. The Irrawaddy spoke with Sabei Aung about her take on the current state of the travel industry.

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The Arakan Army (AA) was formed in 2009 in the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) stronghold of Laiza, on Myanmar’s northern border with China, where the Arakan ethnic rebels received training and arms.

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In Myanmar, thousands of families earn a living farming the crop that feeds the heroin habit of the world’s drug users. But not all of the country’s opium is smuggled abroad.

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Nai Thet Lwin, 75, is Myanmar’s new minister for ethnic affairs. He heads a ministry recently created by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to take in hand the local insurgencies that have bedeviled the country since independence from Britain in early 1948.

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Pe Myint, 67, Myanmar’s new minister of information, hails from Rakhine state in the northwest of the country. A doctor by training, he has written 50 books of fiction and non-fiction about the country, and translated the works of others from English — none of which got him into trouble with the authorities. He received journalism training from the Bangkok-based Indochina Media Memorial Foundation in the 1990s, and was appointed to his challenging new position by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s effective prime minister. On April 1, she instructed all her ministers to prepare 100-day plans. None has yet begun to be implemented, and exact synchronization looks unlikely. An important part of Minister Pe Myint’s brief is introducing the citizens of Myanmar to some unfamiliar concepts, including freedom of speech and information, and responsive government. The minister recently talked exclusively to the Nikkei Asian Review.

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Dominik Stillhart is director of operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross, based in Geneva. During a weeklong visit to Myanmar that began on May 19, he visited sites in Kachin and northern Shan states where the ICRC is providing assistance to internally displaced people and also met Ministry of Home Affairs officials in Nay Pyi Taw. He spoke to Frontier at the ICRC’s Yangon office.

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U Kyaw Hla Aung, a renowned Rohingya leader, worked for decades as a clerk at Rakhine State Court, later becoming a lawyer. In the 1980s, he was debarred and imprisoned due to the military governments’ repressive policies towards the Muslim minority. He has now been jailed four times as a political prisoner; including two stints following the 2012 inter-communal violence.

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Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s State Counsellor and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), has pledged to hold a national conference later this year that would follow in the footsteps of the historic Panglong conference attended by her father General Aung San and representatives of Burma’s ethnic groups.

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In an exclusive interview, Ambassador of France Mr Olivier Richard sat down with Mizzima Editor-in-Chief Soe Myint to discuss his country’s relationship with Myanmar and his hope for expanding business, trade and cultural ties.

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Veteran actor and scriptwriter Aye Kyu Lay is vice-president of the Myanmar Motion Picture Organisation, a non-profit organisation that supports Burma’s film industry. In this interview with DVB, he discusses piracy, censorship, the decline of cinemas, and other issues affecting an industry that is just beginning to come to terms with Burma’s greater openness in the wake of recent reforms.

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Daw Yin Myo Suu was born and raised in Nyaung Shwe, on the edge of Inle Lake. She is managing director of Inle Princess Resort and founder of the Inthar Heritage House, both of which promote the customs and traditions of the Inthar people, who live on and around the lake. She spoke to Frontier about her approach to business and what can be done to help save one of the country’s most iconic natural sites.

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During a press conference at the US Embassy today in Yangon, US Ambassador Mr Scot Marcel discussed the intentions behind Washington’s decision announced this week to ease US sanctions on Myanmar.

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In an interview with Mizzima, Ms Verity Lomax, CEO of the Australian-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce, discusses Australian company interest in Myanmar, responsible investment, and women in business.

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Some 400 nationalists gathered in Mandalay on Friday to demand that the government officially denounce, within three days, the US Embassy’s use of the term “Rohingya.”
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The Kokang minority of northern Shan State are ethnically Chinese but citizens of Burma who, like many other minorities, have long suffered from instability, conflict and illicit drug trade in the region.
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Last month Tint San, the former CEO of the now defunct Unity Journal, was among hundreds of prisoners released under a presidential pardon. He and four editors and reporters from his publication had been sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labour for reporting in 2014 on an alleged chemical-weapons factory operated by Burma’s armed forces, the Tatmadaw. He recently spoke with DVB about his views on media relations with the current government and how journalists should approach reporting on military matters.
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Arakan National Party lower house MP Pe Than sat down to talk to DVB about what we can expect to be discussed in the next sitting of parliament. Pe Than has been in parliament for two consecutive terms.

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Nay Phone Latt is a well-known freedom of speech advocate, blogger and former political prisoner, who joined the National League for Democracy (NLD) ahead of last year’s election.
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Nay Phone Latt is a well-known freedom of speech advocate, blogger and former political prisoner, who joined the National League for Democracy (NLD) ahead of last year’s election.

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Yangon’s new chief minister U Phyo Min Thein has vowed to scrub the city of corruption and install a graft-free administration. The appointment of the former Pyithu Hluttaw MP from the National League for Democracy was protested by rivals who accused him of election fraud.
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