Interviews


The Yoma Strategic Holdings conglomerate has cultivated an enormous portfolio of real estate, agriculture, tourism, banking, automotive and retail businesses in Burma over the last two decades. As of December this year, the company’s market capitalization was US$692 million, and it ranks in the top five percent of Singapore Exchange-listed companies on the 2014 Governance and Transparency Index. Yoma recently secured a $100 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for infrastructure development projects in Burma. (more…)

Former Minister of Information U Aung Kyi was allowed to resign in late July, along with then Health Minister, Dr Pe Thet Khin. The shake-up followed a major cabinet reshuffle a month earlier and sparked speculation about differences between U Aung Kyi and President U Thein Sein over media policies. Before heading the Ministry of Information, U Aung Kyi was Minister of Labour and he also served as the military government’s official liaison with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi when she was under house arrest. (more…)

On Dec. 27, elections will be held in Rangoon Division to determine who will fill four new seats created on the Rangoon Divisional Municipal Committee, the highest body governing the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC). The latter runs the day-to-day affairs in Rangoon, Burma’s biggest city and commercial capital. (more…)

Coca-Cola was one of the first American companies to invest in Myanmar after US sanctions were relaxed in 2012. The production and marketing of its well-known softdrink started in June 2013 and led to the global market leader sliding into pole position in Myanmar as well. Mizzima’s Hans Hulst spoke with Coca-Cola Myanmar general manager Rehan Khan about the challenges of producing and marketing fizzy drinks in a frontier market. (more…)

The widow of slain journalist Aung Kyaw Naing is unconvinced by a report by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) concluding that her late husband was not tortured by the Burma Army before being shot dead in its custody. (more…)

In early 2014, May Myat Mon Win became the general manager of the Chatrium Hotel Royal in Rangoon, making her Burma’s first female head of a five-star hotel.

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A report released earlier this month by Harvard University’s International Human Rights Clinic lays out damning allegations accusing three senior Burmese generals of war crimes and crimes against humanity.The three men, including current Home Affairs Minister Lt-Gen Ko Ko, still hold senior positions in Burma’s quasi-civilian government, prompting questions from some quarters about President Thein Sein’s reformist credentials.

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Tea leaf entrepreneur stays true to his roots (more…)

Myanmar’s nascent IT sector is quietly gaining traction – and attention – as internet access and connectivity improve across the country. Yet some see this growth coming at a price: that of personal freedom, as a result of the companies that sell software and those that hold users’ data. One such critic is Richard Stallman, 61. (more…)

The Union Parliament passed the National Education Law on Sep 30, amidst strident opposition from student unions and education professionals. (more…)

Burma’s emerging renewable energy sector is still undeveloped and lacking in government support, while about 65 percent of the country’s rural population is living outside of the national power grid. Many isolated communities meet their own energy needs with independently provided biomass, solar projects and small-scale hydropower. Often this assistance is supplied by non-governmental organizations focused on sustainable rural development, not from state institutions. (more…)

On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama arrives in Burma for his second diplomatic visit in as many years. In advance of the Asean and East Asia summits in Naypyidaw, Obama answered questions from The Irrawaddy correspondent Lalit K Jha about his visit, the reforms of the past three years and the future of Burma’s democratic transition. (more…)

On Wednesday and Thursday, Burma will host the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit and the East Asia Summit in the capital Naypyidaw. Top leaders from across Asia will attend, as will US President Obama and Russian Prime Minister Medvedev. (more…)

Import restrictions under the previous military government ensured car prices in Myanmar were among the highest in the world. Now, under the current quasi-civilian government which took power in 2011, restrictions have eased and car prices have fallen dramatically. Legislation has, however, often been less than clear, as car import policies have been frequently changed. The Irrawaddy’s Kyaw Hsu Mon spoke with Soe Tun, director of Farmer Auto Showroom and a member of the Automobile Dealers Association, on the state of the country’s car industry. (more…)

Obama will attend the East Asia Summit and the US-ASEAN Summit in Naypyidaw, where he will meet with Myanmar’s President Thein Sein. He is also scheduled to meet opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi later in the week. The visit is part of the US president’s six-day trip to Asia-Pacific, which includes stops in China and Australia. (more…)

Mizzima News
‘Census data can empower all communities’ – Hans Hulst

Myanmar’s first census in more than 30 years, which took place from March 30 to April 10, was not without criticism but occurred relatively without major incident. The United Nations Population Fund had the responsibility of providing technical assistance to the government for the population count. The first batch of provisional results was released in August and the complete details are due to come out in May 2015. Mizzima Weekly’s Hans Hulst sat down with the UNFPA’s country representative, Janet Jackson, for a wide-ranging interview that covered the census process and the challenges ahead. (more…)

John Sifton is the Asia Division Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), based in Washington DC. He has covered South and South East Asia for HRW since 2001, and conducts advocacy with the White House, State Department, Congress and the Pentagon.

As an activist U Robert Sann Aung has seen many jails from the inside. His opposition to the former military regime landed him ten years in the “black house”. He began practising law in 1981 but his licence was revoked in 1993 and it was another nineteen years, until July 9, 2012, before he was allowed to practise again. U Robert Sann Aung has since appeared in more than 60 cases, most of which have been political, with the most prominent being the case against four journalists and the chief executive officer of Unity Journal. (more…)

A group of politically minded women in Mon State recently formed a party to contest the general elections in 2015, with the express goal of securing more seats for women in both houses of Burma’s Parliament. The Women’s Party applied to the Union Election Commission (UEC) in Naypyidaw on 14 Oct. to register as a political party. (more…)

The exiled Burmese activist Aung Din recently returned to his native country for the first time in 16 years. Many formerly exiled activists have returned since President Thein Sein’s government began introducing political reforms in 2011. (more…)

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