Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Myanmar: Why it's business and not just politics

It is hard to describe Yangon, especially with the majority of the men still going about their daily routines in longyi (or sarong), a lady remarked, with no malice at all. The sarongs look the same, or almost the same, to the outsider but some sarongs are made of silk and their wearers are chauffeur-driven in Lincolns and Lexus (which shocked some of us who thought Myanmar was the quintessential Socialist country) while the huge majority slog on for a measly few thousand kyats a day that the average citizen earns. This city of six million bustles with energy all day and all night. For us from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Yangon may seem or feel 30 years behind, but this city - and this country - are in a hurry to catch up. And like Ambassador to Malaysia said yesterday ahead of PM Najib Razak's visit, time and "Myanmar wait for no men".

We met groups of Malaysian businessmen who flew in to Yangon en route Naypyitaw four hours away by road, where the red carpet was rolled out for Najib. At a dinner with the sarong-wearing middle-aged businessmen at Park Royal last night, the conversations were on business opportunities instead of politics, even though the by-elections that would involve Aung San Suu Kyi are just days away. The Myanmar Times, the only English-language daily, highlights discrepancies in the election roll and of dead people allegedly remaining as voters (sound familiar?) but ask around and about everyone will tell you Suu Kyi will win in her polls hands down. The local businessmen know that Suu Kyi's victory will be good because it will bring in the foreign money (investments) .... 
(Reuters) - Western countries desperately want Myanmar's by-elections on Sunday to go smoothly - and give opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi a seat in parliament - so they can start to lift sanctions and let their companies invest in the once-isolated state .. [West waits on Myanmar vote to start sanctions scale-back]
They also know that what this really means is that these Western countries can't wait to come back into Myanmar and  partake in the country's rich resources, especially its oil. "Burmese aren't stupid," a local businessman said to me.


  1. Minglaba bro!

    Tell them to fix d traffic tunggal langgang terbalik system

  2. Anonymous1:53 am


    the western just want to cut the oil supply to china via the planned oil terminal and pipe line in myanmar to china while the junta just play along with both side.

    nothing else matter.

  3. Bro satD,

    Tong Sampaaa.. or something like that, which means "Selamat Makan".

    The traffic giler. Left hand drive but most cars on the road are Japanese! Most city cabs are not airconditioned so don't be surprised if you get a cabbie who prefers the singlet or even topless.

    I was told there is no such thing as motor insurance. And nobody wears seat belts.

  4. Anonymous2:51 am

    and there are no motorcyles roaming yangoon...the bikes are banned in the city :)


  5. it was right hand drive b4 d military took over lepas tu depa pi tukar mental giler kalu masuk roundabout. I freaked out giler mental that country...get those kain pelikats bro layan tapi for u need special size kut

  6. Anonymous8:51 am


    Good to see that you and other Malaysians sudah celek dengan Myanmar. I was in and out of Myanmar more than 10 years ago and nothing much changes through the years....

    Its nothing like going there yourself instead of hearing from others..

    Joe Black

  7. Anonymous9:00 am

    now you know even Myanmar is catching up.


  8. Jasper Bloodstone1:26 pm


    Is it true that the military-backed Myanmar government is willing to allow international observers to monitor the next elections?

    Did Tony Fernandes recently lead a delegation of Malaysian businesspeople to Myanmar recently, and did they come back enthusiastic about business opportunities there?

    Perhaps there will be an AirAsia Myanmar in the not-too-distant future to secure first-mover advantage!

  9. Anonymous2:44 pm


    There is no such thing as just business without taking into account the political stability of a country...

    Australia Publishes Annually a political risk ranking of countries in the world for the benefit of its business community wishing to invest overseas.

    Obviously some investors will still take a wait and see attitude to ensure that they are not caught going in too early..

    Remember those days when Mahathir encouraged our local companies to invest in China when the chinese counterparts were still in a cloud over how to handle foreign investors? Many local companies gulung tikar...including the big ones. Now China is THE PLACE to invest for some type of businesses.

    Joe Black

  10. Anonymous8:36 pm

    Ahh Umno bloggers preaching about democracy and business.....tak dapat contract ke?

  11. Anonymous10:24 pm

    Petronas has beem in myanmar for almost 20 years. Thanks to hassan marican

  12. Anonymous10:29 pm

    Learning curve for the Burmese...after seeing the assertivene of the Chinese population in her southern neighbour to befriend with Uncle Sam as security ticket...

    Salleh Telegu

  13. Anonymous10:47 pm

    Millitary Junta ka Syu Ki's democratic Govt. ka, yang control semua business maseh puak2 tu jugak la.
    Why? Because only they have the capital maa..
    Bru ..that NPT airport, is it an old airport or new one.
    Sometime back a big S'pore infra company,( Spore co.ok.. don't pray2..)JV with a local to build the airport and other Infras.
    A local with lots of money to launder..ooopss....

  14. Tepat sekali tindakan PM Najib.

    Myanmar secara relatif nya mempunyai penduduk yang majoriti bergenetik Melayu. Jering dan petai bukan asing untuk mereka. Juga buah pinang dan sireh. Amalan budaya kuno juga menampakkan susur galor mereka dari mana. Kita masih boleh lihat melayu myanmar beragama Islam yang begitu naif.

    Kehadhiran Malaysia boleh memberi impak ekonomi, sosial, perhidmatan dan perbankan. PM Najib kita di sambut dengan karpet merah tanda sahabat yang di hormati dan di percayai....

    (Siapa kah rakyat Malaysia yang di sambut dengan karpet merah di Amerika?)

  15. Who will not roll out a red carpet to welcome a visiting PM from any country.....Rocky?

  16. Anonymous3:58 pm

    For jasper darahbatu

    The Straits Times has sometimes been criticized as being the mouthpiece of the ruling party, the People's Action Party and lacks the freedom to criticize the government.

    The Newspaper and Printing Presses Act of 1974 requires all newspapers to be publicly listed into both ordinary and management shares, with management shares having 200 times the voting rights of ordinary shares and approval from the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts needed for any management share transfers. Past chairpersons of Singapore Press Holdings have been civil servants. SPH's former executive president Tjong Yik Min served as the head of the Internal Security Department from 1986 to 1993.

  17. Anonymous3:59 pm

    For jasper darahbatu part2

    A United States diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks[3] quotes Chua Chin Hon, the Straits Times' U.S. bureau chief, saying that the paper's "editors have all been GROOMED as pro-government supporters and are careful to ensure that reporting of local events adheres closely to the official line", and that "the government EXERTS significant pressure on ST editors to ensure that published articles follow the government's line".[4]

  18. Anonymous10:35 am

    he western just want to cut the oil supply to china via the planned oil terminal

    sombong itu confidence..

    sombong atau confidence?

    condom is for sailor!

    elton need it!

    newayg urgiopl irpho eningl tconab nutly

  19. Anonymous3:52 am


    "Burmese aren't stupid," ha ha

    Only some nerd financial and accountant freak failed to see how the real business world works.

    Even the burger stall guys knows it.

  20. Anonymous5:11 am

    Learn how to ‘read’ and not just ‘count’.

  21. Jasper Bloodstone2:08 pm


    "....that crippled post-Suharto Indonesia"?


    Funny that the same Indonesia got itself a credit rating upgrade, keeps it's budget deficit below 3% of GDP, has the gumption to propose reductions in fuel subsidies (though backing down in the face of populist rage) etc.

    Plus dumping on Malaysia every chance they get. Big abang, eh?

  22. Anonymous2:11 pm


    Najib should not worry about Myanmar but instead worry about UMNO!

    Team B in UMNO is using Kamilah as their Spearhead now challenging Najib's decision on Shahrizat!!

    Najib better come back before he loses his pants in UMNO!!

  23. Jasper Bloodstone2:26 pm

    Oh, my - are we still on this "money laundering thingy"?

    I have assiduously trawled the US State Dept website, but have not unearthed any concrete, explicit accusations against "a jurisdiction south of the Tebrau" (or did you mean to write "south of the Causeway"?).

    In fact, Hillary Clinton and her staff have been saying nice things about this particular "jurisdiction", as has been US Treasury Secretary Geithner and US Defence Secretary Panetta, with nary a mention of money laundering, terrorist financing and other unmentionables.

    One would think that the various US government agencies would have blown the whistle on this alleged miscreant by now.

    Yet when ministers from this "jurisdiction" visit the US, they get to meet key members of the US administration (Clinton, the 2 Bushes, Obama) plus assorted worthies from the US House of Representatives and Senate), CEOs of US MNCs etc and have access to high-level intelligence briefings.

    Not exactly the treatment that Uncle Sam would accord a "rogue" jurisdiction, is it?

  24. Anonymous12:54 am

    About anon 2.26pm

    Only delusional idiots like you would deny the obvious. Since the list Warrior 231 linked us to, is pretty clear, only uneducated idiots like you would deny that.

    But no denial will make it go away, get it arsehole.

    1. Jasper Bloodstone3:02 pm

      Who is being delusional, eh?

      In the real world, we see US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta meeting Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen earlier this week in Washington D.C., where both countries highlighted their close defence ties and bilateral military cooperation.

      It seems to me, following the warrior's thesis, that the left and right hands of the US administration are not in sync with regard to Singapore.

      How else can you explain away the fact that a senior member of the US administration had a cordial meeting with a minister from an alleged illegal funds repository/tax haven/money laundering centre without a peep of protest from US politicians and media or from the US Treasury Department?

      Or the fact that the same administration (and it's predecessors) have allowed the said repository/haven to maintain and actively operate 4 military training detachments in the continental US? Is the administration blind, deaf and dumb?

      See, these are the little secrets of realpolitik that the warrior doesn't want you to know, because they demolish all his carefully constructed conspiracy theories.

  25. Anonymous1:17 am

    About anon 2.26pm

    Only delusional idiots like you would deny the obvious. Since the list Warrior 231 linked us to, is pretty clear, only uneducated idiots like you would deny that.

    But no denial will make it go away, get it arsehole.

  26. Anonymous1:19 am

    anon 2.26pm

    blahblahblah and more blah...baik belah ajelah muka tak tahu malu....

    W231 time to ignore this crackpot. Way to go, man!

  27. Anonymous3:36 am

    Part 1

    You purposely don't want get it or you are a plain stupid, psychotic, deluded hardcore incurable mental case. I reckon it is the latter going by your crackpot rants here which by the way is getting pretty pathetic, tiresome and absurd by the day.

    You don't seem to understand what is a criminal act, what is don't even understand FTA frameworks or AMLA, FATCA etc financial architecture cross-border why should I care?

    The fact is when Spore is on a discredited white list like the OECD crap, you go gaga like a blithering idiot, but put Spore on a BLACKLIST, u go ballistic like a lunatic. Why bother about the WHITE LIST when you wanna deny the BLACKLIST. And you don't have to teach the US about knowing what their upper limbs are doing for they know that perfectly well without you haranguing them, MADMAN!

    Go on write to the US TREASURY and STATE DEPARTMENT and upbraid them about their incompetence if you dare and do the same to Indonesia for being "crazy" to stoke a diplomatic row over the unratified extradition thingy plus send a warning letter to the Indian CBI chief for saying bad things about Spore behind Manmohan's back. Why not u also dash off a missive to Singapore Press Holdings, the owner of the AsiaOne news portal for carrying Vijaya' s story on Myanmar which contained explicit references to Singapore's money laundering plus sue ANDY XIE if you have still have quarter of a brain left.

    Warrior 231

  28. Anonymous3:44 am

    NOTHING you say or do is gonna change the truth about your pig yard. If for argument's sake , we suspend reality and adopt your deluded, irrational line of thought, then the US should have severed ties with SWITZERLAND over this:

    As you can see the US dint for realpolitik reasons as both reports amply states. So quit throwing your hocus pocus here for a change. Singapore are on a BLACKLIST and they must be shitting bricks figuring out what the Yanks are up to next after inducting them into that STATE DEPARTMENT, TREASURY RATIFIED BLACKLIST. In fact, Spore gets some deserved unsavory mentions here:

    Tell Harry and gang , when u next cocksuckle and arselick them, to keep looking over their shoulder as the Swiss are finding out a wee bit too late that the Yanks are relentless in the hunt:

    and they are getting closer by the day:

    Warrior 231

  29. Anonymous3:56 am

    Part 3

    Dei fuckhead JB
    Remember, two months ago, i wrote that Spore is staring into the abyss based on confidential info and you stupidly made fun of it. Well.......thats about to unfold, via this illicit saga and Spain's banking system's petrified screams for help is gonna exacerbate things as Euro capital runs home in panic to answer the senora/damsel in distress while poor Spore crumbles like a fortune cookie into the dustheap of history under the weight of its exposure to the Eurozone.....Hahahahaha

    Now quit ranting like a MADARSE here and go sign a reality check to cash out any leftover sanity from your rusty vault upstairs. And make sure u get lost and stay outta my sight for I ain't got the time to dignify a deluded, demented, brain cuckolded crackpot of a stray Chingkie pig's psychotically inchoate and illogical oinking.

    Warrior 231

    P/s : shit! now I got to find time to train my guns on another useless fucking SOB for introducing an utterly useless , abnormally deformed and legally inchoate S.O.B in place of a perfectly normal ISA. Blardy shit!