See More on Facebook

Economics

Aung San Suu Kyi wants foreign investment amid international pressure

Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi wants the world to see her country as a business and investment opportunity waiting to be seized.


Written by

Updated: +00

Suu Kyi made the pitch that Myanmar is “the last frontier of Southeast Asia” in a keynote speech at the Asean Business and Investment Summit, on the sidelines of the main Asean Summit, which will be held from Monday to Thursday in Singapore.

Suu Kyi acknowledged that Myanmar very behind in this respect, saying “this may sound old hat to you, but it’s very very new to us. We want you to know we are catching up with the rest of the world.”

There is certainly a long way for Myanmar to go.

Just weeks ago, in late October, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report, an index that evaluates “the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it” placed Myanmar 171st out of 190 countries.

Myanmar’s rank on this list placed it behind nearly every other country in Asia, and dead last when it comes to its Asean neighbors.

While the World Bank report did commend Myanmar for a few steps taken to improve its business ecosystem—a reduction of the registration fee, as well as improved the monitoring of data on the country’s frequent power outages—the report does not exactly inspire confidence in Myanmar’s readiness for investment.

And, then there is the obvious issue of the optics of doing business in a country where accusations of ethnic cleansing hang in the air.

On Monday, the latest blow against Suu Kyi’s international reputation came as Amnesty International announced they would be stripping her of the organization’s highest honor, the Ambassador of Conscience Award. This the most recent in a string of awards the country’s de facto leader has lost.

As Myanmar slips further into international pariah territory, Suu Kyi’s pitch for investment likely isn’t aimed at American or European firms, but rather from within Asia itself, and indeed investments from Asean members make up as much as 45 percent of the country’s total investments. That figure is in large part related to the body’s longstanding policy of non-interference in one another’s domestic issues.

But, there’s some indication Myanmar’s standing within Asean isn’t ironclad and at least one Asean head of state has refused to remain silent about Myanmar’s domestic politics. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has long been an outspoken critic of Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya population, even going so far as to say that the country deserves to be expelled from Asean back in 2015.

More recently, Mahathir announced in early October that Malaysia will no longer lend its support to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi over her handling of the Rohingya crisis.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Quinn Libson
About the Author: Quinn Libson is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Economics

Vietnam to be among world’s most dynamic markets by 2030

The country has reached amazing levels of progress in the last two decades. With an emerging market economy and continued strong growth, Vietnam is set to become one of the most dynamic markets in the world by 2030, according to Euromonitor International, a global market research company. An Hodgson, Euromonitor International’s income and expenditure research manager, said the company’s research database showed that urbanisation, with the associated concentration of income, wealth and population, would propel Việt Nam’s commercial success by 2030. Published last month, the research database has found that Vietnam will be the third biggest urban market by consumer numbers and fifth biggest by total spending in Southeast Asia. By 2030, the country’s urban consumer market will expand to 46 million consumers and $169 billion worth of spending. GDP growth is expected to rea


By Viet Nam News
June 13, 2019

Economics

Li pledges to improve business climate

Li Keqiang says China taking steps to open up economy to foreign businesses Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed China’s commitment to improving its business environment by deepening reforms to streamline administration and carrying out large-scale tax cuts and fee reductions. Li said in a meeting on Tuesday with World Bank President David Malpass that the country will bring its business environment more in line with market principles, international standards and the rule of law as part of efforts to promote high-quality development. He noted China’s cooperation with the World Bank, which is in keeping with its steps in reform and opening-up and benefited the country’s growth. The global landscape is complex and fluid, and the Chinese economy is facing various risks and challenges, he said. Further cooperation between China and the World Bank will help promote poverty reduction, narrow


By China Daily
June 12, 2019

Economics

Restrictions on Chinese firms could drive up 5G cost

China is increasing pressure on consumers in a bid to end restriction on its major tech firms. Europe would have to pay an extra 55 billion euros ($62 billion) for 5G networks and suffer an 18-month technology delay if it bans telecom equipment purchases from top Chinese manufacturers, according to an industrial report. The report by the GSM Association, which represents 750 mobile operators worldwide, said Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, the non-Chinese contenders in the 5G market, do not have the capacity to handle all of the shift from 3G and 4G networks to 5G in Europe while honoring contracts already signed in North America and Asia. Huawei and ZTE account for about 40 percent of the EU market, and Huawei is “currently a pioneer in 5G technology”, according to the GSM analysis, first reported by Reuters and Agence France-Presse on Friday. “A ban on Chinese v


By China Daily
June 11, 2019

Economics

Malaysia finds mass influx of undocumented workers from Bangladesh

5,272 undocumented Bangladeshis held in Malaysia in 5 months. Malaysian immigration department has detained 5,272 Bangladeshi workers among other nationals between January 1 to June 4 this year amid the country’s stringent actions against undocumented foreign workers. During this time, the immigration department carried out 7,940 operations nationwide, involving checks on over 100,000 foreigners and took actions against 23,295 undocumented foreign workers, reports Malaysian newspaper Free Malaysia Today, quoting a statement by Malaysian Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Sunday. Of those detained, 8,011 are Indonesians, 5,272 are Bangladeshis, and the rest include workers from Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand, the report read. “In the five months between January 1 and June 1, 2019, some 26,116 illegal immigrants were sent back to their respective countries,” the statement said. The n


By The Star
June 11, 2019

Economics

Pakistan not hitting economic growth targets.

Agricultural, industrial growth registers sharp slowdown in Pakistan. The economy grew at an average rate of 3.29 per cent (provisional) in fiscal year 2018-19 against an ambitious target of 6.2pc set in last year’s budget, the Pakistan Economic Survey revealed on Monday. Sector-wise growth rates: Agriculture: 0.85 per cent (against target of 3.8pc) Industry: 1.4pc (against target of 7.6pc) Services 4.7pc (against target of 6.5pc) Revenue collection Total revenue at Rs3,583.7bn (9.3pc of GDP) showed almost 0pc growth from July-March 2019, while growth in total expenditures was 8.7pc. The fiscal deficit was recorded at 5pc of the GDP compared to 4.3pc in the corresponding period last fiscal. “Decelerated


By Dawn
June 11, 2019

Economics

Investors still have confidence in China’s economy

An op-ed from China Daily arguing that the trade war has not dampened the country’s economic prospect. Wealthy Chinese and other Asian investors are near the top of the league tables for economic optimism worldwide. That makes sense because growth in Asia has outpaced that in the rest of the world for the past 20 years. But it does seem to overlook the intensifying US-China trade dispute, which has weighed on markets and economic activity and which ranks as the top worry for the same wealthy Asian investors who participated in a new UBS study. At first glance, it also flies in the face of the fact that wealthy Asian investors are holding large sums of their portfolios in cash, a clear sign they’d keep what they’ve got rather than put it to work-and at risk. What explains this possible contradiction? On second glance, the investors surveyed in the UBS Investor Sentiment report di


By China Daily
June 10, 2019