Ex-Rangoon mayor offers help to farmers

Farmers in Rangoon’s Dagon Port township have been met by officials from the People’s Parliament’s Reforms and Modernisation Scrutiny Committee, after they complained about their land being confiscated, the head of the committee promised to help find a solution to their problem.

In April this year, Kaung Myanmar Association Group of Companies began laying out red flags on over 200 acres of farmland in Dagon Port township, which belonged to some 40 local farmers, a signal that the land was being confiscated, to build a sculpture village.

On August 29, about 20 of the farmers went to the Parliament’s Office in the new capital Naypyidaw and submitted a complaint letter regarding the case.

On September 3, former Rangoon mayor Aung Thein Linn, now chairman of the People’s Parliament Reforms and Modernisation Scrutiny Committee arrived in the township and met with over 300 local farmers at a monastery in Nyaungpin village, and promised to help find a solution to their problem.

Myint Aung, one of the farmers who met with Aung Thein Linn said the committee chairman told them the government had not been involved in the land confiscation and it was solely carried out by the company;

“[Aung Thein Linn] said the land confiscation was not by the government but by private companies who got greedy and that his committee would follow up with the case and help find a convenient solution,” said Myint Aung.

Lawyer Pho Phyu, known for assisting farmers in land confiscation cases praised the parliament officials because they appeared attentive to farmers’ problems and for meeting them in person;

“It’s a very good deed by parliament representatives to help civilians with their problems and we will wait and see if they would keep their promises. We will also provide assistance at what we can and push the government when it’s necessary,” said Pho Phyu.

He said over 10,000 acres of farmlands in Rangoon’s Dagon Port, South Dagon and East Dagon township were being confiscated by 14 private companies, threatening livelihood of some 10,000 families.

He said USDP members are now making a list of the land being confiscated from farmers.

Aung Thein Lin however comes with question marks, a recently leaked wikileak cable suggests that he was given his former job by the senior general as a reward because the potential for kick backs was so great as the mayor of the largest city in the country.

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