Rangoon expansion plan brought before regional parliament

Rangoon expansion plan brought before regional parliament

A controversial urban expansion plan for Burma’s former capital, Rangoon, was brought before an emergency session of the regional parliament on Monday.

Presented by Rangoon Mayor Hla Myint on behalf of the region’s Chief Minister Myint Swe, the proposal would affect three township along the west bank of the Hlaing River.

Regional parliamentarians have repeatedly asked the mayor and other stakeholders to slow down, claiming that they have been left out of what appears to be a shady business deal.

The expansion plan was revealed to the regional parliament in August, as Hla Myint announced that the development will be implemented in partnership with a previously unknown company, Myanma Saytanar Myothit Company.

Little is known about the company, which was formed in late 2013. The mayor said that the company was chosen “because it is financially strong”, according to The Irrawaddy.

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Investigative reports have concluded that the company may be owned by Chinese businessmen with close ties to Myint Swe.

Hla Myint promised during Monday’s remarks that the regional government will begin a tender process for the project in response to accusations of nepotism and complaints about lack of transparency.

Project costs have been estimated at around US$8 billion. The development is meant to extend Rangoon’s city limits over 30,000 acres of land that are now mostly used for farming in Kyimyindaing, Tontay and Seikgyi Kanaungto townships.

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