Boycott Launched of Food Manufacturer Owned by Pro-Myanmar Junta Politician
By The Irrawaddy 27 September 2022
Phaung Sein Food, which is owned by a pro-Myanmar military political party’s leader and her daughter, is the latest business to be targeted by a boycott campaign by anti-regime activists.
Activist Zin Thaw Naing called on Facebook on Monday for a boycott, saying owner Nang Shwe Kyar backed the military coup and has supported the junta since the February 2021 takeover.
Other activists and social media pages have since joined the calls for a boycott.
Within hours internet users and online shops, including one in Japan, said they would boycott Phaung Sein.
A Mon State firm posted that it would stop selling the products now it knew about the junta links.
Nang Shwe Kyar chairs the Wunthanu Democratic Party, an ally of the military proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
She was one of the 34 political party leaders who met then Senior General Min Aung Hlaing ahead of the 2020 general election and pledged to back the military “if things have gone wrong in the election”.
Three months after the election, Min Aung Hlaing staged a coup and later canceled the election results. He justified the coup by quoting heavily defeated, pro-military parties’ claims that the election was fraudulent.
Wunthanu, which failed to win a seat, issued a statement saying that the election was not free and fair and called for a postponement in convening the new parliament. The newly elected parliament was dissolved by the coup hours before convening on February 1, 2021.
Nang Shwe Kyar’s party co-signed USDP statements condemning the civilian government led by the National League for Democracy (NLD) and subsequent statements supporting the coup.
In September last year, her name appeared on a USDP declaration urging the United Nations not to approve U Kyaw Moe Tun as the civilian National Unity Government’s UN ambassador.
She later denied signing the declaration and claimed she was exploited. A USDP spokesman insisted she signed the joint statement. Her support for the military is undeniable because of her public comments since the 2010 general election.
Wunthanu is co-chaired by her husband U Ye Min. The party attended a meeting with the junta’s Union Election Commission in May last year on “voting irregularities” and for next year’s planned election with 58 political parties. The meeting was shunned by key parties, including the NLD.
Based in Mandalay, Phaung Sein sells food domestically and internationally and has become successful since the coup after some celebrities promoted it.
Ma Nu Wai Kyaw, Nang Shwe Kyar’s daughter, told online media groups that the firm was successfully exporting to the United States, Japan, Singapore and other countries.