MANDALAY — Government Office Minister and national security adviser U Thaung Tun has been appointed chairman of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).
Wednesday’s announcement of the appointment by DICA followed last month’s resignation of Planning and Finance Minister U Kyaw Win, who also chaired the investment body and is under investigation for bribery by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
DICA, a government agency under the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, manages company registration for both local and foreign businesses. As secretary to the Myanmar Investment Commission, it also processes investment applications.
U Thaung Tun, its new chairman, served as ambassador to the Philippines, Belgium, the Netherlands and the EU and as director-general for political affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the former military regime.
During that time, he was widely criticized by the opposition for warning Daw Aung San Suu Kyi — then under house arrest — that she “must not rock the boat” after she said she would boycott the military regime’s controversial constitution convention at a 2006 press conference in Manila.
In 2016 he worked as a government relations adviser for Shell Myanmar Energy PTE.
He was appointed national security adviser in January 2017 and government office minister that November. The appointments were criticized by former lawmaker U Soe Thane, who was president’s office minister under President U Thein Sein.
U Soe Thane reportedly said that U Thaung Tun had failed to disclose his previous work for the George Soros Foundation. He said U Thaung Tun had been a consultant for the foundation and that his appointment as national security adviser could hurt Myanmar’s relations with China.
The former lawmaker also reportedly said that George Soros approached him to secure a ministerial appointment for U Thaung Tun, but U Thein Sein rejected the idea because George Soros was American.
On Saturday, speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, U Thaung Tun said Myanmar was willing to take back all the refugees who fled last year’s violence in Rakhine for Bangladesh who volunteered.