Burma

New Chief Minister of Rangoon Looks to Improve Infrastructure

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 28 March 2016

RANGOON — Rangoon’s new chief minister said Monday he will focus on using local and foreign investment to ramp up the development of infrastructure in Burma’s commercial capital.

A lawmaker for Hlegu Township, Phyo Min Thein was appointed Chief Minister of Rangoon by the National League for Democracy (NLD) during a divisional parliament session on Monday. He was elected to the Union Parliament’s Lower House in Burma’s 2012 by-election and went on to serve as a member of that chamber’s banking and finance development committee. Last year, he set his sights on regional governance, successfully contesting his Hlegu Township seat at the divisional level.

Phyo Min Thein told reporters after Monday’s session that he would try to alleviate Rangoon’s problems regarding traffic congestion and the city’s flawed drainage system, as well as address challenges faced by foreign investors.

Nay Phone Latt, a Rangoon divisional lawmaker for Thingangyun Township, said he welcomes Phyo Min Thein as the new chief minister and supports his ambitions.

“Traffic jams in Rangoon should be a priority. He [Phyo Min Thein] should also look again at the previous government’s quick approval of the privatization of lands and buildings [in Rangoon]. The previous government hired or sold these lands and buildings over a short period of time. This should be checked,” Nay Phone Latt said.

“[Phyo Min Thein] should also talk with businessmen here about creating jobs for young people,” he added.

Naing Ngan Lin, a Thaketa Township lawmaker, echoed these sentiments.

“If [Phyo Min Thein] can improve the poor drainage system in Rangoon, that will also solve other problems, such as flooding, traffic jams due to flooding and litter [on the streets], and it would also help to improve people’s health,” Naing Ngan Lin said.

In a statement released on Monday, the Yangon Heritage Trust also said that it “looks forward” to working with the new regional administration.

The organization’s chairman, Thant Myint-U, said he is “confident that [Phyo Min Thein] will be a strong supporter of proper urban planning and conservation.”

With a population of more than five million people, Rangoon is the largest of Burma’s 14 divisions and states, and it is also the country’s historic and commercial capital.

The region’s former chief minister, Myint Swe, will serve as the military-appointed vice president in the new national administration in Naypyidaw, alongside President-elect Htin Kyaw and Vice President-elect Henry Van Thio of the NLD.

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