Burma

New Tanintharyi Chief Minister Pledges to Tackle Power, Land Issues

By Zue Zue 26 March 2019

YANGON—The new Tanintharyi Region chief minister has vowed to address power shortages and land disputes in the region.

As he took the oath of office as the region’s new chief minister on Monday, U Myint Maung promised “to return to local farmers the farmland that private companies have left idle, for the development of the entire region.”

On Friday, the Tanintharyi regional parliament approved U Myint Maung, who previously served as the minister of natural resources and environmental conservation, as the new chief minister, replacing Daw Lei Lei Maw, who was arrested on corruption charges earlier this month.

U Myint Maung also promised to ensure fair power rates in Tanintharyi, where electricity is mainly supplied by private suppliers, making it expensive.

The government’s anti-graft body found that the Global Grand Services company, whose directors were arrested along with Daw Lei Lei Maw on corruption charges, broke a contract with the regional government and owes 8 billion kyats (US$5.2 million) to the Ministry of Electricity and Energy for natural gas it purchased to generate the power it supplied in Tanintharyi.

The new chief minister also talked about developing the region’s tourism and fishery industries, promoting regional security and the rule of law, and ensuring responsible extraction of natural resources.

“I will build a clean, transparent, responsible and accountable government,” he said.

U Myint Maung, who is also the National League for Democracy’s secretary for Tanintharyi Region, had been serving as acting chief minister since Daw Lei Lei Maw was arrested on March 10.

He was elected to the regional parliament from Kawthoung Township in the 2015 general elections.

“His appointment is acceptable. We are taking a wait-and-see attitude. We dare not expect much from him,” said Dawei resident Ko Wai Phyo.

The Tanintharyi Parliament on Tuesday also approved the three new regional ministers to fill vacant posts.

Daw Yi Yi Cho, regional lawmaker from Myeik Constituency 2 and U Aung Thura, regional lawmaker for Tanintharyi Constituency 1, were appointed as the regional ministers of planning and finance; and electricity and energy, respectively. Their predecessors resigned last week.

The former ministers, U Phyo Win Tun and U Kyi Hlaing, remain lawmakers for Myeik Constituency 1 and Pulaw Constituency 2.

U Hla Htwe, the regional lawmaker for Yebyu Constituency 1, was appointed minister of natural resources and environmental conservation to succeed U Myint Maung.

The Tanintharyi parliament has 21 elected lawmakers, all of whom are NLD members, and seven military appointees.

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