Yangon Parliament Endorses Resurrected City Expansion Plan

By Thu Zar 16 June 2015

RANGOON — The Rangoon Division Parliament has voted to resurrect a shelved development project that will see the official city limits expand westward by some 20,000 acres.

The new southwestern urban development, encompassing parts of Kyimyindaing, Twantay and Seikgyikanaungto Townships on the western side of the Hlaing River, was first mooted in August 2014 by Chief Minister Myint Swe and Mayor Hla Myint. It was shelved the following month, in anticipation of a new public tender, after allegations that the chiefs of developer Myanmar Saytanar Myothit were awarded the project based on their close ties to Myint Swe.

The proposal was revived last week by Myint Lwin, a lawmaker representing Kyimyindaing Township, who tabled the plan according to what he said were the wishes of his constituents. Approved in a landslide, 100 MPs supported the proposal, with 10 voting against and four abstentions.

Lawmaker Nyo Nyo Thin was the only person to speak out against the proposal, saying that Rangoon authorities should instead be channeling their efforts into developing the city’s existing, sparsely populated satellite towns.

“The project only talks about the number of households it can shelter and does not mention any detailed urban development plans for those households,” she said on the parliament floor.

Hla Myint said that the project would include allocations for villages, industrial zones, utilities such as sanitation, and a mix of commercial and low- and high-density residential areas. Speaking to the press on Monday, the mayor said that an open tender for the development was still on the agenda.

“We still can’t say when we will be able to start,” he said. “It is not that we will award the license back to the previous developer. Anyone who is qualified can make a bid. We have yet to discuss whether to invite tenders from local companies or joint ventures.”

The southwestern urban development project has been given second priority in the Greater Yangon Strategic Development Plan. Tabled by Hla Myint on June 10, the plan eventually envisages the expansion of Rangoon’s city limits by 119,000 acres to accommodate the city’s burgeoning population, which is projected to hit 10 million by 2040.