YCDC Welcomes New Members to Executive Board      

By Kyaw Phyo Tha 9 June 2016

RANGOON — Since the beginning of June, new faces have been seen on the executive board of the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).

Unlike their predecessors, the four new committee members, all of whom were appointed by the government on June 1, do not have military backgrounds. Rather, most of the newly minted executive board members have significant prior experience in government work that targeted construction, irrigation, land revenue and urban land use, while one is a prominent writer-turned-social worker with several literary and humanitarian awards to her name.

YCDC’s executive board is made up of nine members: the mayor, four appointed members and four elected individuals representing four city districts. The appointments earlier this month—which come at a time when Rangoon is facing high population density, serious traffic congestion, poor drainage and unwieldy urban development—follow the committee shake-up in May. At this time, the Rangoon Division Chief Minister declared that the terms of both elected and appointed YCDC members had been terminated; the Rangoon divisional government has yet to announce the date of the next city election.

Read about the new members of the YCDC executive board below.

Hlaing Maw Oo (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)
Hlaing Maw Oo (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

Hlaing Maw Oo, Secretary

Hlaing Maw Oo was previously the director of architecture at the Ministry of Construction’s Department of Building, where she had worked for more than 25 years. Trained as an architect with postgraduate studies in urban planning and urban environmental management, she has been involved in drafting Rangoon’s zoning plan and Burma’s building codes.

Asked whether she is the right candidate for the position, given her academic credentials and Rangoon’s current challenges, Hlaing Maw Oo just said that “time will decide.”

“They just select people who can do their best in a time of change,” she added.

On the responsibilities of the committee members, the PhD candidate, who is finalizing her research on urban design and heritage, said that the committee is thinking about how to create collaboration among members rather than simply divvy up departments among them.

“In the past, we pointed fingers at each other, and there was no solution. If we have everyone’s participation, I believe most of the problems facing Rangoon today could be solved,” Hlaing Maw Oo said.

U Than (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)
U Than (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

U Than, Joint Secretary

During his 36 years with the government’s Department of Settlement and Land Records, U Than has gained experience with agricultural and urban land management, land revenue and registration. After leaving his position as director, U Than worked as an advisor at the YCDC for urban planning, having for the past four years focused on land use and zone planning.

His recent appointment as the joint Secretary for the YCDC will make him responsible for the municipal body’s 20 departments, contributing his expertise to the city’s development.

“When it comes to land issues, there are some weaknesses in the working procedures. I hope to use my experiences to help fix these issues in accordance with the law,” he said.

May May Thwe (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)
May May Thwe (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

May May Thwe, Member

A retired deputy director from the Department of Irrigation, May May Thwe is a civil engineer with 35 years of experience in flood, drainage and irrigation management. Now, as a YCDC member, May May Thwe is hoping that she can contribute her expertise to tackling some of Rangoon’s serious problems with flooding and poor drainage, while collaborating with YCDC’s Departments of Roads and Bridges as well as Water and Sanitation.

“As far as I’m concerned, traffic and flooding in Rangoon will take some time to resolve; these problems need long-term solutions,” May May Thwe said, adding that she is positive the committee members will be able to do something meaningful during their five-year term.

“We’re all aware that everyone is hoping for change. I’ll be loyal to my responsibilities.”

Than Myint Aung (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)
Than Myint Aung (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

Than Myint Aung, Member

Of all the new committee members, Than Myint Aung is the most well known. With several literary and humanitarian awards under her belt, she co-founded the Free Funeral Service Society (FFSS) in 2001 when Burma was still under a repressive military regime.

Asked about her appointment, Than Myint Aung said that her desire to make Rangoon better and cleaner was key to her joining the YCDC.

“As a social worker, I could be useful when it comes to solving issues that may need collaboration between the YCDC and the public,” she said.

“Plus, the FFSS has been involved in environmental conservation activities, so that may be a reason why the YCDC thinks I have something to contribute.”