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Successes and Failures of the Yangon Govt’s Third Year in Office

By San Yamin Aung 6 June 2019

YANGON—Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein has touted the municipal elections, a revamped public bus system and upgraded public parks as the main accomplishments of his government in its third year of administration.

The ambitious chief minister, who has often been described as a “windbag” by his city’s residents, also repeated vows to follow through on his yet-unfulfilled long-term promises, including creating permanent housing for squatters and installing card payment systems on city buses, at a press conference about his government’s performance from 2018 April to 2019 April.

He said that the enactment of the new Yangon municipal law and successful municipal elections have been milestones in reforming the city’s municipal body.

Through the municipal polls held in March this year, more public representatives have been elected to municipal committees at township level, as well as in the central committee, he added.

He also said the public bus system has been improved and that public parks have been repaired and renovated for public welfare.

“We will try to make Yangon a more developed city,” he said.

NLD regional lawmaker Ma Kyi Pyar told The Irrawaddy that while some bus routes using new, air-conditioned vehicles now offer a more comfortable ride for commuters, more disciplined driving still needs to be enforced in the Yangon Bus Service. She said though the new bus system replaced the old one which was notorious for unruly drivers in January 2017, dangerous driving is still an issue with buses.

During the press conference, the chief minister said the card payment system for city buses—scheduled to be launched by the end of 2017—will be launched soon.

He said in order to improve the public transportation system, they are currently upgrading bus stops and the circular train routes with the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). He added that train routes will link up with bus routes for more transit-oriented development.

As for another one of his failed promises—the resettlement plan for squatters which he has been promising to implement since 2016—U Phyo Min Thein said they will try to resettle them within the next six months.

He said they intend to invite foreign investors who can offer long-term investment periods of 15 to 20 years to implement affordable housing projects.

“Our mission is to develop Yangon as a more livable, green city, while also conserving the city’s heritage,” he said.

The Yangon regional government has also recently showcased a total of 80 projects which make up the Yangon Project Bank including upgrades to market and parks, transport, housing and industrial projects for enhancing the living standards of citizens and raising the levels of income.

Ma Kyi Pyar said while the regional government is focusing on long-term projects, it is also important for promises they made in the parliament and at committee meetings to be implemented in order to improve the daily lives of residents and to solve their problems.

She said the government has failed to implement most of the promises it made at the parliament and in the parliament committees’ meetings over the past years.

“The government’s implementing of proposals approved by the parliament is very weak until today,” she said, calling for more collaboration for the remaining two years.

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