UMFCCI ex­tends voter dead­line ahead of elec­tion

The Myanmar Times - - Business - STEVE GILMORE s.gilmore@mm­

THE Union of Myan­mar Fed­er­a­tion of Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try (UMFCCI) held an “ur­gent meet­ing” yes­ter­day and agreed to ex­tend the dead­line for voter reg­is­tra­tion ahead of an up­com­ing elec­tion.

The na­tion’s lead­ing busi­ness body will hold an elec­tion on Septem­ber 17, in which mem­bers who have reg­is­tered to vote will elect an ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, which elects a smaller cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, from which emerge the pres­i­dent, trea­surer and other se­nior fig­ures, ac­cord­ing to joint gen­eral sec­re­tary U Aye Lwin.

Prom­i­nent busi­ness ty­coon U Win Aung, founder of con­struc­tion firm Dagon In­ter­na­tional, re­tained the UMFCCI pres­i­dency in the pre­vi­ous 2013 elec­tion and re­mains its head go­ing into the Septem­ber vote. He and his two com­pa­nies, Dagon In­ter­na­tional and Dagon Tim­ber, were re­moved from the US sanc­tions black­list in 2015.

Turnout was mea­gre at the UMFCCI’s last elec­tion in 2013, which saw only 600 or so mem­bers out of 20,000 vote, UMFCCI of­fi­cials told The Myan­mar Times at that time. A source at the body, who asked to re­main anony­mous, said that reg­is­tra­tion for this elec­tion was also in the hun­dreds. There had been heated de­bate about whether to ex­tend the orig­i­nal Au­gust 30 reg­is­tra­tion dead­line to al­low more peo­ple to vote, and pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion about the elec­tion process, the source said.

A spokesper­son from the UMFCCI’s pub­lic re­la­tions de­part­ment told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day that af­ter an ur­gent meet­ing the dead­line had been ex­tended.

“There’s been a lot of dis­cus­sion about the elec­tion,” he said. “We need more pub­lic knowl­edge about the process.”

U Aye Lwin said the dead­line was be­ing moved to al­low mem­bers in other re­gions and cities to vote, and es­ti­mated that around 600 had reg­is­tered for this year’s elec­tion. Mem­bers must regis­ter to vote and cast their bal­lot in per­son at the UMFCCI’s Yan­gon head­quar­ters. Mem­bers want­ing to stand for elec­tion have un­til Septem­ber 5 to regis­ter and vot­ers have un­til Septem­ber 9, ac­cord­ing to U Aye Lwin.

De­bate over reg­is­tra­tion dead­lines also fea­tured in the 2013 elec­tion, which was de­clared on June 9 of that year with a dead­line to regis­ter to vote or self-nom­i­nate set for June 12. That elec­tion was also the UMFCCI’s first demo­cratic process of lead­er­ship se­lec­tion, af­ter an ear­lier sys­tem where the Min­istry of Com­merce hand­picked se­nior mem­bers. But the vote was marred by a com­puter fail­ure and al­le­ga­tions that the elec­tion had been set up so that in­cum­bent EC mem­bers would be re­turned. – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by

Zay Yar Linn

Photo: Staff

UMFCCI mem­bers at­tend a gen­eral meet­ing in 2014.

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