UMFCCI gets new chief

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SU PHYO WIN su­phy­owin@mm­times.com

The lead­ing in­dus­try body elected a new pres­i­dent who pledged to pro­vide a stronger voice for its mem­bers, but some ob­servers ex­pect lit­tle change.

THE head of the Myan­mar In­dus­tries As­so­ci­a­tion, U Zaw Min Win, is the new pres­i­dent of the Union of Myan­mar Fed­er­a­tion of Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try, fol­low­ing a long­drawn-out elec­tion on Septem­ber 17.

Speak­ing to The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day, U Zaw Min Win, who was pre­vi­ously a UMFCCI vice pres­i­dent, pledged in his new role to ad­dress weak­nesses that had emerged in the peak in­dus­try body and to pro­vide a voice for its mem­bers as a lob­by­ist to gov­ern­ment on crit­i­cal busi­ness is­sues, such as in­vest­ment pol­icy.

“We must have good gov­er­nance within the UMFCCI to have bet­ter ser­vices to our mem­bers and give a reg­u­lar di­a­logue, to pro­vide ad­vice on the coun­try’s eco­nomic pol­icy,” he said. “Th­ese are the main things we will im­ple­ment in a short term.”

The to­tal num­ber of vot­ers for the three-yearly elec­tion, held at the UMFCCI’s Yan­gon head­quar­ters, was 1134 out of 30,000 mem­bers. About 195 can­di­dates vied for half the elected po­si­tions on the 140-mem­ber ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee. The other half is au­to­mat­i­cally held for rep­re­sen­ta­tives of dif­fer­ent busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tions. The ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee then elected a 58-mem­ber cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee that agrees a group of close to 20 man­age­ment com­mit­tee mem­bers, in­clud­ing a pres­i­dent and seven vice pres­i­dents.

From host­ing for­eign del­e­ga­tions to in­tro­duc­ing for­eign com­pa­nies to lo­cal part­ners and lob­by­ing the gov­ern­ment on eco­nomic pol­icy, the UMFCCI is a pow­er­ful body in the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

Prom­i­nent busi­ness ty­coon U Win Aung, founder of con­struc­tion firm Dagon In­ter­na­tional, stepped down last week af­ter serv­ing five years pres­i­dent.

Fac­tions be­gan to emerge in the lead-up to the elec­tion, with many hop­ing to in­ject new young blood into the coun­try’s peak body.

Newly elected ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber U Nay Lin Zin ac­knowl­edged that the re­sults may be viewed by some as a re­turn of the old guard, but said lead­ers would be forced to change with the evolv­ing busi­ness cli­mate.

“In the pre­vi­ous term, most of the se­nior po­si­tions were linked with mil­i­tary guys so it was dif­fi­cult to re­form,” he said. “They couldn’t change things as they had wished be­cause of their past re­la­tion­ships.”

There had been a mix of young peo­ple added to the elec­tive com­mit­tee, he said, which would in­ject new life into the UMFCCI. But not every­one is con­vinced. U Nay Lin, a mem­ber of the UMFCCI, said that most of the vot­ers came from U Zaw Min Win’s in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion, which meant he was al­ways go­ing to be in a strong po­si­tion. A se­nior of­fi­cial at the Myan­mar Rice Fed­er­a­tion, U Nay Lin, was hope­ful the elec­tion would bring new blood to the se­nior ranks.

“Peo­ple say it’s time to change. But this is not a change in this case,” he said.

Photo: Naing Wynn Htoon

Peo­ple at­tend a work­shop at UMFCCI head­quar­ters last year.

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