UMFCCI gets new chief
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.
People attend a workshop at UMFCCI headquarters last year.