Yan­gon MPs call for crack­down on shady for­eign busi­ness op­er­a­tors

The Myanmar Times - - News - YE MON yeemon­tun@mm­times.com

THE Yan­gon Re­gion par­lia­ment is con­sid­er­ing in­creas­ing scru­tiny on for­eign busi­ness­peo­ple who op­er­ate il­le­gally.

Par­lia­ment de­bated a pro­posal from MP U Win Maung (NLD; Hlaing Thar­yar 1) on Oc­to­ber 10 that would have the gov­ern­ment take ac­tion against for­eign op­er­a­tors of il­le­gal busi­nesses.

Re­gional Plan­ning and Fi­nance Min­is­ter U Myint Thaung told par­lia­ment that such busi­ness­peo­ple will be jailed if they are found to be break­ing ex­ist­ing laws. For­eign­ers are il­le­gally op­er­at­ing real es­tate agen­cies, bars, restau­rants, guest houses, multi-level mar­ket­ing schemes and health clin­ics, he said.

“There are a lot of laws that we could use against them but we need more en­force­ment,” he said.

The Union gov­ern­ment should take up this is­sue as well, he said, be­cause it is hap­pen­ing all across the coun­try, and not just in the com­mer­cial cap­i­tal.

MP U Hla Htay (NLD; Min­galar Taung Nyunt 1) said that for­eign­ers should re­spect the coun­try’s laws. Their il­le­gal busi­nesses are im­pact­ing the coun­try’s in­come tax, he said.

“Myan­mar cit­i­zens’ busi­nesses were de­stroyed by their il­le­gal busi­ness,” he said. “And we need to know their visa types. Also, the salaries of le­gal and il­le­gal for­eign busi­ness­men are more than triple a Myan­mar cit­i­zen’s.”

MP U Nay Naing Oo (NLD; Twante) said that some for­eign busi­ness own­ers are op­er­at­ing un­der the names of Myan­mar cit­i­zens. The gov­ern­ment should in­ves­ti­gate and take se­vere ac­tion, he said.

U Win Maung said that as of June 20 there were about 100 for­eign real es­tate agen­cies that were op­er­at­ing with­out li­cences and re­lated per­mis­sions from the rel­e­vant min­istries, most of them Chi­nese and Korean.

The so-called “K5K shops” – ped­dling goods priced at a flat K5000 and typ­i­cally owned by Chi­nese na­tion­als – have pro­lif­er­ated this year with­out li­cences from Yan­gon City Devel­op­ment Com­mit­tee and re­lated au­thor­i­ties, he added. Some for­eign-owned bars and KTVs are also sus­pect.

“Now the MPs are look­ing into how the K5K shops wound up in Myan­mar and if they are pay­ing taxes,” U Win Maung said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Yan­gon Re­gion gov­ern­ment, they re­ceived K61.298 bil­lion (US$48.2 mil­lion) in taxes from 6596 for­eign­ers work­ing in the city in the 2015-16 fis­cal year.

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