Private company’s donation to Yangon Region government prompts questions
A YANGON Region lawmaker is calling for budgetary scrutiny after a private business donated K100 million to the region government, with the company chair alleging that the gift was made at the behest of the chief minister.
The donation from Ga Mone Pwint was presented during the opening ceremony of a new shopping mall, the San Yike Nyein branch, on October 30.
U Nay Lin Oo, chair of the Ga Mone Pwint company, told The Myanmar Times yesterday that Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein asked the shopping mall business to donate the money to help support the education and social affairs sectors.
“The Yangon chief minister said that he, as a representative of the Yangon Region government, wanted to start a fund for poor students who study in Yangon Region. That’s why we are willing to donate,” U Nay Lin Oo said.
He added that he does not expect anything in return from the government in exchange for the K100 million (US$83,000) private contribution.
“U Phyo Min Thein told me that I wouldn’t get anything back from the regional government for my donation. But I also don’t expect anything, same as when I make a religious donation,” U Nay Lin Oo said. “Moreover, our company donates as a kind of CSR [corporate social responsibility] to people.”
Despite repeated attempts to reach Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein and Yangon Mayor U Maung Maung Soe, neither could be contacted for comment yesterday.
“U Phyo Min Thein told me that he will not use this money all at once, but will save it in a bank and use it as a fund to support the students longterm,” U Nay Lin Oo added.
The company chair said that Ga Mone Pwint has in the past donated much larger sums to the regional government, but has not always released information about it.
At the opening ceremony where he received the donation, Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein pledged to use the donation to provide scholarships, and said the government will handle the donation transparently.
“We will keep the account responsibly and use it to benefit the largest number of students [possible],” he said at the October 30 ceremony.
He added that the National League for Democracy-led government is confronting a budget shortage. The spending patterns of the current administration were inherited from the previous government, which allotted little for health, education and social services, with the biggest share of the spending awarded to defence.
‘We need to know how they plan to use this money, and where.’
Daw Sandar Min Yangon Region MP
In previous years, the Yangon Region government was allocated K330 million, but the current portion has been slimmed to K200 million, despite an ever-growing population in the country’s largest urban centre.
Daw Sandar Min, a regional MP (NLD; Seikgyi Kanaungto) and also chair of the region Finance, Planning and Economic Committee, said that the Yangon government needs to submit information to parliament detailing the large donation from a private business to ensure no favouritism or corruption has occurred, or does occur in the future.
“We heard that the region government received donated money from a businessman. We need to know how they plan to use this money, and where,” she said.