Pri­vate com­pany’s do­na­tion to Yangon Re­gion gov­ern­ment prompts questions

The Myanmar Times - - News - YE MON yeemon­tun@mm­times.com MYAT NYEIN AYE my­at­nyeinaye@mm­times.com

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.

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