A year of despair and despondency
In a century’s time, historians looking back will see how, at a time of national crisis, Myanmar’s leaders have collectively abdicated political and moral responsibility over the country.
THOMPSON CHAU [email protected]times.com
2018 is the year in which Myanmar’s failure to execute key reforms has plunged the country into crises and chaos, overshadowing the considerable progress made in some areas. It would take years, if not decades, before we climb out of the abyss into which we have sunk.
The National League for Democracy party swept into office in 2016 with its mantra of “change”. Although that term was vaguely-defined in their election manifesto, it is fair to assume that the electorate wanted change for the better, and they wanted positive changes for the many.
As the government passed midpoint in their five-year term in October, it is clear the Myanmar people are getting none of what they wanted, or anywhere near that. 2018 is shaped by the aftermath of the advent of Rakhine. We were chosen as the Economist’s “country of the year” in 2015. The government’s response to the crisis, coupled with the failure on the economic front, has turned Myanmar into the cautionary tale of how things could go wrong.
“Rarely has the reputation of a leader fallen so far, so fast” was the verdict of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by International Crisis Group’s report. The same assessment could be said of Myanmar.
In 2018, business confidence has sunk to a three-year low; approved FDI has fallen short of the official estimates by a wide margin; and the business community is despairingly frustrated with the protectionist policies and lack of reforms. Myanmar’s growth forecast is downgraded by the World Bank by 0.5 percentage points