Burma’s August gas exports to Thailand earn 588 million dollars

Rangoon – Burma earned 588.7 million dollars off natural gas exports to neighbouring Thailand in August, media reports said Sunday. In August, 92,000 million cubic feet of natural gas was piped overland to Thailand from the Yadana and Yetagun reserves in the Gulf of Martaban, according to the National Planning and Economic Development, The Myanmar Times reported.

Burma’s natural gas exports earned the country 1.2 billion dollars in the first five months of fiscal year 2009-10, which started on April 1, the English-language weekly said.

In fiscal 2007-08, Burma exported a record 2.53 billion dollars worth of natural gas to Thailand. Gas exports declined slightly in fiscal 2008-09 to 2.38 billion.

Natural gas is Burma’s main foreign exchange earner, accounting for nearly 66.5 per cent of total exports in August, according to government statistics.

Reconstruction of Moulmein market nearly finished

Tue 17 Nov 2009, IMNA, Rai Maraoh
After burning to the ground in on December 1st of 2008, the reconstruction of Moulmein’s second largest market has nearly been completed. The opening ceremonies for the new market are planned for January 1st 2010.

A Moulmein resident told IMNA’s reporter, “The market is nearly finished, only painting it is left. The new market will have two stories, we heard the market will open in January 2010.”

The new market has been under construction since March 18th of this year; the project has been handled by both the Lot Lat Thaw Eaya Hangthar Company and the Ngwe Moe Hotel Company, through government-issued contracts. IMNA’s reporter learned that threats of missing its January 1st deadline recently forced the companies to expand the numbers of construction workers hired to work on the assignment; worker ranks have currently been expanded to 400 men. Construction workers reportedly earn 2,000 kyat a day, while their supervisors earn 4,000 kyat. Continue reading “Reconstruction of Moulmein market nearly finished”

Mahachai migrant workers still missing after fishing boat capsizes

Tue 17 Nov 2009, Ruby Mon
19 Burmese and Thai migrant workers are still missing at sea after the fishing boat they were working on capsized on November 2nd, off the coast of the Thai city of Mahachai. The families of the missing victims have received 30,000 baht [roughly 905 US dollars] each as compensation from the boat’s owner.

According to Nai Thein, the father of missing 34-year-old Mon fisherman Nai Win Myint, 24 migrant workers altogether were involved in the accident; the fishermen were of varied ethnicities, including Thai, Mon, Karen, Tavoy, and Burman. Only 5 of the original 24 workers were rescued from the ocean: 2 Thai fisherman, 2 Burmans, and one Mon fisherman.

At 2 am on November 2nd the fishing boat, known as the Chawsanlarn No.1, departed from the Mahachai fishermen’s station locally known as Palarsaphan, and sailed out into the Indonesian Sea. According to Nai Thein, who spoke to the 5 survivors, the boat capsized when a net, over-weighted with fish, pulled boat to its side. The boat’s decks became covered with water, and the vessel became completely submerged 2 hours later, casting the 24 fishermen out to sea. Continue reading “Mahachai migrant workers still missing after fishing boat capsizes”

Army continues to demand that local residents work along gas pipeline in Thanbyuzayat township

November 17, 2009
HURFOM, Thanbyuzayat: Many villages in southern Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State, who are located along the Kanbauk Myaing Kalay gas pipeline, have once again been ordered to perform pipeline maintenance by the Burmese Army battalions in change of the project’s security.
According to HURFOM’s field reporter, on the 13th of November of this year roughly 70 villagers, from 4 different villages located along the pipeline in Thanbyuzayat Township, were ordered to commence working along the pipeline. The villagers have been charged with building fences for the pipeline and reburying areas of pipeline that had become exposed by heavy downpours during the recently-ended rainy season.
U Tar*, a 50 year-old Karen resident of Waekhami village. told HURFOM’s field reporter that the headman of his village received the orders from gas pipeline security battalions Infantry Battalion (IB) No 62, and Artillery Regiment No.315, to take responsibility for pipeline maintenance. In Waekhami village, every household has been ordered to provide one individual for pipeline labor. Each worker has also been commanded to supply his own materials for covering and fencing the pipeline, such as bamboo and coconut branches. Missing a day of pipeline labor results in a 3,000 kyat fine.
“We villagers have had to take responsibility for these kind of activities every single year [after rainy season ends] since the gas pipeline arrived [in 2001]. Even though we are busy on our farms we have to work on it [the pipeline] first,” said U Tar.
According to Mi Aye Kyi*, a Waeyet villager, both men and women from her village are being forced to work on the gas pipeline; many must bring their small children with them to the pipeline, since failure to arrive for a day of work means paying a fine of 3,000 kyat to Sergeant Sa Yar Kyi, from the Thanbyuzayat-based IB No. 62.
“Villagers in Waeyet have to work on the pipeline nearly every single month. Even though we pay for security, 2,000 kyat a month, every month we still have to work on it. This gas pipeline is a kind of hell for the villagers. Since it arrived [in 1995] it not only fails to benefit them, it also harms them,” complained a second Waryet resident.
*Name changed by editor.


Coming this November 22nd, 2009

ျမန္မာျပည္ကုိကူညီၾကစီု ့

This ongoing project includes series of fund-raising events initiated and organized by Volunteer Committee for PHB (Project: Help Burma) in San Francisco Bay Area. The committee members are concerned individuals and organizations from the community. All the proceeds will go to people inside Burma who desperately need help in food, health care and other basic necessary things for survival.

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2010 Election: Legitimacy and Credibility

by: Htun Aung Gyaw

The ruling Junta SLORC/SPDC has no legitimacy and credibility after it lost the election in 1990. Burma’s last election on May 27, 1990 turned out a huge victory for the opposition political party National League for Democracy (NLD), which won 82% of the parliamentary seats. The junta has no legitimacy to rule after the people voted for the opposition political party.

Unfortunately the ruling junta, State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) annulled the election results and said there was no appropriate constitution and that they have to first draw the constitution. When the regime shamelessly denied to hand over the political power to the NLD party, it lost its credibility on the world stage.

The regime called the national convention with handpicked people; they allowed the NLD party to attend the convention but all the participants were forced to accept the direction that the regime wanted. NLD party and Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD) walked out from the convention because they could not express their opinions. The 2008 constitution was written only with the regime’s handpicked people, and not the elected parliamentary members voted by the people from the 1990 election. As a result the 2008 constitution has no credibility and legitimacy whatsoever.

SLORC changed its name to State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) after it lost the election in 1990 and made an excuse that there was no appropriate constitution to transfer the political power to the winning party- NLD. SPDC’s one sided constitutional drawing process took 16 years and finally it was approved in 2008. That was the way the 2008 Burma constitution was born. The question is why doesn’t SPDC transfer the political power to the winner party under the new constitution instead of creating another election in 2010? Continue reading “2010 Election: Legitimacy and Credibility”