By Nang Mya Nadi
Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) has called on President Thein Sein to carefully consider before approving the creation of a development zone in northern Shan state.
Sai Kyaw Ohn, parliamentary representative and SNDP member from Namhkam township, said the group sent a letter to President Thein Sein concerning the project. In the letter, the party asked the president to read the proposal with caution.
In February, Beijing-based HA HA Company Limited and its Burmese associate companies, May Hung Myanmar Industry Company Limited and Phwint Phyo Myanmar Construction Company, delivered a proposal to the government to build a development zone in Namhkam.
“We wouldn’t object it if they were asking for a reasonable amount of land – 1,000 acre should be fine for example. But they were proposing for 35,000 acres and it seems a bit devious to us,” said Sai Kyaw Ohn.
“The [government] has yet to decide on the proposal and we are making a suggestion that it should not be approved.”
The parliamentary representative said the SNDP held a town hall meeting with Namhkam locals on 4 April to discuss the potential positive and negative impacts the project could have on the region.
The development zone is set to include a bridge that would span across the Ruili River into China, highway roads, five-star hotels, casinos, an international school, a hospital and a bank.
Sai Kyaw Ohn said the infrastructure promised by the project would be ‘beneficial’ to locals, but he is concerned that many will lose their land alongside the Ruili River, which is currently used for farming and small businesses.