Sino–Japanese competition heats up over Myanmar’s SEZs

Women, wearing t-shirts with the image of Myanmar’s new President Htin Kyaw, offer free food during a celebration in Yangon, Myanmar, 1 April 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Atsuko Mizuno, Kyushu University

China and Japan are eager to be involved in massive special economic zone (SEZ) projects in Myanmar, amid rising economic competition in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Since 2011, Myanmar has rapidly improved its diplomatic relations with the West and Japan Read more…

New rule-based order needed to save the Mekong

Cambodian school children wait for their friend at the Mekong River bank in Tuol Yeimar village before going to their school, near Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 22 March 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Nguyen Khac Giang, VEPR

As Vietnam suffers its worst drought in nearly a century and Cambodia faces a water shortage that could jeopardise the livelihoods of 1.5 million people, debates have been reignited over the mega dams built along the Mekong. Read more…

Managing the next phase of Myanmar’s political transition

Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives to participate in the inaugural session of Myanmar's lower house parliament in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 1 February 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Chit Win, ANU

For the past five years, Myanmar’s transition has mainly been about building legitimacy. By implementing various political and economic reforms, President Thein Sein validated his government and, more importantly, the new political arrangement, created under the 2008 constitution. Read more…

Why dynastic female leaders win elections in Asia

Aung San Suu Kyi meeting with elected NLD candidates in Yangon on 28 November 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Mark R Thompson, City University of Hong Kong.

The landslide victory by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party in the 8 November 2015 Myanmar election, after decades of Suu Kyi being held under house arrest, marks one of the world’s most extraordinary political turnabouts. Read more…

Two ways of talking about the rule of law in Myanmar

A Myanmar man rides a bicycle past a police patrol vehicle in Yangon, Myanmar, 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Nick Cheesman, ANU

Since 2012 many things have changed in Myanmar, or Burma. The more noticeable changes have involved the government removing repressive measures imposed on a recalcitrant public: print media censorship; prohibitions on trade unions, political parties or human rights groups; roadblocks on the approaches to the lakeside house of democracy doyen Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon. Read more…

Myanmar’s elections need a fraud-free makeover

Pike Htwe (C), a spokesperson for Myanmar ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), talks to members of the media at the party headquarters in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 17 August 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Naing Ko Ko, ANU

While problems have largely been ignored over the decades, Myanmar has a long record of electoral corruption and fraud. But electoral corruption undermines the domestic legitimacy and authority of Myanmar’s governments and governance. So authorities should act as quickly as possible to regulate corruption to manage the negative externalities arising from elections in Myanmar.

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A long journey ahead for Myanmar’s foreign exchange market reform

People exchange US dollar and Myanmar currency at a black market in Yangon, Myanmar, 25 August 2011. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Koji Kubo, JETRO

In April 2012, by abolishing the official pegging of the Myanmar kyat to the Special Drawing Right (SDR) of the IMF, Myanmar terminated the decades-old de facto multiple exchange rate system and moved to a managed floating exchange system. While noteworthy in its own right, this is merely the first step in an arduous journey of foreign exchange market reform. The Central Bank of Myanmar is now facing two interlinked challenges: establishing the institutions for a formal foreign exchange market and transferring informal market activities into the formal market. Read more…