Reform is not a magic word. This is definitely true in Myanmar. When the junta regime first opened up its iron gate, the word “reform” generated euphoria. But months later, there was more confusion than results. Frustration is expected to follow suit if changes continue to grind slowly.
Observers who are familiar with President Thein Sein’s administration said there are more on the plate than what the regime can chew and digest.
Since the by-elections in April and the participation of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League of Democracy leaders in hluttaw, scores of foreign leaders, dignitaries, diplomats and business delegates have visited the country.
Many of them have made a beeline to meet up with the regime in Nayphidaw hoping to secure deals, concessions and partnerships to participate in the country’s development.
This is where the problem starts. The outside world is expecting too much from what the current regime is capable or willing to give. An analyst noted that there are very few leaders in the current leadership who understand the mechanics of reforms or have the capacity to discuss the subject intelligently.
The current regime needs to understand that the rush to open up the country to foreign investors and to implement quick economic reforms should not supersede the need to embrace real political reforms.
Without a solid foundation for rule of law, an independent and respectable judiciary, credible public institutions and other essential pillars to protect private interests and individual rights, it is nearly impossible to create a modern economy. As the last of Asia’s frontier economy, Myanmar is intriguing but risky.
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