Changed times – The Edge Review

YANGON – Myanmar has jailed several journalists this year, while one reporter, Ko Par Gyi, was murdered by the army in the country’s east. Some new laws have been heavily criticised, while calls to amend the country’s constitution, which gives the army a veto-wielding 25 percent of parliament seats, have not prompted any change yet.”I think we certainly did see a lot of reforms in 2012 and 2013, but 2014 has perhaps added an element of realism, with the concerns over the constitutional amendment process,” Melissa Crouch, Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore, told The Edge Review.

Fine Phayre – The Irrawaddy

YANGON – Rip-Off Rangoon, where a plate of Lok Lak about half as good as you’d get in Phnom Penh costs US$10. Where a handful of veneered restaurants and bars slap on an extra couple thousand kyat, every few months, for diminishing portions of an exponentially-depreciating quality of fare. Refusing to join the race to the bottom is The Phayre’s Gastrobar a new restaurant with nighthawk aspirations next door to the famous Pansodan Gallery.

Myanmar, Japan see promise, problems in economic zone – Nikkei Asian Review

THILAWA, Myanmar — The Thilawa Special Economic Zone might be just a 45-minute drive from downtown Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city and commercial hub, but the Japanese presence is unmissable. Outside the site offices — an island of prefabricated shelters surrounded by acres of upturned earth — a row of six flags dries in the breeze after a short downpour. The yellow, green and red of Myanmar alternates with Japan’s unmistakable red sun on a white background.

AEC jitters – The Edge Review

YANGON – Ahead of the proposed establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015, many of Myanmar’s businesses are trembling.

“There is a perception among people in Myanmar that local products are low quality,” said Nwe Ni Wai, Executive Director of Yangon-based United Paint Group. She worried aloud that companies in Myanmar might struggle to compete with rivals from more advanced markets in the region, and in turn might struggle to make the most of opportunities in other markets.

Malaysian companies moving into Myanmar – The Edge Review

YANGON – Malaysian builders are lining up for a piece of Myanmar’s hoped-for overhaul of its rickety infrastructure, with Naypyitaw calling for foreign investors to help lay roads and railways, as well as build more houses for a growing urban population. Malaysian companies, backed by Putrajaya, see an opportunity. “A lot more Malaysian companies are now coming in to see about the development of Yangon and Myanmar as a whole,” said Sadat Foster, an assistant trade commissioner at Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), the state trade agency, during an interview in Yangon. “Myanmar is the last frontier in ASEAN,” he added, “In terms of opportunities, it so big.