Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday spoke of her hope for the country to catch up to Singapore’s stage of development within 20 years as she urged foreign investors to help her achieve that mission.
Speaking at a business forum on the sidelines of the Asean summit here, Suu Kyi referred to the late Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew who once said, when the city state was newly independent, that he would spend 20 years to catch up to Myanmar.
“So, I have to say now, we should not wait for 20 years to catch up with Singapore. I hope you will help us to catch up with Singapore,” said Suu Kyi who is State Counsellor.
The current government has taken multiple measures to reform the economy and create an investor friendly environment since taking office after the 2016 election, she said.
“The 12-point national economic policy which aims to sustain economic stability in our country, the development that is inclusive and people centred,” she said, “that’s of course in line with Asean values as well”.
The new investment law promulgated in October 2016 has created better conditions for investment and to bring the economy in line with international and regional agreements, she noted.
The law contains a number of provisions that encourage responsible investment and support investors to do business with transparency and simplified procedures, she said.
“We are very concerned with responsible business because Myanmar was under an authoritarian system for more than half a century, so responsibility is something that many people are unaware of,” she said.
“We want to encourage responsible business and business best- practices – not just for the stake of investing but also to educate our people, who do not have enough experience of business at the scale that we hope will take place in Myanmar today,” Suu Kyi said.
With the new company law that came into force in August, together with an electronic registration system, companies now find it is quicker and easier to do business in Myanmar, she said.
As of September, over 14,000 companies have registered via the on-line platform and over 4,000 are newly operating, she said.
Myanmar Investment Committee has established simple, clear and predictable standard operation procedures and boasts a single-window system to facilitate investment, she added.
In this new economic environment, the Thilawa Special Economic Zone is a model of successful cooperation between the public and private sectors, she said.
“I’m happy to be able to claim the Thilawa SEZ has become a success in a very short time, receiving total investments of $1.4 billion (Bt46.3 billion) from various countries, including the US, Germany, Japan, China, Thailand and Singapore,” she said.
Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said her government must develop economically for the sake of bridging domestic gaps between 14 states and regions in the country.
“We have to think about a political aspect as well as an economic one. For example, we cannot always invest where it just looks lucrative for us in the material sense. Sometimes we have to invest for the sake of bringing people closer together for the sake of political equality and harmony,” she said.