January 18, 2014 00:00
By Khine Kyaw
Govt to protect migrant workers abroad
Despite recent concerns over a drop in tourist arrivals from Thailand, anti-government protests taking place in Bangkok cannot hurt Myanmar’s tourism industry, the president’s spokesman said.
Ye Htut, who is also the deputy minister for information, spoke to The Nation on the sidelines of the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at the Aureum Palace Hotel in Bagan.
“As far as I know, the anti-government protests in Bangkok have taken place far from Suvarnabhumi Airport, so I hope Myanmar’s tourism industry will not suffer much,” he said.
“It is really hard to estimate the affects of the Bangkok shutdown on Myanmar’s tourism sector instantly because we need to watch the upcoming statistics on the industry.”
Through its embassy in Bangkok, the Myanmar government has warned its citizens staying in Thailand to be cautious about the political situation there.
“We are trying to protect all the Myanmar nationals who are staying in different countries for various reasons,” Ye Htut said.
He also emphasised that the Myanmar government would protect Myanmar migrant workers in other countries who have any problems whether or not they have are working there legally.
“We are now [considering] an exact framework for migrant workers across the region. Whether or not such a framework comes out, we will make it a priority to protect Myanmar workers in other countries. We will discuss this issue in this or other Asean meetings,” he said.
On the political tensions in some Asean countries, Ye Htut affirmed that Myanmar as the Asean chair would not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, following the principles of the association.
“We will not try to interfere with the recent events in Cambodia and Thailand. But we hope all these countries can consider all these issues by means of peaceful dialogues among themselves,” he said.
Regarding the China Power Investment Corporation’s attempt to restart the controversial Myitsone dam project, Ye Htut acknowledged that he did not know how his nation’s parliament, the Union Assembly, would decide on the issue.
“In making a decision, there are two kinds: binding resolutions and non-binding resolutions. We must take all the facts into serious consideration before making a decision,” he said.
When asked about the preparations for the Asean Economic Community that will be launched in 2015, he said: “At the moment, we cannot say that the preparations are 100 per cent complete. I can say that not only Myanmar but also other developing countries within the Asean region will try their best to get ready for the AEC by the end of this year.”
The ministers’ retreat in Bagan began on Wednesday and ends today.
But all the meetings and sideline talks were scheduled to take place on only two days, Thursday and yesterday.