A bill on the Myanmar Investment Law, which is aimed at promoting foreign investment, was approved yesterday during the 43rd session of the 2nd Amyotha Hluttaw.
The bill, which has been approved by the two parliaments, is expected to take effect in the near future, according to the Myanmar Investment Commission-MIC’s announcement yesterday.
The new investment law, which combines the Foreign Investment Law drafted in 2012 and Citizens’ Investment Law drafted in 2013, includes tax breaks which are different from those stipulated under the former government.
The existing foreign direct investment law abounds in many weaknesses such as requirements to seek permission for every proposal from the Myanmar Investment Commission, avoidance of ways to settle a dispute peacefully before going to arbitration, lack of legal descriptions on monetary policy in transfer of foreign currency, an abundance of documents to be tendered and attached herewith, the commission’s monopoly of authority, the nation’s loss of budget due to tax exemptions, and potential assumptions that there had been discrimination between local investors and foreign ones because of dual investment laws.
Yesterday’s prompt approval of the bill was in response to exuberant foreign investors wishing to invest in the economic sphere in Myanmar, with a view to the development of Myanmar’s economy.
The MIC has permitted a total of 38 foreign investment projects worth US$383.877 million in five months since the new government took office in April.
From late 1988 to August this year, total foreign investments in Myanmar amounted to over US$64.4 billion, according to MIC.
Parliamentarians yesterday also discussed the law protecting personal freedom and security of citizens.
“In countries practicing democracy, person or group-centred promulgation of the law is strictly prohibited, as they do not comply with essence of law. The present bill harms the sovereignty of the country as it protects only the benefit of a person or group, not covering the whole populace. It opposes the 2008 constitution, hence the impossibility to be promulgated”, said Daw Nan Ni Ni Aye, constituency 6 of Kayin State.
U Soe Thein of constituency 9, Kayah State said: “Any persons taking responsibility for protecting people from depredation are not above the law in democratic countries, including Myanmar. They are under duty, as assigned to them. For the time being, the bill should not be enacted so as not to blindfold the government’s awareness on security matters.”
Daw Myat Thidar Tun, constituency 5 of Mon State and U Hla U of constituency 4, Sagaing Region said: “Every individual should be able to enjoy the right to survive, freedom and acquirement of security, freedom from torture and humiliation,” according to the UN Human Rights Declaration.
Major Aung Ko Min, representative for the Tatmadaw, said: “The nation’s security means security of every part of the country. The state guarantees security of every individual by recognizing them as a citizen. Hluttaw should consider the eternal benefits of the country and its people.”
Lt-Col Kyaw San Oo, representative for the Tatmadaw, also submitted,” Had personal freedom and security been prioritised, those serving the duty of national security can find it difficult to perform their duties, and it may tantamount to protecting terror, drug-trafficking, human trafficking, cyber attack and arising of crimes by trespassing border”.
The speaker decided for the Hluttaw drafting committee to hear discussion of the bill.—Myanmar News Agency