One month after Myanmar’s coup, the international community is still struggling to form a cohesive response. But foreign companies working in the country are seeing mounting criticism and questions as activists work to leverage investors’ influence over Myanmar’s economy and military revenues.
Malaysia has announced a partnership with Huawei as part of a push to become a regional leader in cybersecurity and increase the technical skills of its workers. Malaysia’s government appears unconcerned about Huawei’s reputational issues and the news comes amid ongoing cybersecurity controversies in Myanmar and Cambodia.
China’s restrictions on overland trade and security concerns in Shan State have created challenges for Myanmar’s seafood industry, raising costs and threatening to make business unsustainable.
Myanmar has dismissed the developer for what would be Southeast Asia’s largest economic zone, throwing Dawei SEZ into question yet again. Though the grandiose plan is backed by Thailand, Japan and China, its continued financial struggles reveal a project plagued by instability and mismanagement.
Japanese beer conglomerate Kirin says an investigation by Deloitte was unable to determine if the company has been funding the Myanmar military through its joint ownership of domestic beer companies. Critics say Kirin has been complicit in human rights abuses by partnering with a Myanmar military-owned company.
China’s construction of a fence along parts of its varied border with Myanmar has prompted questions about Beijing’s changing approach to the frontier.
The case represents a civilian win against the military but likely doesn’t signal a shift as far as accountability for the military’s human rights abuses, including its record of genocidal acts against the Rohingya.
The Dawei SEZ in Myanmar, set to be Southeast Asia’s largest industrial zone, is progressing once again despite years of instability and uncertainty. The pandemic also makes it nearly impossible for developers and the government to meet with local residents to answer basic questions about the impacts and benefits of the project.
Given Thailand’s dire economic outlook wrought by COVID-19, fewer opportunities could lead to an increase in precarious and underpaid work.
The recent Amnesty International report about the Myanmar military’s alleged war crimes highlights the country’s civil-military imbalance and the significant impact it will have on the country’s general election.