Suu Kyi’s tainted policies alienate foreign investors
YANGON – Aung San Suu Kyi’s government is putting off foreign companies that emphasize human rights in their investment decisions, as Britain’s CDC Group, Norway’s Telenor and international mining groups struggle to navigate her administration’s controversial policies and their associated reputation risks.
That’s holding back the underdeveloped nation’s economic and business potential, significantly at a time the de facto national leader is running for national re-election amid a moribund economy.
UN investigators have accused the Myanmar military, the Tatmadaw, of carrying out a brutal campaign with “genocidal intent” after more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine state into Bangladesh following a brutal military crackdown in 2017.
In a report last year, the UN fact-finding mission called on investors to cut ties with all army-linked businesses and identified around 60 foreign companies involved in the Tatmadaw’s corporate network. The military is active in parts of the economy through two holding firms and their subsidiaries.
That call is apparently causing a corporate rethink among certain Western investors. Danish shipping giant Maersk, for one, will stop using military-owned ports in Myanmar from the end of this month, according to rights group Burma Campaign UK.