Dawei ThailandAlicante Thailand
Myanmar and Thailand will resume the process of developing the deepwater harbor and the Dawei SEZ after the two nations have established a co-ordinating board to elaborate the detailed arrangements for the project's investments. During 2008, both nations undersigned a memorandum of understanding developing a vast 200 sq km of coastline and an unspoilt sandy area in Myanmar's Tanintharyi area into the Dawei SEZ and deepwater dock.
Originally the site was run by a Thai privately-owned building company, Italian-Thai Development (ITD), under a federal grant, but the complexity of the site and Myanmar's opposition have brought the work to a standstill over and over again. In Myanmar, the election of a new Myanmar state in 2015 has also called into question the Dawei project's prospects.
"Now the National League for Democracy has been studying the Dawei case and clearly hired a monitoring unit, and that is progress," he said. Mr Proporametee said that the development is now split into two stages of investments, the first focusing on the development of a small industry area of around 28.
In the first stage there will be areas for plants, a small harbour, a small hydroelectric station and a housing area for labour. "Before we can plan the enlargement and the volume of investments for the next stage, which will cover large developed areas and the seaport, this first stage must first be economically viable," said Mr Proametee.
The Thai Army has already provided US$ 130 million in low-interest loan for a new motorway connecting the proposed economy with the Thai state. "We should see some improvement in our infrastructures this year, towards the end of the year," said Newin Sinsiri, Chairman of the Agency for Neighbouring Countries' Economical Cooperation (NEDA), the Thai government's public sector developer in Thailand.
"However, the urgency of the scheme is going to take a while. This new motorway would connect Dawei with Bangkok and other areas of industry in the centre and east of Thailand, while the submarine harbour would give Thailand's industry new entry to India, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Dawei would also supplement the current South-East Asian road system linking Vung Tau, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh and Thailand's East Coast and Bangkok.
"It is a response to Thailand's longstanding need for deep-sea harbor connectivity to the Andaman Sea," said Professor Ruth Banomyong, Ph. D., MSc. in International Business, Logistics and Transportation at Thammasat University. "Myanmar's greatest challenges, however, are to find out where its first deepwater harbor will be.
Your core country is not where Dawei is," said Assoc Prof. Ruth. Burma is currently extending its harbour in Thilawa near Yangon with the help of the japanese state. Thilawa, however, is not a seaport. Burma is also working with a China based corporation to create a deepwater harbor and SEZ in Kyaukpyu in Rakhine State in the Gulf of Bengal.
Kyaukpyu deepwater harbour, like Dawei, is a long-term trend. "Kyaukpyu was backed by the Chinese, Thilawa by the Japanese and Dawei by Thailand from what we saw, but we did not really see a 100% Myanmar that is in his own interest," said Assoc Prof Ruth.
In addition to the geo-political implication and possible benefits of the Dawei initiative, its evolution has met with resistance from the grassroots population. This includes Karen towns near the Thai frontier and Dawei municipalities in and around the projects areas. "Now that the SEZ has been established here, we have tried to find a way to safeguard human beings, their fundamental freedoms and their involvement in the country's grassroots growth process," said Thant Zin, the leader of a grassroots civic group, the Dawei Education Association.
"This is not a genuinely developing venture if it endangers the living standards of the population. Thant Zin said: "I think there must be room for the locals, as well as for government and business in the Dawei process.
By 2013, village residents and community groups in Dawei had filed an formal complaint with the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in Thailand to investigate the adverse effects of Dawei scheme work. On the basis of the United Nations Economic and Social Guidelines, the Thai authorities have mandated the European Union to establish a new commercial standards for Thai enterprises and public authorities active abroad.
Dawei's dispute triggered a parallel with the industrialization of the Thai Phuket in the 1980s. The natives refused the move and developed their own personal growth plans. "Tuenjai Deetes, the Thai National Human Rights Commission commissar who leads the Dawei inquiry, said: "If individuals see the common potentials of their communities, their cultures, their natural ressources and their ecosystems, they should be able to show the Thai authorities what they want to develop.
Phuket's resistance to large-scale industry has led to an economy focused on the tourist and other related services sectors. A number of Dawei civic groups have also used Phuket as a case for their work in Dawei. "Pakpoom Withantinawat, a member of the NHRC Sub-Commission on EU Human Right, said that what has taken place in Dawei is similar to what has taken place in the evolution of many of Thailand's SEOs.