Rangoon ChinaYangon China
A Suu Kyi's husband in Yangon under fire over China-Through Agreement
However, two agreements to bring 2,000 fines from China, valued at more than $100 million, have created an uncommon gap within their National League for Democracy (NLD), with local legislators challenging their costs and blaming Yangon's prime minister Phyo Min Thein, a Suu Kyi protégée, for nepotism and inaccountability.
Making deals with China firms and a business man with connections to the Myanmar regime for many years, the diplomat also said Myanmar's relationship with the West has deteriorated. Whilst there is no proof that the award of the contract violated the law, Roland Kobia, the EU Goodwill Envoy to Myanmar, wrote a personal message to Trade Minister Than Myint complaining about the absence of openness in the award of the contract.
It did not specifically relate to the coach business. Even though China's busses were about half as expensive as Myanmar's competitors, the Myanmar inspectors say they will be worn out and need to be repaired much earlier than the internat. Previously, he and other finance minister argued for the transaction by saying that the intergovernmental treaty with China provided a discounted rate and expedited shipping.
However, the Yangon coach agreement underlines that Suu Kyi's supporters in the West are disenchanted, as Myanmar is becoming more and more inclined to do dealings with China. Last year, Rangoon authorities turned down a suggestion to upgrade the World Bank's International Finance Corporation transport infrastructure, as there were disagreements over the scheme's detail, which necessitated in-depth transport surveillance and an open tendering proces.
The first discussions with prospective operators in France and the Netherlands also failed because they were unable to supply the number of coaches at the pace demanded by the prime ministers, said Diplomates and advocates. The Yangon Bus Company (YBPC), a public-private sector jointly controlled by the municipal authorities, purchased 1,000 coaches from two China based vendors selected by Beijing's ambassadors in Myanmar, Hong Liang.
A further 1,000 coaches were purchased by Kyaw Ne Win, a grandchild of former Ne Win, a former head of the Congregation. In Suu Kyi, whose Western popularity has been tainted by accusations by the Muslim minorities against the Rohingya Muslim community, China and Myanmar have attempted to re-establish relations burdened by the blockade in 2011 of a China-backed hydroelectric power plant by a former semicivilian state.
Suu Kyi and China's President Xi Jinping on a visit to China in September debated how Myanmar could benefit from China's Belt and Road programme of infrastructures, a high-ranking Myanmar officer said in the Myanmar president's chair. A Suu Kyi said that there were some doubts in Myanmar about the intrinsic qualities of China's product, which prompted Xi to suggest the China embassy to find the best supplier, a high-ranking officer of a China based business that participated in the transaction said.
Costs for the cars were fixed at $56,000 each and were initialled on April 11. The selected companies, the state-owned Anhui Ankai Automobil Co Ltd and Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co, each supplied 500 coaches. Zhengzhou Yutong, in private ownership, is headed by Yuxiang Tang, a member of China's National People's Congress.
While Maung Aung said that the two companies were chosen on the basis of unknown selection thresholds, the local government of the provinces in which they are located in China has provided covenants. Agreements of this kind are "very rare", said the managers at one of the chosen China manufacturers, because "in other nations there is usually a tendering procedure and we have to comply with the relevant regulations".
Yangon did not react to inquiries for comments. Whilst an upgrade over the 40-year-old unconditioned cars in which long-suffering Yangon commuteers have been stewing for years, Soe Aung, an engineering who checked the Myanmar coaches in China before the sale, confirmed that they were of lower qualitiy than alternative products in Europe or Japan, which in his opinion would have been about twice as expensive.
According to Western transportation purchasing specialists, the mean life of busses is usually more than twice as long. Following the signing of the agreement in April, some legislators claimed that issues relating to funding, the bus schedule and the choice of fines remained unresolved or evaded. Principal Commander Siron purchased busses from Beiqi Foton Motor Co Ltd - another government agency in China - but refused to talk about the terms of the deed.