Myanmar Times: “Will business linked to Thura U Shwe Mann escape unscathed?”
By Clare Hammond | 24 August 2015
Since the Speaker of the lower house was ousted from his post as leader of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) after amid night police raid on party headquarters earlier this month, some of country’s most powerful business people have been on edge, according to sources at major conglomerates.
Many of the regime’s top cronies have relied on Thura U Shwe Mann for patronage – past beneficiaries include Htoo Group and Zaykabar Company among others, according to US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
The close link between business and politics is always a risk in Myanmar, he added. “But the political earthquake that just happened was at the highest level. Thura U Shwe Mann was one of the most powerful people in the country. Investors are wondering what is next, and how far this will go.”
However, Ed Ratcliffe, consultant at political advisory firm Vriens & Partners, is more optimistic.
“The upcoming elections are somewhat uncharted territory for Myanmar, so any developments that call the democratic process into question raise concerns for the international community, including foreign investors,” he said.
“There is some concern about how local turbulence is impacting local businesses, but so far this does not seem to have had a knock-on effect for foreign investors.”
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