Gov’t Favours Investors Under VFV

By Network Media Group
Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Mon State government has shown its bias towards land investors and businessmen under the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land Management Law (VFV), said the vice chair of Mon State assembly.

More than 9,000 acres in Kyeikhto township and 5,000 acres in Kyeikmayaw township have been leased to investors, said Dr Aung Naing Oo.

“I heard when locals apply under the VFV they weren’t even given an application or told how to apply for it,” Aung Naing Oo told NMG. “When company owners or businessmen go to the office officials willingly give them applications.”

With recommendation from the Mon State government, the land management committee has leased 24,000 acres under the VFV.

The committee gave Zaygabar U Khin Shwe 148 acres to build a cement factory in Kyeik-Mayaw township, Aung Naing Oo said. It’s like the government was saving it for him, he explained.

During parliamentary proceedings, Aung Naing Oo asked what the state government’s criteria was for recommending VFV land tenders.

Htun Htay, minister for agriculture, livestock and transportation, answered recommendations were prioritized based on regional development and job creation.

Aung Naing Oo said the government needs to scrutinize VFV recommendations to ensure the companies follow through with proposals after receiving permission.

The VFV has been criticized by land defenders and many NGOs. About 50 million acres, a third of the land in Myanmar, is affected mainly in ethnic areas where customary land systems have been in place for generations.

Many farmers have lost rights to their land after the VFV was amended in 2018, Aung Naing Oo said.