The Importance of Town Hall Meetings

June 16, 2018

Since the launch of the New Yangon Development Company (NYDC) in March this year, questions have been raised about the project in the press and social media. It is very encouraging to see the level of interest in this project, both from those who voice support and from those who question some of the choices made by the Yangon Regional Government and NYDC.

Some of the questions raised suggest it would be more appropriate for a Ministry or a committee to oversee the development of the New Yangon City than a special entity like the NYDC, and whether it’s appropriate for the government to go into business. Others feel that it could turn out to be another “vanity project,” and believe the focus should be on improving the current city of Yangon instead. Questions have also surfaced on why Hong Kong-listed China Communications Construction Company Ltd was chosen to kick-start Stage 1 of the NYDC Challenge, and whether the process has been transparent enough and if it is fair competition.

The public is interested.

I’ve been in business for a long time, and in my experience, one thing that is clearly important to achieving common goals is the need to establish effective communications with all stakeholders and the public at large. The process is never easy – sometimes it’s contentious – but if we listen and respect one another, we all invariably end up in a better position consequently.

Regarding matters of importance to the public, I believe that good policy requires input from all sides, and open discussions on the problems we face will enable us as a nation to find real solutions.

The NYDC team will be organising our first town hall meeting in Yangon on the 23 June to provide an opportunity and a forum for those who are interested in the new Yangon city project to express their views and offer their ideas. It will also provide us with the opportunity to disseminate factual information so as to dispel any misinformation, speculation or unfounded rumours.

The town hall will be a panel discussion with four panelists including myself. Some of these panelists themselves have already raised some good, thought-provoking questions about the project.

  • U Khine Win is the Founder of Sandhi Governance Institute and an academic with a strong interest in public-private partnerships and public policy.
  • U Ye Myat Thu is a member of the Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC) and a founder of Alpha Computer Mandalay.
  • U Zaya Thu is the Managing Director and Deputy Chief Editor of The Voice Journal, a political and economic commentator who is a trained civil engineer who went into the field of journalism.

The panel discussion will be moderated by U Aung Chi Khin, an entrepreneur who started a higher education school – Strategy First Institute — offering programs and international accredited courses to Myanmar students.

It would be naïve to think that we will all have the same views. Disagreements over legislation, implementation, and fundamental beliefs will always exist. But despite these disagreements, it will be possible to find common ground because at the heart of every issue is the desire to find solutions that make life better for every Myanmar citizen.

Please join us in our first NYDC Town Hall meeting on Saturday, 23 June —Register here

Regards,

Serge Pun

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