Residents near the Dawei deep-sea port and special economic zone said they want details of the agreements signed by Burma and Thailand this week, and they want their needs to be taken into account.
Bo Bo Aung of the Dawei Development Association, which has spoken out for residents in land disputes and met with officials backing the Dawei project, called on the governments to provide details of the three memorandums of understanding signed on Monday to reaffirm their economic cooperation on the huge energy and industrial project.
“We do not know about the structures and components of the ministerial-level working group which was appointed by the two countries and which will implement the economic cooperation plans, particularly on achieving progress on the Thai-invested Dawei seaport and economic zone,” Bo Bo Aung told The Bangkok Post, in an article published on Wednesday.
In the past, he said government and company officials have not provided enough consultation and information sharing with local residents, which has caused widespread concern about livelihoods in the agriculture-based region.
He said the two governments and the companies involved in the nearly US$ 60 billion project need to look at the realities of the nearby residents, who would be effected by the more than 200-square-mile project.
Bo Bo Aung said it appeared that the renewed cooperation between the two governments could attract international financial institutions that would soon provide the backing to fund the project. The contractor is Italian-Thai, Thailand’s largest construction company.
“People talk about positive impacts like job opportunities, but the local people here are more skilled in farming than in working at deep-sea ports and industrial estates,” Bo Bo Aung said.
“They should be trained in skills that will enable them to work in the new business environment before imposing the projects on the local people,” he told The Post.