Indonesia is holding back encouraging domestic companies to invest in Burma, because of the communal unrest involving Rohingya Muslims.
Indonesia earlier this year announced plans to establish an office in Burma to assist Indonesian state-controlled companies, but State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan on Wednesday told the Jakarta Globe the proposal had been delayed.
“The staff had been prepared and the office was supposed to be opened last month, but we delayed due to the Rohingya situation,” Dahlan said.
Many Indonesian companies have expressed interest in doing business in Burma, which is in the process of liberalizing its investment laws to rejuvenate its stagnant economy.
Among the state-controlled Indonesian companies eyeing opportunities are Bank Negara Indonesia, construction firm Wijaya Karya, cement firm Semen Gresik and energy company Pertamina.
Pertamina is interested in accessing Burma’s large untapped energy resources. Proven oil reserves stand at 3.2 billion barrels and gas reserves at 11.8 trillion cubic feet, say officials.
Salis Aprilian, president-director of Pertamina subsidiary Pertamina Hulu Energi, said Burma offers an abundance of opportunities for Indonesian state enterprises because the country has little infrastructure.
“Myanmar reminds me of Indonesia back in the ’60s,” he added, referring to the early period of Indonesia’s economic boom funded by oil and gas exports.