(Opinion) – Industrialization has only barely begun yet an epidemic of land grabbing has already left thousands of farmers and landowners by the wayside in Burma. The lack of an effective judicial system is fanning the epidemic, and it is one of a host of serious issues that must be addressed before long-term progress can be made.
It will not abate unless some urgent measures are taken by the government to curb unlawful confiscation by entrepreneurs and government departments.
As Thein Sein’s government grapples with a multitude of issues such as preventing widespread religious conflict, the peace process, the problem of land confiscation is brewing and has a potential to boil over if not tackled effectively, as do many other issues affecting daily life.
The judicial system is just one of the many institutions in the country that the military dictatorship dismantled when it ran the country like a boot camp. The government wants to democratize, but the country is so broken it cannot move forward effectively at a rapid pace. How to reshape the mind-set within the judicial system is one of the most serious problems.
Burma's civil society is also in shambles. Law, education, transportation, education, health and communication have been decimated for half a century. It's like the country is a time bomb and time is of the essence now. With new freedoms come new expectations.
The potential for chaos is enormous if the government is not successful in reshaping governmental attitudes put in place over decades. It should delay the industrialization process until the country is more stable and it has established an effective legal structure.
It is welcome news that a massive funding by international donors is in the works. But the government must ensure that the funds also serve the poor in rural and urban areas. Job creation in agriculture, cottage industries, small businesses, vocational training, and micro financing are urgently needed and should be in the forefront of economic development.
President Thein Sein should take a very strong stand on these issues.
It’s time for him to once again show his vision as a strong leader when he opened up the country, and most recently when he suspended the Myitsone Dam project. There will be a lot of resistance from different quarters, but he needs to take things into his own hands.
Burma is now like a Pandora’s box with many issues waiting to pop out. President Thein Sein must show the leadership necessary to move the country forward in a quick and efficient manner.