Locals from the Parlain Region of Ye Township in Mon State urged the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) to halt the Toyo Thai Corp. coal-fired power project planned for near Anndin Village in Ye Township.
The request was made in a petition and letter handed in at the MIC offices by Parlain locals on 24 August. They were joined by Dr. Aung Naing Oo, the Mon State Hluttaw (parliament) member.
He said: "The Myanmar Investment Commission has to decide whether it should give permission to any foreign companies, after it considers all the data. For the commission to be able to reflect and make decisions, we ourselves went there [to the MIC office] and pressured them with a petition letter."
He said that local representatives had presented letters and made video presentations to the MIC explaining how the coal-fired project could negatively affect Mon people, their culture and natural resources. They asked that the MIC to consider these factors and not support the project.
Dr. Aung Naing Oo also said that according to foreign investment law a company can’t legally invest in a project that could affect native and local people’s culture, heritage and environment or the local ecosystem.
Ashin Visaryada, a local monk who was also present at the meeting with MIC, said: "We have been on the side of the locals since the beginning and we have already sent a letter to the Toyo Thai Corp opposing its project. We have also met with the Mon State Government to report on this matter. But, there has been no response or replies from the government, so now we have gone to the MIC to report it."
In early 2014 the Toyo Thai Corp signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Union Government to build the coal-fired power plant near Anndin Village.
In a 25 April meeting between locals, some state ministers, Hluttaw (parliament) members and Toyo Thai Corp representatives. the locals reiterated that they did not want the project.
On 14 December 2014 about 500 locals staged a protest against the the construction of the coal-fired power plant. They also sent Toyo Thai a letter detailing their opposition to the plant.
However, the Toyo Thai Corp continued with its plans and on 9 April 2015 it signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Union Government.
In response to the MoA signing, in May 2015, about 6000 locals staged another protest at a football field in Anndin Village calling for the project’s termination.
Toyo Thai Corp is continuing with its plans, though due to some difficulties in securing the project it is cooperating with the Win Yaung Chi Oo Company to secretly bid for the land the plant will be built on, according to sources.
Reporting by Arkar for IMNA
Edited in English by Mark Inkey for BNI