President Thein Sein Admits Corruption, Bribery Are ‘Chronic’ in Myanmar

Thein Sein Admits Corruption, Bribery Are ‘Chronic’ in Burma

Burmese President Thein Sein (left) speaks during a quarterly meeting of senior government officials in Naypyidaw. (Photo: President’s Office website)

Burmese President Thein Sein (left) speaks during a quarterly meeting of senior government officials in Naypyidaw. (Photo: President’s Office website)

RANGOON — Burmese President Thein Sein has said that corruption and bribery are still “chronic” in the country and must be addressed by a change in attitude among government officials.

The remarks were made during a speech at the Presidential Palace in Naypyidaw during a quarterly meeting of senior government officials on Wednesday, according to a transcript published on the official website of the President’s Office.

“Chronic bribery and corruption are still happening in the civil service,” the president said, according to the account of the meeting.

“Civil service officers need to change their morality and spirit to call for an end to corruption. I would like to urge to speed up the anti-corruption processes in the remaining period [of the current administration].”

Burma is ranked among the countries in the world where the perception of corruption is highest, and businesses say corruption poses a serious obstacle to their operations here.

Tackling graft is seen as a major challenge for Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government, which in 2011 took over from the military regime under which cronyism and bribery flourished at all levels of government.

An Anti-Corruption Law was passed in September 2013 and an Anti-Corruption Commission was formed this year. But questions have been raised over how effective the commission will be since it is headed and largely staffed by former military officials or ruling-party members.

Since Thein Sein’s government began opening up the economy—including by holding competitive tenders for telecommunications licenses and oil and gas exploration deals—the country has risen in corruption rankings. In its most recent global corruption perceptions index last year, Transparency International ranked Burma 157 out of 177 countries, compared with a ranking of 172 out of 176 in 2012.


7 Responses to Thein Sein Admits Corruption, Bribery Are ‘Chronic’ in Burma

  1. He accomplishes nothing anyway. It’s not just corruption but his reform is invisible at all. Four years have been wasted without doing much for the country.

  2. Dear President Thein Sein, your Government under your leadership and here specially the Minister and Ministry of Home Affairs Gen Ko Ko need to come up with new laws to replace outdated totally unpractical in today s world and a Myanmar which does not has a socialist economic system anymore. Just alone the from Ne Win Government and outdated ” Foreign Liquor License, Fl17 & Fl 19 ” are a major base and pool for corruption and bribery,- daily business in fear for the whole Tourism Industry of Myanmar.
    Dear Mr President calculate 520 shops in Ngapali Beach and Bagan alone would pay also 800.000 Kyat = the Myanmar Government would earn officially 416.000.000 Kyat near to 500.000 $ US a half a million $ US in Ngapali & Bagan alone.!!!!!…. why the Union and the States Government let so easy go all this giant revenue ???? from selling Liquor alone run away and into some view peoples private pockets….no one will believe that these 520 plus shops are just lucky and pay nothing…..
    12 licenses per township are sold not ,more and the rest 120 to 400 restaurants and illegal small shops as in Ngapali Beach or Bagan alone can not buy a legal; license as this is not existing per old law. Logically they are not lucky to sell and earn revenue without paying for selling liquor,— you all know who is in charge at all for such as well for enforcement and checks,- right Police and Home Ministry Gen Ko Ko….// Change the law, have legal every one which want to open a restaurant or Beach shop on legal land and grounds have an easy chance to pay through bank transfer only ” NO CASH ” anymore no slips….direct into the finance and revenue department of the union which than reimburse the Township departments. Positive side effect Township Departments all of a sudden have cash flow and can enforce your reforms without begging from others,- more people from communities have direct legal business = jobs = poverty eradication as your Main Goal, Mr President. Of Course pockets of Tourist,- Beach, Pagoda etc Police will shrink get smaller,— Gen Ko Ko saves money for smaller uniforms of his staff.

    There is no problem for me with:” Anti-Corruption Law passed in September 2013, an Anti-Corruption Commission formed this year. NO questions need to be raised over how effective the commission will be since it is headed and largely staffed by former military officials or ruling-party members….. simply you must feed these commissions with people which really follow your great visions.
    The question remains if the Myanmar Government can afford a Police and Home Ministry with smaller coffers and slim money lines,—as the President is here right and all is chronic I would even say corruption is in Myanmar s all people already genetic a kind of the Myanmar way of Economic dealings, as no one would give 1 million to earn later just 500.000 right?????
    Dear Mr President take on the ” Foreign Liquor Law ” which even charges money for non foreign liquor which signals already that the wording of the law is already a break of the law when enforced against Local Liquor.— Mr President Free the Tourism Industry of Myanmar from Daily Bribery and Corruption NO One wants it,- but is forced into corruption to stay competitive due to out dated and by wording it self contradicting laws. Miss used by the Ministry of Home Affairs and all the officers which deal with all the 120 to 400 restaurants & hotels in Ngapali Beach and Bagan alone which have not one of the valuable 12 to 14 official licenses where some need to pay 800.000 kyat and others only 600.000 Kyat. Here again the law is old but the charges of these view is modern high. Mr President calculate 520 shops pay also 800.000 Kyat = the Myanmar Government would earn officially 416.000.000 Kyat near to 500.000 $ US a half a million $ US in Ngapali & Bagan alone….. why the Union and the States Government let so easy go all this giant revenue from selling Liquor alone run away and into some view peoples private pockets….no one will believe that these 520 plus shops are just lucky and pay nothing…..
    So Mr President every one will agree that corruption is chronic — but the will to set up new – modern laws, modern state fund collection systems by the Union Government until now is also not there and so promote and supports at same time every day corruption, bribery and Fear in Business in Myanmar…
    Need a money collection system where the one which pays does not has a human but an online account in front him against a slip from another Ministry and department.
    Good Luck,– easy to talk about history better to talk taff and be pro active for tomorrow today.

  3. As long as the ex military personnel from the previous dictator government are leading the ministries as ministers, corruption will never change. Same wine in a different bottle.

  4. Admitting that he is is running a failed regime is his best performance indeed. Myanmar has more prostitutes than Thailand today, according to eyewitnesses.

  5. It’s the virus like AIDS in the country. This is from military regime’s virus. This is what military dictatorship is all about. Nothing good comes out of military rule.

  6. Corruption in Burma is a lot more dangerous than Ebola. There is no cure for it.

  7. Corruption will not go away simply by show-talking. U Thein Sein himself needs to have the will to tackle it with tooth and nail. So far, he hasn’t shown to have that will, despite his smooth talks.
    I am not one against Myanma Tatmadaw. But I am against all corrupt officers, particularly the military officers (retired or not)in civilian services.
    This is the reason why these people are against change from status quo. They have been “trained” so in their secluded atmosphere where personal advantage in economics and business is taken while in office.
    Start with the ministers, and then work downwards. Do it seriously, letting no ends loose. Cancel the president’s definition of allowable minimum “gift” of three lakhs. Not a cent by way of gift must be allowed. Change this attitude of officials: that they deserve “honorable gifts” by juniors; and that juniors, businessmen and the public must demonstrate resistance to bribe-giving.
    Most important: take the department of judiciary away from under the crutches of civil as well as military administration. It must stand independent, with the support of professional (not mercenary) lawyers (judges) and a properly trained police department.
    Bribery and corruption are criminal offenses punishable as such, not by order of civil or military administrations. As it stands, even the military controlled MEHL can order military-style operations, such predawn raids and the use of fire bombs on the monks.
    One more important cause of corruption: the government economic enterprises. Their business operations are opaque, particularly so in joint venture with local or foreign companies. Abolish them for good of the country.

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