News

Operations resume for many Singapore businesses in Myanmar as they closely monitor situation


SINGAPORE: Operations have principally resumed for Singapore businesses in Myanmar, recovering from momentary disruptions earlier in the week after a navy coup in the nation.

But many declined touch upon their outlook for the long run, citing uncertainty over the evolving situation and political sensitivities, and are monitoring developments closely.

The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) instructed CNA that it has reached out to Singapore firms with a presence in Myanmar.

“The situation in Myanmar is fluid and still unfolding. SBF is in touch with Singapore companies with operations in Myanmar,” mentioned SBF’s CEO Lam Yi Young in an emailed response.

“The companies we have spoken to shared that they are monitoring the situation to see how it evolves.”

READ: Singaporeans in Myanmar say situation appears ‘calm’ a day after military coup

Myanmar’s navy seized power on early Monday (Feb 1) in a coup in opposition to the democratically elected authorities of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained together with different leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) occasion.

The navy, which declared a one-year state of emergency in Myanmar, mentioned it had carried out the detentions in response to “election fraud” in the final election held final November, which the NLD gained in a landslide. 

Media studies on Wednesday night time mentioned Myanmar police had filed charges in opposition to Aung San Suu Kyi for allegedly illegally importing communications gear and he or she will probably be detained till Feb 15.

READ: Myanmar police file charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi under import-export law

For agriculture agency Golden Sunland, which ventured into Myanmar in 2016, information of the navy coup was surprising.

Co-founder David Chen recalled having difficulties contacting the group primarily based in the nation’s capital on early Monday. It took a couple of “unsettling” hours earlier than they bought in contact with the 60-person group, which included Mr Chen’s father who’s the corporate’s chief govt officer.

The firm has requested its Myanmar workplace to be closed for the week till it has readability on the situation. Certain firm tasks that require in depth stakeholder engagement on the bottom have been halted.

But its key rice farming actions in Naypyitaw and Bago have continued with out disruption all through the political developments.

Asked about contingency plans, Mr Chen mentioned the agency already had a “supply chain resilience framework” in place and didn’t count on to see any materials change to what had been carried out beforehand.

In truth he sees “business back to the new usual within a week” given how financial institution and flight operations, as nicely as most communication companies, have resumed, he instructed CNA.

Singapore-based funds platform supplier 2C2P mentioned its service in Myanmar was affected on Monday for about 10 hours on account of disruptions in telecommunication companies.

All of its companies in the nation have resumed operations, its Myanmar nation head Pyay Nyein instructed CNA on Wednesday.

“All our employees in Myanmar are contactable and safely accounted for. We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” he added.

READ: Foreign companies scramble to assess fall-out in Myanmar after coup

UOB quickly shuttered its department in Yangon on Monday. The department has since reopened and stays in operation, mentioned a financial institution spokesperson when contacted on Wednesday.

“We continue to meet our customers’ banking needs,” she mentioned.

OCBC, the opposite Singaporean lender with financial institution branches in Myanmar, famous that its department in Yangon has been on split-team operations because the COVID-19 pandemic erupted final 12 months.

“We will proceed to monitor the situation, bearing in thoughts that the protection of our workers and prospects are of paramount significance,” said the bank’s head of operational risk management Patrick Chew.

Singapore-listed conglomerate Yoma Strategic, whose businesses range from property development to tourism in Myanmar, said some of its businesses were disrupted intermittently on Monday due to telecommunication outages in the aftermath of the coup.

These business operations, including its KFC restaurants, have since resumed but office employees have been asked to work from home this week, its chief executive officer Melvyn Pun said in a business update to the bourse operator on Tuesday.

READ: Myanmar nationals in Singapore express disbelief over military coup back home, worry about families

Over at Keppel Land, which owns commercial properties in Yangon, it was business as usual. 

“There has been no disruption to our operations so far,” said a company spokesperson. “We have taken the necessary precautions on the ground and are monitoring the situation closely.”

STILL ASSESSING THE SITUATION

Beyond this, businesses said they were still assessing the situation and would not be able to comment on the long term.

“We have the same information as everyone else, and we do not have sufficient information to comment on this at this stage,” said 2C2P’s Mr Pyay Nyein.

Yoma Strategic said the political situation in Myanmar remains unclear at this stage as it continues to evolve and could potentially bring about “a change in business sentiment”.

“It is still too early to ascertain the longer term impact to the group’s businesses,” said Mr Pun in the filing to the Singapore Exchange. 

“The company will continue to closely monitor the political developments in Myanmar and provide further updates as and when there are material developments.”

READ: UN wants to ‘make sure’ Myanmar coup fails: Guterres

Similarly, Memories Group, a spin-off of Yoma’s Myanmar-focused tourism arm, said it remains too early to assess the impact of the latest political developments on its business.

But it “could be reasonably assumed that interest of tourists from Western countries would be dampened in the near future”, said its chief executive officer Cyrus Pun in a separate bourse filing on Tuesday.

This comes amid a COVID-19 pandemic that has already impacted the tourism sector in Myanmar. At the moment, only one of Memories’ hotels remains open and continues to receive guests. Others are closed due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Memories said the outlook on Myanmar’s tourism sector would largely depend on how long the country takes to return to normalcy.

Over at Golden Sunland, Mr Chen said the firm is still holding on to its vision of transforming rice production and consumption.

“We are definitely reviewing our business model, particularly bringing forward some of the digitalisation plans. It is premature to talk about exit. We survived the first black swan (that is COVID-19), we can survive the second,” he told CNA.

READ: US leads condemnation as Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi charged after coup

Asked if he was involved about the potential of worldwide sanctions in opposition to Myanmar, Mr Chen mentioned: “At a personal level, because we work so closely with the small farmers, we understand that sanctions would affect them drastically.

“Pandemic, political change and economic downturn due to sanctions – the triple threat is going to cripple the lives of people who are already struggling. The challenge Golden Sunland faces is real, but not as staggering as the people of Myanmar, it is something we have to be sensitive and tactful about.”

Source Link – www.channelnewsasia.com

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eighteen + 15 =

Back to top button