World Trade Centre project embroiled in land dispute

Zaykabar is involved in a land dispute over the site for its proposed Myanmar World Trade Centre mega-project, with local authorities claiming that parts of the area had already been allocated to farmers.

Local press reports said that a meeting was held on 17 October with the Yangon North District General Administration, with discussions focussed on the land use allocated site.

The meeting was reportedly held at the request of the Yangon Region Government.

According to the reports, officials declared that they wanted to halt the project because more than 40 acres of the site had been designated for farm usage, and seven farmers had previously signed JVs to use the land.

The total area of the site is thought to be 125 acres.

U Myint Zaw, General Manager of Zaykabar, was quoted as saying that the land use was not farm-related, and that the developer has valid land-lease contrracts for the site and will start construction work.

He claimed that the company was not aware of the claims made by the farmers, and would not pay any compensation.

It has already sent its proposal to the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) to start the project, and had agreed a 60-year lease for the site.

U Myint Zaw said that during the former government’s term, nine people were sued by an anti-corruption committee for falsifying documents, but he was not aware which group they were affiliated to.

The Ministry of Construction has received Form LaNa (လန) 39 from Zaykabar, he said, to apply to use the land for the new project, and has issued permits.

The LaNa 39 form is used to apply to convert farmland to other uses, and is understood to require approval from both government authorities and the farmers involved. Farmers who do not agree to use the land for other purposes are required to ensure that the land is being used for agricultural purposes.

Press reports also said that there was a dispute over the nature of the assessment team to be used to investigate the land use and compensation.

U Aung Hlaing Win, a lower house parliament member for Mingalardon Township, told the Myanmar Times Daily on 23 October that there was an objection  because the alleged assessment team did not represent the official team for assessing farm lands. 

Project background

The Myanmar World Trade Centre project is set to be built on 125 acres on Yangon-Mandalay Highway Road No.3 in Mingalardon Garden City.

It will be led by Zaykabar and Zhejiang LuDing Investment, a Chinese firm, at a reported cost of some Ks2bn (around $1.2bn).

The two companies signed an agreement to work on the project in April. It is expected to take at least six years to build, and will feature housing, retail space, offices, schools, hospitals and other amenities.

Zaykabar is also involved in disputes with authorities over another large-scale project in Yangon, Mya Yeik Nyo, where work was suspended earlier this year 

The military announced earlier this month that it had suspended work on the scheme due to concerns over late rental payments and "improper cooperation" with a foreign entity.
Zaykabar is partnering with China State Construction Engineering Corporation, a Hunan-based entity, to build the project.