Good governance must surely be a priority for an economy such as Myanmar that is in the process of embracing a plethora of new players seeking to entrench themselves within the warp and weft of socio-economic fabric. Laying down systems and a framework of law is one of the most important and fundamental tasks for defending Myanmar’s position and priorities, and becoming globally compatible at the same time. Myanmar has been the bastion in which British laws have traditionally prevailed. But now it is time for a reassessment to seek to adopt the best legal framework from what is available and relevant. India can be a good reference point, if not an inspiration for Myanmar. India too has been anchored in the old British system. But its laws have evolved in a very intrinsic and customised manner to be contemporary, unbiased and democratic. Myanmar can study and analyze what the legal system of India offers to pick out what it needs to have. The legislative laws that India has adopted are particularly relevant to ensure the evolution of parliamentary democracy in Myanmar. Myanmar’s government also has the onerous responsibility of ensuring that the opening up process does not lead to any possibility of foreign elements plundering, pillaging or raping of its natural resources. A strong and purposive legal framework would set the rails for systems to prevail in addressing commercial opportunities, the process of fairness and natural justice to be ensured among its people, and the political machinery to be relied upon to deliver balanced progress conducive to the environment.
The government has a duty to protect its people against rights violations, be they workers, consumers, landholders or indigenous folks. Myanmar may, in the short run, be facing shortages in adequate number of trained lawyers, judges and others who may be entrusted to monitor violations. This is where a skill development program may form part and parcel of an integrated legal reform policy. At the end of the day, Myanmar’s compliance management system should be a two-way street, wherein foreign investors follow strict operating guidelines that are subservient to national objectives, and equally, the country, its government and citizens also stay accountable to the promises made to investors and service their expectations of doing good business, the global way. – Ranjit Barthakur, Publisher.
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