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Myanmar Needs ‘Responsible Investments’ to Develop, Suu Kyi Says

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said the country needs clean courts, a more efficient law enforcement and an independent judiciary, which is “one of the first requirements for the rule of law.” Photographer: Tomohiro Ohumi/Bloomberg

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Myanmar needs “responsible investment” of foreign capital as it seeks to accelerate economic development, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said.

The country also needs to improve its rule of law and democratic reforms must take place soon, not by 2015 when general elections will be held, Suu Kyi said at a conference in Singapore yesterday.

“If you are going to try to revive the economy, you need capital,” Suu Kyi said, when asked whether investors should wait for more political stability before committing resources to the country. “I wouldn’t advise you to draw out. I would like you to continue your investments. But make them as responsible as possible.”

Myanmar’s shift to democracy after five decades of military rule has attracted interest from companies including Google Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and Unilever Plc, while MasterCard Inc. last September became the first payments network to issue a license to a bank in the country. Chinese and Japanese companies are also investing in the nation, which borders India, China and Thailand.

Still, the investment scene in the Southeast Asian nation “is not as bright as people had hoped it would be” and investors “are not sure that their investment will be safe and secure because there isn’t a rule of law,” Suu Kyi said.

The country needs clean courts, a more efficient law enforcement and an independent judiciary, which is “one of the first requirements for the rule of law,” Suu Kyi said. Establishing a firmer rule of law will include changes to the Myanmar constitution, she said, without giving details.

To contact the reporter on this story: Klaus Wille in Singapore at kwille@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stanley James at sjames8@bloomberg.net

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