Myanmar scraps property projects under pressure from monks

July 08, 2015 08:52
One of the projects cancelled was a US$300 million luxury condominium near Myanmar's holiest Buddhist site, the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Photo: AFP

Myanmar has scrapped plans to build five real-estate developments near the country's holiest Buddhist site in Yangon after months of pressure from nationalist monks.

The projects, including a US$300 million luxury condominium supported by international investors, had all received prior government approvals, the Wall Street Journal reported. Construction had started on some of them.

The cancellation of the projects underscores the rising influence of powerful monks in the Buddhist-majority country, the newspaper said.

Zaw Than Thin, secretary of the central government, said the government had to respond to the concerns of monks and others worried about harm to religious buildings.

Talks with the investors are going on, he said, adding that they would be fairly compensated.

Most prominent of these projects was the planned Dagon City mixed-use project by the Marga Group, a property developer led by executives from Hong Kong and Britain.

The US$300 million project, which occupies 22 acres of land previously owned by the military, would have seen the construction of hundreds of luxury apartments to meet the strong demand for such homes.

Luxury condominiums and grade-A office space in the country are as expensive as in wealthy Singapore, the report said.

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