Tycoon Turf
covering burma and southeast asia
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
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COVER STORY

Tycoon Turf


By Aung Zaw SEPTEMBER, 2005 - VOLUME 13 NO.9


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(Page 9 of 14)

With his brother Martin, Serge Pun is widely esteemed by his peers for being among Burma’s most professional and least corrupt business leaders, despite maintaining good working relations with Rangoon’s military government.

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Maung WeikMaung Weik

 

Another of Burma’s young business barons, Maung Weik founded the Maung Weik & Family Co, which first gained prominence a decade ago and has since become the biggest importer of steel and gilding glue—used in the building and maintenance of Burma’s many pagodas. While his company has earned much of its profits from the development and construction sectors, Maung Weik also speculated heavily in the futures markets (beans and pulses) for several years until profits flattened out in 2005, and two years earlier began exporting marine products.

 

Maung Weik stirred up controversy in 2004 with his purchase of 44 acres of Rangoon’s Hlaing Campus (formerly Regional College No. 2). Former university students and faculty were resentful of his plan to build a housing development on the site. Other members of the business community also complained that the campus belonged to the people of Burma and should not be parceled out to investors by the government. Maung Weik’s deal for the Hlaing Campus was reportedly inked by ousted prime minister Khin Nyunt. Rumor now has it that criticism of the deal has led Maung Weik to sell the 44 acres to fellow tycoon Tay Za.

 

Other difficulties have posed problems for Maung Weik, whose company has in recent years earned a reputation for shoddy construction materials and poor service. Such criticism and speculation about Maung Weik’s connections with Khin Nyunt, say fellow businessmen in Rangoon, have compelled the young tycoon to keep a low profile. These reports would seem to have been confirmed as Maung Weik insisted on his exclusion from any discussion of Burma’s top business leaders when contacted by The Irrawaddy, and suggested that many other Burmese businessmen were wealthier and more successful.

 

Perhaps Maung Weik sells himself short. He has considerable connections within Burma’s military government. He is married to the niece of Maj-Gen Myint Swe, the commander of Rangoon Division and head of the newly created Burmese intelligence units, and has given generously to a number of government projects and schools—including a recent donation of 100 million kyat (nearly US $100,000) to Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon.



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