Myanmar has undergone dramatic changes since the newly installed quasi-civilian government took power in 2011. President Thein Sein admitted that the country is in bad shape in every sector due to corruption, mismanagement and a decades-long civil war. He initiated limited political and economic reform by engaging with political dissidents, and opening up the economic and financial system to become realistic and competitive.
The conventional wisdom of the peoples of Myanmar is that such a reform process would create a level playing field in the economy and diminish crony capitalists, who had controlled the country's economy for more than 20 years with the help of the previous military regime, albeit gradually. Sadly, the opposite is true.
The cronies have reinvented themselves to fit in with the new playing field. Many of them are now members of parliament and leaders of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), cabinet ministers, presidential advisers and peace brokers _ some have even declared that they are now philanthropists.
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