Unrest hits domestic business

As foreign enterprises reevaluate their investments, the escalating unrest has thrown domestic business into chaos. Escalating protests and political uncertainty pushed many companies to suspend activities this week, either because their employees have joined a widespread, informal labor strike or because they simply cannot safely travel to work.

In some notable examples: The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry closed its head office and issued a statement denying rumors that it had banned employees from joining protests and was punishing them for not showing up. The Chin State Chamber of Commerce and Industry actually condemned the coup outright.

Furthermore, the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar — one of the country’s largest labor groups — issued a statement saying it would sue officials who fired or otherwise punished employees for protesting.

On the ground, the Myanmar Times interviewed small merchants and shop owners who lamented a tremendous drop in sales among the unrest. U Min Thu, secretary of the MSME Association, told the Myanmar Times that the SME sector is “done for.” Saying that small and medium enterprises, already suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, are now at the brink.

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