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Myanmar parliament calls for halt to Parkway hospital project in Yangon

The US$70-million, 250-bed hospital broke ground in January this year, and was to be developed and operated by a joint venture consortium comprising majority shareholder Parkway Healthcare Indo-China. 

MYANMAR: Politicians in Myanmar’s lower house called for a stop on Thursday (May 12)  to the Parkway Yangon Hospital project.

The new hospital, costing US$70 million, was to provide a 250-bed private medical facility in downtown Yangon.

The previous government had approved the project, saying it would improve the healthcare standards and services to the Myanmar citizens, but the decision was reversed by the Lower House.

The project met with heavy criticism from some parliamentarians, medical practitioners and citizens. They argued that the project is sitting on government-owned public land, and it should therefore be a public facility.

As a private hospital, some pointed out that many citizens would not be able to afford the services provided. They also questioned the former government’s decision-making process on private projects.

According to an earlier press release by IHH Healthcare and Parkway Pantai, the hospital is located at downtown Yangon on a 4.3-acre plot of land leased for 50 years at prevailing market rate, with the option of two 10-year extensions.

The hospital was to be developed and operated by a joint venture consortium comprising Parkway Healthcare Indo-China (52 per cent), Singapore-incorporated Macondray Holdings (10.5 per cent), Myanmar-incorporated AMMK Medicare Company (21.5 per cent) and Global Star Company (16 per cent). 

Parkway Healthcare Indo-China is the wholly-owned subsidiary of IHH Healthcare, which is the second-largest healthcare group by market capitalisation. 

In response to media queries, Dr Lee Hong Huei, Head of Southeast Asia at Parkway Pantai, said they have not been approached by the Myanmar government on the issue. 

"The build-operate-transfer agreement for the hospital project was formalised on Jan 29, 2016 and all contractual obligations to date have been fulfilled. Our intent is to work effectively with the local medical fraternity to elevate healthcare service standards through training, as well as knowledge and technology transfers," said Dr Lee. 

He added that Parkway Pantai will await official notification from the Myanmar government before reviewing its options.