Saturday, October 22, 2016
The Myanmar Times
The Myanmar Times

Waqf family fight for downtown property

Buildings rented to the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development in Yangon must be returned to the family that owns them, the official spokesperson for the family announced.

A view of downtown Yangon. Photo: AFPA view of downtown Yangon. Photo: AFP

Mohammed Ebrahim Munnee Waqf has claimed he owns the vacant building that once housed the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism on Sule Pagoda Road and a second vacant building on Merchant Street between 33rd and 34th Street.

The Sule Pagoda Road property is scheduled to go to auction through the Privatisation Commission, though at what date remains uncertain. The fear of losing their property to a private investor most likely looking to turn the property into a hotel has added a new sense of urgency to the case.

The family has sent letters the petitioning the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development (DHSHD) and Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) in February for not handing over the premises to him but has received no reply.

“These two buildings belong to Mohammed Ebrahim Munnee Waqf and he has continuously managed them. According to documents we can prove that the buildings belong to Ebrahim Munnee,” said U Mya Thaung, the official spokesperson for the family.

“These two buildings were owned by Mohammed Ebrahim Munnee’s grandfather. He bought them in 1918. The Waqf family has many contracts and agreements written in English and I’ve notarised [Myanmar] translations as well for evidence,” he said.

Mr Waqf has been reluctant in the past to make demands of the government, but said that he feels safe doing so now as reforms have taken place. Letters have been sent to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Ministry of Construction, DHSHD, Human Right Commission and Myanmar Investment Commission.

U Mya Thaung said that the family has paid all necessary property taxes to YCDC. He added that according to documents from YCDC and the Land Administration Department the property owner of the two buildings is Mohamed Ebarahim Munnee.

“Most of the government buildings have moved to Nay Pyi Taw and the two premises are vacant. So, the two buildings are not necessarily needed by the government,” said U Mya Thaung.