The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has instructed the Union of Myanmar Travel Association to postpone an election scheduled for December 2 until March 2013, a ministry spokesperson said last week.
The December 2 election was called because an earlier vote at the association’s annual general meeting on October 7 ended in controversial circumstances: the meeting ran five hours overtime, as many participants took the opportunity to express frustration over what they perceived was a lack of action from the UMTA leadership on soaring hotel room rates.
While 29 executive committee members were sworn in, with Dr Aung Myat Kyaw taking over as chairman from U Mg Mg Swe, the results were later annulled because fewer than 50 percent of members voted. It was the first time that the UMTA has called a re-election since it was established in April 2002.
The association then announced on October 22 that 29 executive members would be selected at a vote on December 2.
The ministry spokesperson said the election would instead be held in March after the ITB Berlin travel exhibition and the ministry will issue guidelines for the vote.
“Minister [U Htay Aung] urged the association to be united. The rules and regulations for the election will be amended after considering advice from the association to the ministry. The advice should be submitted no later than December 7. And the ministry will issue guidelines to ensure the election is legal and fair,” the spokesperson said.
“As we all know, the October 7 meeting was not a good result. Two groups in the association are fighting each other. I don’t want to make any comment about it but the minister wants them to unite.”
A spokesperson from the association declined to comment.