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First Malaysian bank opens in Burma

Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), Malaysia’s leading bank by assets, commenced branch operations in Burma on Monday, becoming the first Malaysian bank to open a branch in the country.

Maybank, the fourth largest bank in Southeast Asia, is one of a growing number of foreign banks gaining a presence in Burma. Japan’s Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd and Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd have already opened for trading in Burma.

In October, the government granted nine foreign banks coveted licences to operate on a limited basis, the biggest move to date, bringing in much needed foreign capital to the fast-growing economy.

In September 2014, Malaysia-based Ho Hup Construction Co announced its’ partnership with Burma’s Zaygaba Co to build a high-end housing development in Rangoon’s Mingalardon Park City, Malaysian daily The Star reported at the time.

Costing an estimated US$200 million, the Mingala Garden City housing complex is expected to have 190 units on the 5,000 square foot property. The Ho Hup firm will retain ownership of the development, while Zaygaba will profit from land rental fees, The Star reported.

In March this year, President Thein Sien and his wife paid an official state visit to Kuala Lumpur. Sein and Malaysian Premier Najib Razak discussed bilateral relations and cooperation, as well as regional and global issues of common interest, according to the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last year, trade between the two ASEAN countries reached almost US$1 billion.