NetMission Insight: Youth’s perspective on regional impacts brought by Myanmar’s coup

Written by Arbi Wijaya (Edited by Jenna Fung)

A prosperous and peaceful country is the dream of every resident who lives in it. Peace here refers to the aspects of life that are inherent in state life such as social, economic, political, and cultural aspects. If the fulfillment of these aspects was done properly, it might have a good impact on people’s lives in the country. However, in reality, the dream that is coveted to feel a prosperous and peaceful country is still not being achieved by countries on this earth, one of which is Myanmar. 

Myanmar is a country located in the ASEAN region, which is always stricken by internal conflicts. According to the Transnational Institute (2021), Myanmar is one of those countries with the longest prolonged conflict in the world. The recent military coup in Myanmar has become a serious issue faced by the people of Myanmar. It has caused a lot of criticism by the people of Myanmar and other countries, after incidents that have threatened the safety and welfare of the people there due to this internal conflict. 

The military coup & its impact on Myanmar’s economy
According to Global News (2021), the World Bank has warned Myanmar’s economic sector that they will experience a decline of around 10 percent, since the recent military coup has threatened and interrupted the sector from developing and operating. Protests, strikes, and military actions has led to a decreased mobility, and disruption of public services, including banking, logistics. Additionally, limitation on Internet access has also threatened the productivity in general.

According to the Irrawaddy News (2021), data from DICA (Directorate of Investment and Company Administration) shows a decrease in the number of registered companies by 87 percent, Internet restrictions crippling the digital economy and FinTech, causing e-commerce and online food delivery services to drop to 80 percent, paralyzed banking and cash flow, thousands of people losing their jobs, and many companies that withdrew from continuing to do business with Myanmar.

Security Crisis & human rights abuse
The military coup has an impact on limited Internet access. According to the BBC (2021), the military coup has shut down the Internet almost completely with connectivity down to 16 percent of normal levels. The closure of Internet access was carried out as a form of conflict between the coup parties and civil society who carried out protests against the Myanmar military coup, so that social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter were blocked in order to maintain stability in the community even though in the end this actually limited the community’s freedom to convey his opinion.

According to Kompas News (2021), the longest Internet outage in the world which affected more than 1 million people during 19 months occurred in Myanmar. Human Rights Watch also mentioned that this Internet disconnection made it difficult for people in Myanmar to access more information about the corona virus and hygiene measures during the pandemic.

In additions, based on the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) through the Guardian media (2021), at least 535 people have been killed by the military since the coup, while more than 2,500 people who have been detained.

Based on the explanation above, the military coup actually not only had bad impacts on internal conditions, but this military coup could actually make Myanmar’s external conditions with other countries, companies, and cooperative organizations worse because of the instability of Myanmar’s condition which made external parties withdraw and harm the parties concerned. As a youth, I feel the urge to advocate for our brothers and sisters, and get our voices heard in front of the world.

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About the writer

Arbi Wijaya is currently a final-year student at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Jakarta with a study program of Economic Development. He was one of the selected participants of the Internet Governance Academy for Youth presented by NetMission.Asia. The academy has given him tons of learning which is related to youth advocating on the Internet and governance issues. He was given online training programs in case of gaining his capability about the issues and these sequences have made him aware of all key issues that must be advocated by the youths in Asia.