Sunday, 26 May 2019

Vietnamese Party leader calls for calm over SEZ bill

Updated at Sunday, 17 Jun 2018, 16:52
The Hanoitimes - “No one is so foolish and naive to let outsiders take the land for bad purposes,” Secretagy General of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong stated when referring to the controversial draft law on Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which has been deferred for adoption earlier this week.
Trong made the remark at the meeting with voters in Hanoi this morning (June 17), noting the passage of the bill was delayed for further adjustments, study and completion. He also mentioned the recent adoption of the cyber security draft law during the 14th National Assembly (NA)’s fifth session. 
Vietnamese Party's leader Nguyen Phu Trong
Vietnamese Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong
Both draft laws drew different opinions from the public during the last NA’s session, according to the Vietnamese leader. 
Regarding the SEZ establishment, the Vietnamese government has long advocated for this with late Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet in 1990s taking field trips to Van Phong in Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa province, Trong noted.  
The establishment of SEZs of effective mechanisms and foreign investment attraction, etc. is a challenging and sensitive journey, which has been carried out carefully, Trong said.
He also stresed that the goverment has been always listening to the public, evidenced by the recent delay of passing the SEZ bill.  
“Yet on June 10, some objects still provoked people into protesting and opposing the law. This shows that they have other hidden motivations," the Party leader said. 

The SEZs are slated to be formed in Van Don in Quang Ninh province, Bac Van Phong in Khanh Hoa province, and Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang province.
Over the most controversial point of the SEZ bill regarding land lease of up to 99 years, Trong specified, investors looking into leasing land in those areas must present their specific investment plans and it’s not like giving the land for “the A country or the B country”. 
Trong said, bad actors tap into this provision, claiming that it may harm the national security and violate national sovereignty if foreign investors, especially Chinese, are allowed to rent land for up to 99 years in these areas. “It’s obvious that the patriotism has been taken advantage of for fueling the riot, protests,” he pressed. 
The nature of the matter is that the truth was distorted with the presence of “destructive elements”, Trong added, referring to counter-revolutionary people. The Party leader then called for the people to stay calm, keep alert and trust the leadership of the Party and the State. 
The NA started discussions on the SEZ draw law last November. The bill has sparked public objection, and experts who disagree with it have expressed uncertainty about the efficiency of the SEZs.
One of the most controversial provisions of the current draft was the leasing of land in the three strategic locations to foreign investors for 99 years, while current land law allows investors to rent land for up to 70 years.  Now the bill is scheduled to be discussed again at the National Assembly’s next session in October.
Cam Anh
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