Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Rhys Thompson

Rhys Thompson is an independent consultant based in Myanmar who provides strategic risk advisory services for private sector clients, including MNCs and international risk management firms. Rhys has worked in Myanmar in both diplomatic and private sector capacities since 2010 and has experience conducting in-depth targeted research and bespoke security and political risk assessments.

Articles by Rhys Thompson (15)

  • The National League for Democracy’s drug problem

    Myanmar's Upper House of Parliament recently approved a proposal calling for 'prompt action' in eradicating drugs in Myanmar. Myanmar remains the second-largest poppy producer in the world (despite recent reports of reduction in output), and is an increasingly significant producer of Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS). The latter are more difficult to target since, unlike poppy fields, drug labs can be moved.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi's awkward North Korea problem

    As the NLD celebrated its election victory, the US Treasury announced it had added four North Korean individuals and one company to its targeted sanctions list due to links with the Korean Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), a sanctioned North Korean entity involved in arms trading. NLD supports cheer as the vote-count appears on screen at Party HQ on election night.
  • 'Purge' of Speaker throws Myanmar's presidential race into turmoil

    Last week, the political career of presidential hopeful and current Parliamentary Speaker, U Shwe Mann, took a turn for the worse. On 12 August members of his own political party, the Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP), initiated a 'coup', purging him from the leadership but leaving him a member of the party and speaker of parliament.  Parliamentary speaker U Shwe Mann, 2011.
  • China's moves to win friends and influence people in Myanmar

    In his recent conversation with Sam Roggeveen, Lord Michael Williams made some insightful comments on Aung San Suu Kyi's recent visit to China, suggesting it showed that Beijing was prepared to publicly recognise the importance of other political figures and parties in Myanmar while also sending a message that it was willing to move away from the Myanmar Government. Street scene from Sittwe, capital of Rakhine State, Myanmar. (Flickr/dany13.)
  • Corruption and police reform in Myanmar

    Since Myanmar's political transition began some years ago, the Myanmar Police Force (MPF) has started an ambitious plan of reform in an effort to transform itself into a more professional institution, a topic addressed by Andrew Selth here on The Interpreter. But the MPF still faces significant reputational problems in Myanmar, with a recent Asia Foundation survey suggesting the public holds the Force in low regard. A Myanmar Police Force officer, 25 April 2013.
  • How Myanmar's presidency will be won (part 3)

    In my previous posts, I discussed using the Presidential Electoral College (PEC) as a way of observing lobbying efforts leading up to the 2015 Myanmar elections, while also examining the challenges of winning the support of Myanmar's military, the Tatmadaw. In this post, I examine the issues facing candidates trying to win the support of the civilian contingent of the PEC.  According to the 2008 constitution, one-third of the PEC is comprised of military MPs.
  • How Myanmar's presidency will be won (part 2)

    In my previous post, I discussed using the Presidential Electoral College (PEC; comprised of three groups of MPs: one from each house and one composed of military members) as a way of monitoring lobbying efforts of presidential candidates in the lead-up to the 2015 elections. In this post, I examine the issues facing four likely candidates in winning the support of the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces), which remains one of the most powerful institutions in Myanmar.