As protests erupted across Vietnam last weekend, the enactment of an amended law that could alter the face of the country’s military was largely overlooked. On June 7, the National Assembly, Vietnam’s rubber stamp legislature, approved an amendment to a law passed last year that will commit the Ministry of National Defense to substantially reduce the number of military-owned businesses. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia – directly to your inbox In recent years, that number has been winnowed down from over 300 to 88 at present. The new amendment’s aim is to reduce that number to just 18, before divesting the military from almost all of its economic activities. At present, military-owned businesses dominate several areas of the economy, including the crucial telecoms sector. “Once the process is completed, there will be no business units that are entirely economic-driven under the defense ministry,” Vo Trong Viet, head of the National Assembly’s National Defense and Security Commission, said last week at the new law’s enactment. The communist government has argued since it first passed a resolution on the matter in 2007 that the military must divest “non-essential” businesses in order to advance its modernization campaign and readiness to protect national… Read full this story
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