The Myanmar government is moving ahead with plans to encourage the transfer of foreign embassies from the old capital Yangon to the new one at Naypyitaw, Frontier magazine reported on April 10.

But even government officials admit that the move is a tough sell, Frontier reported. The government has set aside space for 120 plots of land in Naypyitaw, each measuring 2.3 hectares, or 5.7 acres, for the planned relocation of embassies still in the old capital.

But so far, only Brunei has signed an agreement that would, in principle, relocate its embassy to Naypyitaw. Bangladesh has purchased one of the plots in Naypyitaw, but no decision has been made regarding the move.

Meanwhile, up to 100 people have built shacks and are squatting on the plots reserved for embassies. A major reason why the embassies are reluctant to leave Yangon is the lack of facilities such as international schools and hospitals in Naypyitaw.

Poor communications by air and on land with the rest of the country are other issues that would have to be tackled before the Yangon-based embassies would be willing to move. Construction of the new capital named Naypyitaw started in 2002 and was finished in 2012.

In November 2005, the government moved from the old capital Yangon to the new location in the center of the country. The new capital is best known for its wide, nearly empty streets, huge government buildings and hotels which have occupants only when there is a trade fair or a similar, major event in Naypyitaw.

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