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Army officers to receive half of sa

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
November 09, 2000, Thursday

Army officers to receive half of salary in foreign exchange certificates

Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 6th November

DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned from a reliable source
that beginning January 2001 all officers from sub-lieutenant upwards
of the Burmese military will receive half their salary in FEC [Foreign
Exchange Certificate; 1 FEC unit equals 1 US dollars].

Since last April, all government employees and Defence Services
personnel have enjoyed only a five-fold raise in their salaries. As
the discrepancy in privileges still exists between the junior military
officers and the top brass, the scheme to pay half the salary in FEC
came into consideration. The main factor the junior officers point out
is that some commodities at the big department stores in the big cities
can be bought only with USD [US dollars] or FEC. The people in the
military who can afford to carry FECs are the generals and the top
brass. That is why the Controller of Military Accounts of the Defence
Services has decided to give half the salary of military officers in
Burmese currency, kyat, and the remainder in FEC from January
2001 to solve this discontentment. This report was filed by DVB
correspondent Nay Myo Aung.

Furthermore, Capt Sai Win Kyaw, who is at the Thai-Burma border,
told DVB that the scheme to give half the salary of the military
officers  in FECs goes to show that the SPDC [State Peace and
Development  Council] itself does not believe in the Burmese kyat.

[Capt Sai Win Kyaw] As for me, this shows the present SPDC
military  government's lack of trust in their paper currency, the kyat.
Due to high  inflation and the drop in value of the kyat, the SPDC
itself does not have  faith in their own currency. I believe that the
scheme to give half the  salary in FECs is a move to lure all the
military officers to their side.

[DVB correspondent Khin Hnin Htet] Do you think this is the
correct way to organize the military officers?

[A] I don't think so. It will be all right if they can give the FECs to
all the  government employees in the administrative machinery.
But now that  they have only chosen military officers, it is like
discriminating the military officers from the other ranks and
secondly, it also seems like  differentiating the military officers
from other civil officials. I do not see  this as a very good prospect.

[Q] Capt Sai Win Kyaw was jailed for over 10 years for
participating in the  1988 mass democracy protests. After his
release from jail he came to the  Thai-Burma border. Capt Sai
Win Kyaw also said this scheme of enticing the military officials
with the FEC bait also increases the peoples'  dissatisfaction.

[A] This could really lead to some discontentment. I mean,
if the lower  ranks  in the military, state employees, and officials
from the civil  administration  feel that they are being discriminated
I do not think the  SPDC military junta's administrative structure will
last too long.

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1245 gmt 6 Nov 00