Military leaders promoted in by-elections' wake

Military leaders promoted in by-elections' wake

Several high ranking military officials, including the Tatmadaw’s commander in chief, have been promoted.

According to an article in state newspaper New Light of Myanmar, the Defence Services’ commander in chief, Min Aung Hlaing, was promoted from the rank of general to vice-senior general.

The military’s deputy commander in chief and the heads of the Army, Navy and the Air Force were promoted as generals from their previous lieutenant- general ranks. Department bosses from the Office of the Commander in Chief in Naypyidaw were also given promotions.

The military promotions, granted by the Office of the Commander in Chief, coincide with the National League for Democracy (NLD)’s landslide victory in the by-elections held on 1 April. However, military promotions are rarely public events. As in this case, promotions are revealed when an officer’s title changes within an article published in a state paper.

NLD patron and the country’s former military head Tin Oo said the government cabinet issue promotions only after proposals are sent by the deputy defence minister and the defence commander in chief.

“It wasn’t like this back in our times – it took me nine years to become a lieutenant colonel… promotions didn’t come very often. But now it seems like they are giving a lot of promotions to fill up all the vacant positions,” said Tin Oo. “There are far too many generals in the military now – it is looking like a person with a head bigger than the body.”

He said the promotions come at a cost and stretch the country’s budget.

“When [someone] is appointed general, then it is necessary to give him a general’s privileges such as vehicles, house servants and security, etc.,” said Tin Oo

The NLD official also criticised awarding honorary civilian titles to the military’s command in chief and other officials during the 67th Armed Forces Day celebrations last week. The party said such titles are reserved for people working in civil sectors not for military brass.

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