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MP Khin Maung Nyo from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has submitted an urgent proposal to parliament, urging the government not to change to the retirement age of civil servants, keeping the age of retirement at 60.
“In the government sectors, there are a total of more than 1.3 million civil servants—more than 0.9 million monthly wage earners and more than 0.1 million daily wage earners—across the country,” the MP said.
“In the private sectors, there are 7.3 million employees, more than one million employers, 8.7 million private entrepreneurs, more than 0.9 million job seekers, 3.9 million family businesses owners and over 0.35 million retirees.
“The expenditures for the government servants are directly incurred by the state’s fund. So it is crucial for the government to place a special emphasis on an increase and decrease in the number of staffers at a time when efforts are being made for the country’s economic development”
He added that recently, there has been widespread news that the retirement age of civil servants would be increased from 60 to 63. While some older civil servants reported being happy with the news, some middle-level staffers and unemployed youth said they were very worried about it.
Khin Maung Nyo also said that plans to extend the retirement age of a civil servant from 60 to 63 need to take into account several factors, such as less employment opportunities, roadblocks to promotion for middle-level staffers, health care to older staffers, the benefits of applying senior experience in NGO/INGOs, and brain-drain.
“Regarding the military, they can perform dutifully only when they are young and active. It is impossible for the army to include old-age persons,” he said.
“The retirement age of 60 years should remain unchanged in accord with people’s wishes. If the situation calls for the extension of retirement age, the facts such as the country’s population, life span, the number of working-age people, literacy rate, the retirement year, unemployment rates, economic conditions, gross domestic product (GDP) values and health care should be taken into consideration.”
The retirement age of civil servant is 60 years in India, 60 years in Malaysia, 58 years in Nepal, and 60 years for men and 55 years for women in Russia and Vietnam respectively. The retirement age of civil servants in ten ASEAN countries including Burma is 60 years.
He compared the average life span of people in China, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, India and Laos. The average life expectancy of men is shorter than that of women. Burma’s average life span is 66 years (64 years for men and 68 years for women), so the retirement age of civil servant should be 60 years, as the USDP member argued.
News of the plans to increase the retirement age spread earlier this month, however, the chairman of the Union Civil Servants Board denied such plans existed.
Rumours also abounded that secret political dealings took place between President Thein Sein and Defence Services Commander-in-Chief Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, which allegedly involved discussions of extending the retirement age in order for the Senior General to continue serving in his current position.
Further enforcing the rumor was a front page article published by Tomorrow news journal titled “Two years for President Thein Sein and three years for Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing”.
The author of the article, Lat Saung Htet, has written a series of articles on the previous government’s the former leader, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, and his family members, which was titled “Legends of the Princess”.
Tomorrow has close relations with graduates of the military university’s 25th batch of graduates, within which were some who were close to Min Aung Hlaing.
Some of the more notable graduates are the Chief of Military Security Affairs Lt-Gen Mya Htun Oo, Director of Public Relations and Psychological Warfare Gen. Aung Ye Win, Commander of Yangon Region Command Maj-Gen Htun Htun Naung, and Commander of Naypyidaw Command Maj-Gen Maung Maung Aye.
Within the article published by Tomorrow were also analysis of Myanmar’s political landscape beyond 2015, in which the journal stated that President Thein Sein will rule for two more years while Min Aung Hlaing will continued for three more.
“If the military were to submit the current President Thein Sein as a candidate for presidency, it is highly likely that he will be chosen as the next president due to votes from the army, votes from ethnic parties with close relations to the current government and votes from smaller parties under the beckoning of the army,” wrote Lat Sanug Htet.
“Although, due to the failing health of President Thein Sein, retirement after a 2 year term will mean the possibility of Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing being the next in line for the vacant seat,”
Two days after the article was published, Khin Maung Nyo made his urgent request was made to the Union Parliament to keep the retirement age limit unchanged.
Eleven Media Group CEO Dr. Than Htut Aung said that extending the retirement age to 63 should not be done at the moment, although it may be considered at a later time.
“Even if it were to happen in 2017-2018 fiscal year, meetings and discussions covering all possible points and factors should be happening right now. It should never be done in 2016-2017,” he said.
“It should not even be considered under the current government. After four years, the budget deficit is now over US$10 billion. Within four years, the value of the kyat dropped by 30 percent to 50 percent. IMF has warned of money inflation. Attempts to lower the value of one US dollar to under 1,200 kyat have been to no avail. The financial collapse in China is starting to affect Myanmar as well.
“So I agree with the decision of the parliament to avert danger by preventing an act which will further increase the budget deficit amidst the current situation. Do not be selfish. If the country’s economy collapses, the citizens will suffer. Therefore I strongly object the decision to extend the retirement age.”
The urgent submission by MP Khin Maung Nyo, which was supported by MP Kyaw Than, will be discussed in the Union Parliamentary session to be held on 9 July.