Burmese Vice President Draws Ire With Cost of Living Comment

Vice president, Nyan Tun, Thein Sein, cost of living, inflation

Burmese Vice President Nyan Tun reportedly said just over $2 is a sufficient daily income in Burma. (Photo: Myanmar President’s Office)

RANGOON — Burma’s leaders are under fire for being out of touch after the country’s vice president reportedly insisted that a little over US$2 was a sufficient daily income.

According to Burmese-language weekly Public Image, Nyan Tun—one of two vice presidents in the administration of President Thein Sein—made the comment during an informal conversation that followed a ceremony in Rangoon on Monday to hand out funds to farming cooperatives.

The journal said that Nyan Tun insisted that just over 2,000 kyat, or $2.07, was “enough to survive” in Burma.

“If you get a bit more [than 2,000 kyat], you will be alright,” the vice president reportedly said.

His comments came as low wages and inflation—particularly electricity, accommodation and food prices—mean the cost of living is rising for most Burmese. On May Day, workers took to the streets asking for minimum daily wage of 5,600 kyat.

“His speech reveals how far he is from the people and their lives,” said Phyu Phyu Thin, a lawmaker from the opposition National League for Democracy. “He shouldn’t talk like this. In the meantime, even President Thein Sein has not been able to improve people’s lives.”

His comments spread quickly on social media, drawing sharp criticism from those familiar with the everyday costs of life in Burma.

“Even the cheapest meal can cost you K800. How dare you say K2000 is enough to survive,” one Facebook user complained.

Contacted about the comment, President’s Office Spokesman Ye Htut told The Irrawaddy that Nyan Tun may have been referring to the international poverty line.

“The World Bank said in 2008, if you earn less than $1.25 a day you are poor. It’s likely that the vice president said it based on this,” he said.

This explanation seemed unable to quell the anger the vice president’s comment has stirred, particularly given the high standard of living enjoyed by those in the country’s elite, made up of former military officials and their close associates.

“Why doesn’t he take his salary based on K2000 per day?” another Facebook user said.

Nyan Tun’s official monthly salary is 4,000,000 kyat, or more than $4,000, meaning that each day he earns 130,000 kyat, 65 times the salary he insists is enough to survive.

11 Responses to Burmese Vice President Draws Ire With Cost of Living Comment

  1. Our Burmese vice president looks like Mr. Bean….such an idoit! Shame on you!

  2. Yeah! Right. If you have $ 2 daily legal income plus $ 100 laundered money like regime, it is sufficient for us. However, general public do not steal, Rob or launder money from state funds. Nan tun better lives a day of public life with $ 2 a day. This regime is not just heartless, it is brainless too.

  3. Nyan Htun – 2000 Kyats is enough for one day.

    If he beleives what he said do proof by him and his family member to live on 2,000 Kyats per day. Let us know what how he will spend his 2,000 kyats in one day. If he and his family survived with 2,000 Kyats for one day do let our country people provide a job which we can
    earn 2,000 Kyats / one day Salary within the government.
    Without proof do not preach just for the sake of preaching.

    Winn Winn

  4. He looks like an idiot. He is an idiot. He looks like a dumb one. He is a dumb one. He looks like an ignorant person. He is an ignorant person. How did he become vice president? He was a killer and that was his qualification to become vice president.

  5. I am really distressed to hear that but not surprised at all. You know why? Don’t you see his name is Nyan Tun? I think it means Bright Brain!!! Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Languages apart, get an idea of cost of living and standard of living in present day Burma from the following: walk around rich and glitzy areas of Rangoon and you will see young boys, girls and aged scavenging for rotten food from the trash put out by the few rich. This is about the living. When they die, bereft family members can not afford a decent and deserving funeral – they simply dump the dead body in the dark in heaps of garbage around street corners and back alleys! 80% of school-going-age boys and girls toil in farmlands, tea shops, coolies, begging, stealing, scavenge for recyclable papers, plastics and cans from mounds of garbage. Women work as low paid factory workers, housemaids, sweepers, janitors, beggars, prostitutes and pimps. Men work as low paid construction workers, garbage collectors, beggars, thieves, break-ins (on the increase in Rangoon), extortion, bag-snatchers, etc.

    Look at their physique. Skeletons from Anatomy Classroom of MC 1 or MC 2 (are they still there?). Haggard, sickly, underfed and malnourished.

    Yet stupid U Bright Brain has the face to say that USD 2/day is more than enough for an average Burmese family to live on! And, on the other hand he, Mr. President, Mr. Ministers, Mr. Deputy Ministers, current and former military men, their parasitessss and leechesssss like Tay Za, etc. need and make sure that they pocket USD 2 million or MORE a month, stash it away in their bank accounts in Singapore!

    Fair and caring Mr. Bright Brain!

    Oh Poor Burmese People, learn to be thrifty….live on and make do with USD 1 a day and save the other dollar for ahlu dana for the sangha and zedi and gain merit. USD 2 a day for you is more than you really need to live on according to Mr. Bright Brain!

  6. It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.

  7. Actually He lost on the ground.But he is on the peoples’ radar.Banging the pots and kitchen utensils from our homes is the only way to remind him.

  8. U Nyan Tun better changes his name to Maung Pauk Kyaing.

  9. He got Bachelor of Science Business Management and Phd Comics.


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