Gen. Aung San Returns to Myanmar Banknotes After 30-Year Absence

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 7 January 2020

YANGON – Myanmar has reintroduced the image of General Aung San on banknotes after an absence of three decades.

On Jan. 4, to mark the 72nd anniversary of Independence Day, the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) started distributing the new 15cm by 7cm 1,000-kyat notes displaying the assassinated independence leader and the Naypyitaw Parliament on the other side.

On Tuesday, when the note was officially distributed, it was well received by the public with crowds trying to acquire the new notes from banks.

Some posted pictures of the newly released banknote on Facebook while others gave it to their friends as souvenirs.

Banknotes showing the father of State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi were first printed in 1958, 10 years after he was assassinated along with eight colleagues.

But the notes were gradually removed from circulation amid the rising popularity of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as leader of the pro-democracy movement following the 1988 student uprising.

In the 1990s notes began displaying pictures of lions.

In 2009, the 5,000-kyat note showed an elephant and the 10,000-kyat note also showed an elephant after 2012.

In 2013, parliamentarian U Thein Nyunt for Yangon’s Thingangyun Township proposed the reintroduction of a picture of Gen. Aung San.

He said the pictures of lions were too similar to a political party’s logo.

A CBM representative told the Parliament that lions and elephants were seen as precious in the country but portraits of national leaders would be considered.

In November 2017, parliamentarian U Aung Khin Win of Myaing Township, Magwe Region, proposed the return of Gen. Aung San to notes.

The measure was approved with 286 votes in favor and 107 against from military representatives and a Union Solidarity and Development Party member.

The old 1,000-kyat note showing lions would remain as legal tender, said the CBM.

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