Junta’s Former No. 2 Maung Aye Ailing: Sources

By Yan Pai 11 November 2013

The health of Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye, the second-in-command of Burma’s former military junta, is reportedly deteriorating, with the retired general now wheelchair-bound as a result, according to people close to his family.

The sources, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Irrawaddy that the ailing 76-year-old former military leader was unable last month to join his family’s observance of Kathain, a Buddhist tradition in which new robes and other provisions are donated to monks. Instead, Maung Aye had to invite the abbot of a monastery in Rangoon’s Thingangyun Township to his home, where he listened to a sermon by the Buddhist leader, they said.

They also said Maung Aye’s deteriorating health had prompted juniors including Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the current commander-in-chief of Burma’s armed forces, and other top generals to pay visits to their ailing superior in Rangoon.

Min Aung Hlaing, a graduate of the Defense Services Academy (DSA) Intake 19, is believed to have ascended to his current position at the top of Burma’s military hierarchy in part thanks to a recommendation from Maung Aye.

Sources added that the Kathain of Maung Aye’s family was attended by senior military and civilian officials, including Tin Aye, current chairman of the Union Election Commission, and Lt-Gen Win Myint, secretary-3 of the former State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) from 1988-97.

Maung Aye was a graduate of the first DSA intake, in 1955. His classmates include a long list of military men who would go on to hold senior leadership positions within Burma’s ruling military regime.

In March 2011, Maung Aye resigned his senior leadership post, which included a portfolio as deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In 2012, he suffered a stroke and sought medical treatment in Singapore. The former military No. 2 has led a life largely out of the public eye since retiring in 2011 to make way for the nominally civilian administration of President Thein Sein.