Burma

Myanmar Independence Hero to Appear on All Banknotes

By Htet Naing Zaw 16 June 2020

NAYPYITAW—Myanmar will introduce the image of independence hero General Aung San on banknotes of all denominations, according to the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM).

“Banknotes of all denominations in circulation will be printed with the image of the general,” CBM Vice-Governor U Soe Min told reporters in Naypyitaw on Monday.

He also addressed questions about whether the printing can be completed in the 10 months that the current government has left in office, saying “it will depend on how fast they can be printed.”

Myanmar reintroduced the image of Gen. Aung San on 1,000-kyat (US$0.72) banknotes earlier this year after a three-decade pause.

The new 15-by-7 cm 1,000-kyat notes, displaying the assassinated independence leader on one side and the Naypyitaw Parliament on the other side, were well received by the public, with crowds trying to acquire the new notes from banks soon after the note was officially introduced.

Bank officials said the notes have barely been seen in circulation so far as the public tends to collect them and the CBM will therefore introduce the image of the general on notes of all denominations.

The image of the general will be introduced to all 14 banknote denominations, including the 10, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000-kyat notes, replacing the images of elephants and lions that currently appear on some denominations.

CBM officials did not, however, provide details about the total value of the new banknotes it plans to print.

Old banknotes will remain legal tender. The bank will also improve the security and quality of the banknotes in circulation, according to officials.

In November 2017, National League for Democracy lawmaker U Aung Khin Win of Myaing Township, Magwe Region, proposed bringing Gen. Aung San back onto banknotes.

The measure was approved with 286 votes in favor and 107 against, with those in opposition including military representatives and a Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) member.

The same proposal was submitted in 2013 to the Parliament under the USDP government, but it failed.

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, the government began to print notes displaying pictures of lions. In 2009, an elephant was added to the 5,000-kyat note and in 2012, one was added to the 10,000-kyat note as well.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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