No Pension, Gratuity for Outgoing President

By Htet Naing Zaw 22 March 2018

NAYPYITAW — Outgoing President U Htin Kyaw, who resigned on Wednesday, is not entitled to a pension or gratuity or any allowance.

Only presidents who have completed their terms are entitled to a gratuity and pension, and a president who resigns for health reasons is still entitled to a gratuity. But U Htin Kyaw will not receive any entitlements as he did not meet either criteria.

In a short announcement on Wednesday morning, the President’s Office said the president was stepping down “as he wants to retire from his duties.”

“As he did not complete his term, he will not get a pension. As he is the president, he will not get retirement benefits. It is according to the law,” U Aung Kyi Nyunt, an Upper House lawmaker for the National League for Democracy (NLD), told The Irrawaddy.

He praised U Htin Kyaw’s decision to resign from the country’s top job as courageous. “He took responsibility and decided to resign when he was not able. No ordinary person can do like that,” he said.

Lawmakers received considerable sums as gratuities under the U Thein Sein government, according to the law on emoluments, allowances and insignia for union-level officials enacted by the State Peace and Development Council.

“During our term, our salaries were increased from 300,000 kyats [$224] to 1 million kyats, and we got a gratuity of around 5 million kyats calculated on two amounts. NLD lawmakers got less than us because they joined Parliament only after the by-election [in 2012],” said U Ye Tun, a former lawmaker who represented Shan State’s Hsipaw Township.

U Htin Kyaw will move from the presidential residence to a one-story building purchased under the name of his wife, Daw Su Su Lwin, in Naypyitaw’s Ottarathiri Township. The building was bought in 2017, said U Kyaw Min Hlaing, a Lower House lawmaker who represents Ottarathiri.

U Myint Lwin, a lawmaker representing Yangon Region’s Twante Township, said he had initially expected U Htin Kyaw to remain president for his full term but later learned that he would retire at some point because of health problems. He said he was sorry that U Htin Kyaw, whom he called an honest and righteous man, had resigned.

“[State Counselor] Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has said that she would be above the president. So I don’t think there will be big changes because of his resignation,” he said.

“He is an honest man and a hard worker. I think he retired because of his health. I have nothing to say about his performance. I would say he was dutiful as the president as he acted with honesty and righteousness,” said U Thaung Aye of the Union Solidarity and Development Party.

According to the law on security for former presidents of Myanmar, which took effect during the U Thein Sein government, the Home Affairs Ministry will provide security for presidents who have completed their terms.

The Union Parliament approved U Htin Kyaw’s resignation today. On Friday the Lower House will elect a third vice president; one of the three will then be voted the next president.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.