Friday, September 22, 2017

Commander-in-chief retirement age set at 65

As the current commander-in-chief continues to serve a term beyond the typical civil servant retirement age, the Tatmadaw announced yesterday that it has officially defined the goalpost. The head of the defence services must retire at age 65.

The 1959 Defence Services Act has been amended to reflect the new required retirement age, a lieutenant general from the office of the Tatmadaw commander-in-chief told reporters at a press briefing yesterday.

According to a military directive released by the office of the Defence Services Council in 1973, military officials can remain in active service as long as they are needed by the military.

“The phrasing ‘they can serve in the Tatmadaw as long as they are wanted’ is no longer in line with the current political system adopted by our nation,” said Lt Gen Mya Tun Oo. “There was a need to define the term limits and that’s why the Defence Services Council has amended its order and enacted it.”

When Senior General Min Aung Hlaing announced in May that he had no intention of leaving his post, but would instead serve at least another four years to see out the peace process with ethnic armed groups, the decision was met with public confusion over the official retirement policy.

Some argued that the military should be treated the same as civil servants, and so should follow the Civil Service Law with stints terminated at the age of 60.

However, Lt Gen Mya Tun Oo said yesterday that the 2008 constitution’s articles 291 and 292 stipulate that the military must enact its own regulations due to the unique nature of the work.

According to Lt Gen Mya Tun Oo, the retirement age stipulation was in fact changed as of a January 2014 amendment, which specified that the commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw and the deputy can serve until they are 65 years old.

By contrast, in Thailand, military chiefs face mandatory retirement at age 60, while in India the army chief must retire at 62. In the Philippines military retirement is mandatory at whichever comes later, age 56 or 30 years of active service.

Snr Gen Min Aung Hlaing was born in Yangon in 1956 and was part of the Defence Service Academy’s 19th intake. He was appointed commander-in-chief when president U Thein Sein’s government was sworn into office in 2011 and was promoted to senior general in March 2013.