United Wa State Army which is currently the strongest in terms of finance, equipment, weapons and manpower among all the ethnic armed groups is said to be practicing its salary system as during the days under the Communist Party of Burma (CPB), according to former CPB members.
“UWSA salary is the amount equivalent to 60 Yuan ($ 7.5) for private to battalion commander. Besides, special business permissions are given as well as loans for the starting capitals and stocks. The loans are to be repaid after the business is regulating well,” said a former communist functionary who is currently in Tachilek.
There are additional such as a motorcycle and a farm tractor for squad leaders to platoon leaders or a car for battalion commanders, according to the ranks and positions. Since there are also loans for the military families for doing business and the debts are to be repaid when the business is earning profit, UWSA soldiers are rather satisfied, added the source.
“Commodities for trading and commerce are also allowed to be sold with the stamps from headquarters and they are bailed out if they get caught. After all the goods are returned to headquarters, it returns them to the original persons,” said a young UWSA official from Mong Pawk.
The basic salary for Mong La Army also known as National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS) is starting from Yuan 250 ($ 31.3) reported a source close to the Mong La Army.
“After charge for meals is subtracted from the basic salary, about 125 Yuan is left for the soldiers. Last year, our superiors mentioned to us that if there are no funds for the salary of soldiers and cadres, the superiors, themselves will leave to work abroad to support us,” said a former cadre.
For Shan State Army-South, the basic salary is 10,000 kyat ($ 11.27) for volunteer soldier (equivalent to Baht 390 for soldiers based on Thai-Burma border), 12,000 kyat for permanent soldiers (amount equivalent to Baht 468 on the border), and an extra 2,000 kyat for every rank upward, said an SSA-South official.
“In addition, there are also reinforcements and rewards regarding to the positions and responsibilities of the soldiers,” added the official.
As for government army, the soldiers who finished 2 years in Defense Service Technological Academy (DSTA) are directly promoted to lance corporal, corporal, or sergeant based on the performance with the basic salary of minimum 150,000 kyats ($ 169). The salary for captains is more than 150,000 kyats ($ 169), for majors is about 200,000 kyats ($ 225) and for the higher up are more than 200,000 kyats ($ 225), reported a source close to the army. Nevertheless, the salary of educational civil servants in Myanmar is still 7 times less than those of the neighboring countries, according to an article in Maukkha Educational Magazine.