Pictures of Myanmar’s late Gen. Aung San were phased out from the bank notes almost 30 years back. The parliament is considering a proposal for bringing the country’s national Hero back on banknotes. National League for Democracy’s lawmaker U Aung Khin Win of Magwe Region’s Myaing, who submitted a proposal, thinks that people would rather like to see banknotes featuring Bogyoke than pictures of a lion or elephant.
Pictures of Gen. Aung San appeared on banknotes for the first time in 1958. He and his 8 other colleagues, were killed in 1948. Other prominent leaders like Thakhin Pho Hla Gyi, who led the first oil field workers’ protest against British oil companies, and Saya San, who was a key figure in the peasants’ rebellion against the British rulers, were also depicted on the 45 kyat note and 95 kyat notes respectively in 1987. These notes were removed from circulation in 1988 after the ruling military regime went against pro-democracy protestors. The new notes featured a lion or elephant on the obverse and famous buildings and landscapes on the reverse. Collectors are still fond of notes featuring Aung San’s image. These notes are sold as novelty items for 1 kyat by street vendors in Yangon.
Another politician who backed the proposal said that other countries depict their national heroes on banknotes and Myanmar should also follow suit. The Central Bank says that the cost of replacing the banknotes could be between 100 billion to 300 billion kyats. The proposer says that new banknotes for replacing damaged notes and new sizes or new denominations could feature the revised design. He also noted that new banknotes have been printed every two or three years. For example, new 5, 000 kyat notes were released in 2009, new 10, 000 kyat notes were released in 2012, and new size of 200, 500, 1000 kyat notes were released in 2014.