After suffering numerous defeats in recent months, the military’s State Administration Council (SAC) has lost much of its strength and doesn’t have sufficient troops on the ground to defend its bases.
On Saturday, the regime enacted compulsory military service for all adult Burmese nationals in its military reserve. The previous military junta leader Than Shwe approved the compulsory military service law in 2010, but it was never activated until now.
According to the law, both men between 18 to 35 and women between 18 to 27 must complete two years of military service and they’ll receive a salary of 600K kyat each month. Men and women who are educated can participate according to their credentials. In this case, men from ages 18 to 45 would be required to enlist and women from 18 to 35. Professionals must complete three years of service. However, SAC can make everyone serve five years if the country is under threat.
“Our ward administrator and his team collected family registration lists in our ward last week from every house. They also asked how many men were living in the house. I heard that ten people from each ward must serve in the army,” said a man from Kengtung in eastern Shan State requesting anonymity.
A central army reserve recruitment team has been established and there will be divisional, state-level, district, and township-level teams assembled. Anyone who refuses to serve will be sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment.
Government staff, students, and those taking care of their elderly parents, recovering drug addicts receiving medical treatment, and prisoners can apply to postpone their service in the army.
Clergy, married women, disabled persons, and individuals, who receive exemption by the recruitment team, do not need to serve.
Troops under SAC have lost many soldiers and territory during fighting with many ethnic armed groups and People’s Defense Forces on multiple fronts. The regime has tried to rectify these losses by forming People’s Militia Forces (PMFs). The army is providing them with training and arms to carry out operations against the resistance forces in rural areas.