Myanmar coup leader Min Aung Hlaing continues to squander public funds on vanity projects; most recently in an attempt to portray himself as the country’s supreme sports patron. Earlier this month, he awarded more than 1.32 billion kyats (over US $700,000) to Myanmar athletes who won medals at the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam in May—quite a sum considering Myanmar finished seventh among just 11 countries. The junta chief awarded $3,000 to each gold medalist, $2,000 per silver and $1,000 for a bronze, as reported by The Irrawaddy. The Myanmar women’s football team pocketed a cool $100,000 for reaching the final. Myanmar bagged seven gold, 18 silver and 35 bronze medals at the Games. Despite his repeated calls to the public and to regime ministers to tighten their belts, Min Aung Hlaing has been spending freely. Besides splashing huge sums on constructing and consecrating pagodas, he spent more than 1.5 billion kyats on honorary titles that he conferred on generals, ethnic leaders and artists to mark the traditional Myanmar New Year’s Day in April.
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