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Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 19:34
The government has almost doubled its budget for the purchase of new vehicles, including five bullet-proof Mercedes sedans, for the next fiscal year, drawing a swift rebuke from an opposition MP who described the plan as a slap in the face to MPs who take the bus to Parliament.
Lower House MP Min Swe also said government members did not drive around in bullet-proof Mercedes sedans when they were targets of communists and armed ethnic groups. Now, almost all of the armed groups have made peace with the government, but there is no objection if new purchases are said to be for the sake of national security, he added.
The MP who represents Yangon’s DaikU constituency called for the amount set aside for new cars to be cut by 50 percent.
A draft budget for the fiscal year beginning April shows that 18 billion kyats (over US$20m) has been set aside for purchasing new vehicles, including five bullet-proof cars.
The government has earmarked the funds to buy 50 Toyota Camry cars, 40 Mercedes S350s, 30 Audi A-6s, five bullet-proof Mercedes S500L sedans and two Mercedes Pullmans, according to the draft budget unveiled during a session of the Union Assembly in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
Min Swe said that before purchasing the new cars the government should recall that one of its ministers told farmers they should eat just once a day so that they could repay debts to the government.