22 October, 2020

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Should Our Legislator’s Remuneration Be Increased?

By Rajeewa Jayaweera

Rajeewa Jayaweera

Rajeewa Jayaweera

The Prime Minister has recently spoken in Parliament of the need to substantially increase salaries of our legislators. He is of the view current salaries were grossly inadequate. The Prime Minister believes higher salaries will reduce corruption and attract better talent to the legislature.

As at today, an MP earns a salary of Rs 54,285. Allowances are paid based on Rs 1,000 for entertainment, Rs 3,500 for a chauffeur, Rs 2,000 for a mobile phone and Rs 500 for each time he or she attends parliamentary sittings. A reimbursement scheme of Rs 10,000 for their private staff is in force. Each legislator receives between 283 and 639 liters of diesel a month based of the distance between Colombo and each member’s constituency. The Tax Free vehicle permit currently valued at Rs 22 million based on a six year term of office, when sold would provide each legislator with an additional monthly income of Rs 305,555. Legislators are eligible for a state pension after serving a mere five years in Parliament. Food at highly subsidized rates are available for legislators at the Parliament Cafeteria.Ranil Maithree

Picture via Facebook – Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Sri Lanka

Theoretically, the Prime Minister’s view of higher salaries reducing corruption and attracting better talent has merit. It is a theory espoused by the former Prime Minister of Singapore, the late Lee Kuan Yew who believed in paying very high salaries to cabinet ministers, similar or higher to those of top end CEOs in the private sector, enabling them a high standard of living without resorting to tender bending and other corrupt practices.

However, the Prime Minister’s proposition, as is the case with most theories of our politicians looks at the issue from a narrow rather than a broader perspective.

Both in the state and private sectors, employment at the beginning of a career is based on educational qualifications to commensurate with the job position besides participation in extra circular activities. Such qualifications need be supported with work experience and at times, with post graduate qualifications as the individual progress in his or her career.

What would be the minimum educational qualifications and professional experience required in the state and private sectors today, for a job seeker to qualify to apply for a position entailing a remuneration package in excess of Rs 400,000 per month (this figure excludes Parliamentary sitting allowance of Rs 500 per day and contain minimum diesel allowance)?

How many of our current legislators, let alone a basic degree, have successfully completed GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels? Of course, having a degree is not the sum total of it. During the Rajapaksa administration, one enlightened minister, a graduate and one time tuition master stated Rs 2,500 was sufficient for a family of four to lead a comfortable life for a month. On that basis, he and all his colleagues are grossly overpaid.

In a country where even an ordinary bus driver in the state bus service require minimum educational qualifications for employment, should not legislators possess minimum educational qualifications in order to qualify to contest in a parliamentary election?

Further, would it not be prudent for the Prime Minister to task a group of persons (certainly not another committee of legislators) with the preparation of a meaningful matrix of minimum education qualifications, Pay & Perks and a mechanism or formula for periodic review for COL adjustment for legislators, who have already exceeded the Rs 400,000 mark?

Last but not least, should not our legislators be subjected to an annual Performance Appraisal? No doubt, the best performance appraisal was during elections under the Westminster system. The current system enables entry and re-entry to many undesirables and rejects as we observed after 09 January 2015. Legislators are often found not attending parliament. Whereas state and private sector employees have a set number of days permitted to be away from work place with permission, legislators may stay away up to three months after which approval is necessary. When in attendance, some, including senior cabinet ministers have been found fast asleep in the chamber during proceedings including budget debates. Some rarely contribute to parliamentary proceedings. Contributions of some others are better suited in a farm for animals of the braying variety. Some are absent when important bills are being voted whereas a Yes or No vote should be mandatory.

The Prime Minister would be doing a favor to the nation by addressing the issue of legislator’s Pay & Perks not from a narrow perspective of improving their living standards but from a broader perspective of selecting the correct persons to contest thus giving the voter an opportunity to elect qualified and capable candidates and then tasking the successful candidates with development projects in their respective electorates with a suitable monitoring mechanism in place. In such a scenario, no sane person will object to remuneration packages of capable legislators.

In a lighter vein, the Prime Minister who feels “my wife’s salary is more than what I get”, under a revised scheme might be able to say ‘finally my salary is more than what my wife gets’!

 

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Latest comments

  • 8
    0

    Bloody vampires. Want to suck more and more blood of he nation. Curse them! If PM`s wife is getting a better salary than him he should understand that she is more qualified than him and doing a better job! He is only giving leadership to a pack of heartless vampires!

    • 2
      1

      Rajeewa Jayaweera

      RE: Should Our Legislator’s Remuneration Be Increased?

      “The Prime Minister has recently spoken in Parliament of the need to substantially increase salaries of our legislators. He is of the view current salaries were grossly inadequate.”

      This is called bribery. What about the perks and other corruption they are involved in. Would the corruption level decrease?

      Should Our Legislator’s Remuneration Be Increased? No.

      However, Our Legislator’s Balls Should be Increased in Size, so that they become Labu Balls.

      That way, they are likely to be immobile, and will nor screw the modayas, fools, and mootals.

  • 0
    3

    Our Justice Minister says he would have made a million bucks a month on his legal practice if he had not involved himself in politics just indication how much the legal profession holds by way of remuneration. So giving the Members of Parliament a mere Rs 100,000 more which is not much in present circumstances could be permitted

    • 4
      0

      Everybody knows how much Juastice minister has made with Avant guard.

      How many MPs in the parliament has a phD. Most did not complete grade 10.

  • 4
    0

    Income information of parliamentary politicians are incomplete. As soon as they win the election they move to houses built in colombo. their children get good school. Children of Sri lankan doctors are not allowed to have that.

    Those house rents are subsidized. How about their medical benefits. They are allowed to go overseas and get medical treatments and all expenses are paid by the president’s fund. I read, some even the viagra bought by politicians are chrged to the president’s fund. I have read some senior politicienas went to singpore simply for the suspicion of bacterial infection. He was provided with an acoompanying doctor (whether she really qualified passed out from the private medical college).

    How about, they sell the car and they are allowed to lease vehicles for their transport and they use helicopter service too. They use govt vehicles even to buy groceries for the day.

  • 1
    0

    The author of this article should have gone in depth regarding the appropriate qualification to become a law maker rather than limiting to pays and perks.

  • 4
    0

    Excellent piece, Rajeeva!

    Our so-called Legislators, most of who (as you pointed out) haven’t the basic qualifications to apply for most jobs in any sector, and yet they live lives of luxury on our taxpayers’ hard earned funds.

    Performance appraisals MUST be implemented with basic criteria in force to judge their performances. And this should include whatever criminal charges have been brought against them that are pending in Courts. In fact, if criminal charges are pending, they should be forced to resign until their names are cleared.

    And why not tax these guys – just like those CEOs that Ranil compares their salaries with?

    The picture of Ranil and Maithri (not the President) is pretty funny in that Maithri is showing us that her hands are clean, whilst Ranil is hiding his!!!

  • 4
    0

    Students and citizens should stage a massive protest in Colombo against the UNP-SLFP Jarapalanaya Govt. and the Salary increase for corrupt politicians who already have SUVs and super luxury lifestyles.

    40 percent of the country lives on less than 2 dollars a day according to the World Bank country Report for Sri Lanka. People are being further burdened with VAT taxes.

    The salary increase is unconscionable. It is a bribe to politicians to “forget” the Bond Scam and

    The people are being beggared by corrupt politicians and Ranil has taken Bribery and corruption that was rampant under the Mahinda Jarapassa regime to new heights or lows under the UNP-SLFP Jara-palanaya Govt.

    Ranil is also protecting the Rajapaksa family and following the same corrupt practices.

  • 5
    0

    Sri Lanka is country of Politician,for the politician and by the politician.

  • 3
    0

    I think it should be subject to gaining a qualification. It can be an MBA, a graduate diploma they do part-time, a sports admin qualification etc.

    A further qualification is they perform. They need to attend Parliament regularly. Participate in debates etc.

    Most organizations keep performance metrics of each worker. The MPs are engaging in the most crucial work and no performance monitoring exists.

  • 1
    0

    “The Prime Minister believes higher salaries will reduce corruption and attract better talent to the legislature.”

    Why not? Ranil provides hilarity as well for his money!

    This type of talent appear only once in a millennium. We are blessed.

  • 0
    0

    I have no problem with a reasonable salary, and allowances commensurate with the position, and to get the job done. However, 75% of MP’s subscribe to the ‘let us serve ourselves well when we have the spoon in our hand’ and feel a sense of entitlement.

    I would also approve a scheme of penalties for behaviour unbecoming of a parliamentarian; including a ‘Vasudeva’ clause for referring to honourable members as ‘pakaya’ or similar.

  • 1
    0

    No. No, no.

  • 1
    0

    Isn’t it that every voter is “entitled” to vote and also to be “elected” to the Legislature?. If that is so, why stipulate educational qualifications to be a member of the Parliament? Can someone state the educational qualifications of our our First Prime Minister? Now, how do we resolve this problem to bring in the “Matured” and the “Honorable” people to the Parliament.? It must be the RESPONSIBILITY of the political parties to NOMINATE only the HONORABLE (in all sense of the word) to the voters to vote. If that happens, we want find “Kudu Karayas”, “Atha Kotas”; “Paga Mastangs”; “Rapists”; “Deal Dasas”; “Pistolayas”; “Cheevarayas”; “Raththrangs” and many, many more such people among the 225 members elected to the Parliament. On the other hand the PEOPLE also must take the biggest share of the problem in electing such vagabonds. So both the Political parties and the People are to be blamed for the present UGLY state of the Parliament. The next thing to be IMMEDIATELY introduced as Law is a “CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICS” to be strictly enforced to the Legislators through an “INDEPENDENT” Ethic Commissioner. The PEOPLE who voted anyone to the Parliament acts contravening such legislation must be entitled to complain to the Ethic Commissioner and make it possible to remove such violators from the Parliament and jailed after conviction by a SPECIAL COURT set up for the purpose. That action in terms of the CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICS and JUDICIAL procedures must be QUICK and TRANSPARENT. If THIS is DONE, I am for remunerating those elected to the Parliament HANDSOMELY with all other perks. Then only we will be satisfied that the DESERVING Legislators are honored and very well looked after for a JOB WELL DONE.

  • 0
    1

    Rajeeva.

    Many years ago,I read an article relating to the food served to the MPP on a subsidised rate. It would be interesting for the readers of CT to know the current prices.Also,Rosy Senanayake when in Parliament had requested the Speaker to provide Bacon in the Menu.Bacon was not served earlier in line with the wishes of the Muslim MPP!
    Who knows,the present lot may have Bacon with their rice and curry!!

    • 1
      0

      Yes, they prefer it to Karavala! More Pretigious!

      • 0
        0

        Sorry spelling! ‘Prestigious’.

  • 0
    0

    My line could be misinterpreted..

    When I typed the present lot,I did not mean the Muslim MPP.

    • 1
      0

      who is muslim MPP???

  • 0
    0

    Can experiment with higher respectable salary. To urge a complete dedication for the job. And to attract quality people for the houses.

  • 0
    0

    The guy continues to disappoint .

  • 0
    0

    ‘Should Our Legislator’s Remuneration Be Increased?’

    If Ranil is as sincere as he portrays, could he be so sincere to request CID to verify the asset declarations of all legislators and important Public servants and report to inland revenue department? and declare to the public?

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