Reps increase own pay three-fold


HERE IT IS: Wong shows the Remuneration, Pensions and Gratuities Bill, 2013.

State ministers, elected reps get bumper hike in salaries after assembly approved new remuneration bill

KUCHING: The state’s ministers and assemblymen have approved a whopping 200 per cent raise for themselves and administrators of the state assembly yesterday.

Under the new remuneration scheme, the chief minister’s salary will increase from the present RM13,000 to RM39,000 per month while the pay of the deputy chief ministers jumps to RM35,000 from the current RM11,500.

Senior ministers will receive RM30,000 in monthly salary from the present RM9,000, while ministers will see an increment from RM9,000 to RM27,000. The salary of assistant ministers rises from RM7,000 to RM21,000.

The basic allowance for the members of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) will increase from RM4,500 to RM15,000 while political secretaries will see an increase in allowance from RM3,000 to RM9,000.

In addition, DUN speaker will receive a salary increase equal to the senior minister while the deputy speaker will be on par with the assistant minister.

The new remuneration scheme, which will be back dated to January 1, 2012, was implemented after the Members of Administration and Members of Dewan Undangan Negeri (Remuneration, Pension and Gratuities) Bill, 2013 was passed without any objection at the DUN sitting here yesterday.

The new pay and allowances will increase the wage bill for the state assembly to RM17 million annually.

Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh who tabled the bill said the new ordinance seeks to repeal the Members of Administration and Members of Dewan Undangan Negeri (Remuneration, Pension and Gratuities) Ordinance 1980 which came into force on July 1, 1980.

The last review on the remuneration was done 21 years ago in 1992.

“It is considered necessary to introduce this Bill in order to provide updated and better provisions relating to the remuneration, pensions, gratuities, other allowances and benefits of Members of the Administration, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Members of the Dewan Undangan Negeri.

“The need to revise and amend the current amount, rates and terms and conditions of the monthly allowance, salary and such other allowances and benefits is to commensurate with their status and responsibilities in the
society, having regard to the current rate of inflation, standard of living and other relevant factors,” said Wong who is also a Senior Minister and Minister of Local Government and Community Development at the second reading during the tabling of the Bill.

Speaking to reporters after the sitting Wong justified the salary and allowance revision saying, “This is a big adjustment as it takes into consideration the rising cost of living as a result of inflation rates, averaging two to three per cent per annum and of course the ever increasing expectation of the rakyat (people) and the large territory of Sarawak which is as big as Peninsular Malaysia.

“These are very heavy responsibilities associated with the positions. This Bill is timely,” he told a press conference later on.

Wong added that the new scale was very much in line with their counterparts in the neighbouring countries. However, the new salaries for the state’s cabinet were still considered low when compared to counterparts in the more developed countries.

He cited Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s pay of RM5.27 million annually, despite a reduction of about 30 per cent salary as a result of the slide in popular votes for the ruling PAP party in the 2011 election, as an example.

“This means he (Lee) gets about RM439,000 per month whereas our chief minister only gets about RM39,000.”

Wong also disclosed that other states were in the process of revising their remuneration scales for their elected representatives too..

The Bill was seconded by Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg and supported by Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi (BN-Pantai Damai), Abu Seman Jahwie (BN-Jemoreng), Abdullah Saidol (BN-Semop), Dr Annuar Rapa’ee (BN-Nangka), Baru Bian (PKR-Ba Kelalan) and Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa).