HAVING just received a pay rise of more than what they had expected, our state YBs should now be able to focus on their core duty as the peoples’ representatives more efficiently.
Before this, our YBs had often complained they were overworked and underpaid and most had to find other ways and means to supplement their income to serve their constituents.
Former Ba Kelalan assemblyman Datuk Nelson Ballang Rining used to confide in me that returning to visit his kawasan on weekends would cost him, at least, RM3,000 for air tickets, lodging and transportation to this remotest constituency in the state, not forgetting, of course, the extras he had to coughed up in case the people needed his help.
Because of the financial constraint, he was only able to visit his kawasan twice a month. And that, he said, was already very taxing.
Well, that will be a thing of the past now after the new salary scheme was announced on Tuesday by Minister of Finance II Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh to give our YBs that extra financial omph so that they can perform their duties more effectively.
With the adjustment, all our YBs will be drawing at least RM15,000 per month. This is a 200 per cent jump from their previous salaries.
On top of that, they are also entitled to allowances of RM5,000 for urban-based YBs and RM7,500 for rural-based YBs.
Before the new salary scheme, an ordinary assemblyman and woman only received a salary of RM4,500 per month and another RM3,500 in allowances.
From the YBs’ point of view, the increment is, indeed, timely. First, it will definitely mean lessening of their personal monthly financial burden as most of them are having families and also a host of other commitments such as mortgages and their children’s education.
Secondly, the increment should serve to motivate them to go the extra mile as they are now having better capacity to do what they are supposed to do – serving the rakyat!
Now a rural-based YB will be getting RM22,500 and an urban-based YB RM20,000. And four of our YBs will be getting additional RM9,000 per month as they are also political secretaries to the Chief Minister.
These four YBs will now be drawing a whooping RM29,000 per month.
Moreover, they can always fall back on their MRP funds to serve their constituents.
The new salary scheme must now be translated into actual performances to improve the welfare of the people who will expect nothing less nor tolerate inaction if they are looking for extra “kang tau.”
The better financial perks should also motivate the YBs to try to outdo each other so that there is a healthy competition among them in vying for recognition as the “most dedicated” YBs.
Alter all, if they are really dedicated, the people will definitely reward them by returning them to power during elections. On the other hand, if the YBs do not perform up to the mark, it’s either the party the YBs belong or the people they represent who will reject them come election time.
For me, the YBs’ job is quite simple – they just need to be there whenever their services are needed, which normally vary from place to place and depending on the people they serve.
The other most important thing we expect from our YBs is that whatever promises they have made must be fulfilled.
What this really means is that we do not want our YBs to make empty promises!
These are not tall orders. After all, the people know they can’t expect their YBs to perform miracles! Sometimes what the people really need is for their YBs to lend an ever ready ear to their frustrations.
And with salary hikes for especially our assistant ministers, ministers, senior ministers, deputy chief minister and chief minister, the expectations of the rakyat will now be surely higher not only to justify the three-fold increment but most importantly, also that if the elected representatives, including the cabinet members, really want to stay on, they have to serve the rakyat well because at the end of the day it’s the rakyat who will decide who they want to not only serve them but also to serve them well.