MPs say declined committee allowance ‘in national interest’

Sep 06, 2011 - 04:46
  • Social activists gathered outside the Finance Ministry on September 5, 2011 sign letters to be submitted to Finance Minister Inaz, requesting the minister to hold the budget to give the allowance.

Several MPs today claimed that their decision to decline the Rf20,000 committee allowance was in national interest despite being in need of money while others claimed to have been subjected to humiliation following their decision.

MALE, September 6 (HNS) – Several MPs today claimed that their decision to decline the Rf20,000 committee allowance was in national interest while others claimed to have been subjected to humiliation following their decision.

Deputy President of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Mohamed Aslam, who represents Hithadhoo-North constituency, said Rf82,500 for an MP is a huge amount in the current economic situation.

“I also want money but we should prioritise national interest over personal interests,” he said.

Galolhu-North MP Eava Abdulla said MPD members were aware of the current economic situation.

“That’s the reason I chose not to receive the allowance. I don’t believe in increasing my salary for myself,” she said.

According to Parliament Secretariat, the 19 members who chose not to receive the allowance include opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and his wife Visam Ali, Kulhudhuffushi-South MP Mohamed Nasheed and 16 members of the ruling MDP.

The MDP members include Dhaandhoo MP Mohamed Riyaz, Maafannu-South MP Ibrahim Rasheed, Henveiru-South MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, Machangoalhi-North MP Mariya Ahmed Didi, Galolhu-North MP Eava Abdulla and Hithadhoo-North MP Mohamed Aslam.

Hulhu-Meedho MP Ilyas Labeeb, Thinadhoo MP Mohamed Gasam, Dhidhoo MP Ahmed Sameer, Hulhu-Henveiru MP Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik, Maafannu-North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy, Nolhivaram MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed, Komandoo MP Hussein Waheed, Madaveli MP Mohamed Nazim, Feydhoo MP Alhan Fahmy and Mahibadhoo MP Ruqiyya Mohamed also chose not to receive the allowance.

Parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid also informed the Secretariat that he did not want the committee allowance. Shahid, however, would not receive the Rf20,000 committee allowance as the Speaker is not involved in any committee according to the parliament’s rules of procedure.

A member, who demanded anonymity, said some members are humiliating MPs who chose not to receive the allowance.

Another member declined to comment on the issue “for its nature”.

“I don’t want to comment on anything related to the committee allowance,” the member said.

The parliamentary Finance Committee decided that MPs will receive a lump sum of Rf140,000 as the outstanding committee allowance for the past seven months – a decision which would cost the state Rf10 million.

The Finance Committee approved the policy on distributing the committee allowance on August 9.

According to the policy, MPs are eligible to receive the Rf20,000 committee allowance only if they attend 75 percent of the meetings.

The policy states that members with less than 50 percent attendance will not receive the allowance while half of the allowance will be given to members with 50-75 percent attendance.

Members have the right to choose not to receive the allowance, the policy says.
MPs who take leave and vacation from committee meetings would be considered absent, according to the policy.

The Finance Committee earlier said the policy was devised in order to ensure that the allowance help improve the attendance of members and their performance.

The decision to give the Rf20,000 committee allowance was met by vehement criticism from the public and several organisations.

Galolhu-South MP Ahmed Mahloof and former ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson Maria Ahmed Didi, who represents Machangolhi-North constituency, submitted separate resolutions to cut the allowance but failed to secure enough votes in favour of their proposals.

Protestors including activists from the MDP, civil servants, and members of NGOs gathered outside the Parliament building on December 30, 2010, to express their disapproval over the revised salary framework, which gives MPs a committee allowance and increases the salaries and allowances of the judiciary.

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