Why many MPs don’t want to retire despite serving for decades.
A lawmaker has shone a spotlight on how politicians can earn themselves handsome wages or pensions, just by serving a long time as an elected representative or being a minister.
This is amid a pandemic, which has severely affected the working class’ ability to put food on the table.
Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Independent-Muar) said a cabinet member gets paid RM50,000 a month.
On top of this, a minister also gets a lavish home in Putrajaya, a car, a driver, a licence plate that is worth hundreds of thousands, an approved permit (AP) to bring in luxury cars, and a plot of land in Putrajaya, among others.
The former youth and sports minister said ministers can also claim for meal expenses, and holiday allowances.
Those who are married can get between RM100,000 and RM200,000 for holidays per year, he added.
“I’m not married, so my allowance wasn’t that high,” he quipped.
Syed Saddiq further revealed that when a minister steps down, they get gratuity pay which is based on the minister’s term as an MP.
“If an MP has served four to five terms, even if they served as a minister for one day, their gratuity payout exceeds RM1 million,” he said.
“(Putrajaya must explain) is gratuity paid only once, or each time they step down they get paid RM1 million, then when they get reappointed and step down again, get another RM1 million, and when Parliament is dissolved, they get it (RM 1 million) again.
“All of this must stop,” he added.
Besides a pay-out for being a minister, Syed Saddiq said, politicians can also enjoy pensions from various sources.
He said if a politician has served as an assemblyperson, an exco member, MP, minister or senator, the individual can enjoy pensions for each of these positions.
“If you combine all the pensions, it can exceed RM100,000 per month.
“This is why many MPs don’t want to retire despite serving for decades,” he added.
The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) co-founder suggested that the government set up a special committee to review both politicians’ wages and political funding – as MPs need to be able to manage their constituencies financially.
“This discussion must take place. We ask the rakyat to tighten their belts, but we here in Parliament or in the government are paid handsomely.
“It is unfair to the people,” he said. – Malaysiakini