Mind boggling to increase allowances as incentive for assemblymen to attend state sittings

Mohd Anwar Patho Rohman

BANGI: The proposal by Selangor speaker Ng Suee Lim to increase the attendance allowance of elected representatives as an incentive for them to attend state assembly sittings is nothing short of an insult to the state assembly, people and also assemblymen, MCA candidate for the Balakong state seat Tan Chee Teong said. He said the proposal was also a waste of resources and Ng should realise that it was the fundamental duty of elected representatives to attend state assembly sittings. "If those elected as assemblyman cannot even fulfill this basic responsibility then their allowances should be cut, not increased. “We have to punish them by cutting their allowances to ensure they buck up...it is mind boggling that he wants to increase their allowances to encourage them to attend state assembly sittings,” he said. It was reported that Ng - who is Dap assemblyman for Sekinchan, had made the proposal in a recent interview with the Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau, in which he said that the current allowance of RM75 was "not entirely attractive". He also noted that the amount had remained unchanged since the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, adding that if the compensation was increased, elected representatives would be more motivated to attend sessions. Tan said Ng should realise that assemblymen were voted in to be the voice of the people, to address local issues and to discuss government policy in the state assembly. It is learnt that Selangor state assemblymen receive a monthly salary of RM11,250. They also receive various other allowances, including RM10,000 as office allocation, RM6,000 for three assistants, RM1,500 for a driver, RM1,500 for special allowances for telephone and petrol charges, and RM500 for entertainment. The additional allowances total up to RM19,500 per month. Tan pointed out that the state assembly session were only held between 20 to 30 days per year. "If they cannot even attend the sessions, what else do they do?" © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd