By Michael Xavier | TMI
I have to confess that my first reaction to the astonishing news of the salary hike was a shocker as the last time we were subject to that news was when the Sarawak State Assembly initiated the move to triple the salary of the house of representatives.
Until I realised that I was reading the news in retrospect to the time when BN was in office. Hey, contrary to the usual undeserving request by poor performing elected representatives of the past, the news, refreshingly comes from the Pakatan government.
Does it sound so bad now? To me… far from it. Khalid has successfully increased the reserves of the State coffers through prudent spending and plugged quite a bit of leakage that the past Selangor government was fond of. It is only after a full term in office, producing results that we can all be proud of that he has now implemented a salary hike.
Can he do better, of course he can. Conversely, when government is corrupt and have their hands stained with people's money through ill-gotten means than, needless to say, that a hike is unjustified and even audaciously scandalous in intent hence the outcry by Pakatan leaders when BN representatives salaries were raised without substantial results to show.
What is RM 39,000 a month for a head of state government when he may be in possession of billions of dollars of "illicit" money from logging concessions and land snatching activities? When a corrupt government raises salary, it is not only wrong, it is repugnant and supremely abominable.
In the case of Khalid and this team, they are not accused of any money swindling activities and have somewhat run a clean and prudent state government.
Let's talk facts from a wider perspective: Singapore with only 5.3 million people, elect representatives that earn in access of US 13,000 (RM 33,000) a month totalling to US 166,000 (RM405,000) per annum. In the 2012 Corruption Perception Index, Singapore is listed No 5 of 170 countries.
Australian MPs earn $118,000 (RM 389,000) and they are ranked No 7 on the 2012 CPI. Canada MPs earn $151,000 (RM 453,000) and they are ranked No 9 on the CPI. Malaysia MPs earn RM6,500 per month, RM78,000 per annum and we are ranked 54 in the CPI. The moral of the story: Pay peanuts and you get monkeys!
We know for the fact that we have many "monkeys" as elected representatives and further aggravated when we offer a thin and measly carrot at the end of the stick. When the Selangor state assemblymen are remunerated handsomely, they are now compelled to serve the people even more diligently and courageously, punctuated with a sense of pride and self-worth. The same should apply for our MPs.
In the long run, we can attract high professional talents to public office including people who will be willing to forgo their corporate and academic high paying jobs to serve the people. So, I record my blessing for the Selangor State Government and I urge them to increase their service to the people by 400%, the same quantum that will enjoy as a pay rise.
For some reason, I strongly believe they will rise to the occasion. – November 29, 2013.
Michael Xavier, consultant and corporate trainer, reads The Malaysian Insider.