Maldivian Democracy Network hits out at parliament’s privilege amendments

The Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) has hit out at proposed amendments to the privileges afforded to MPs, the judiciary and independent organisations, calling them irresponsible at a time of supposed national cost cutting, as well as potentially setting back social security development in the country.

In a joint statement issued with the Democracy House group, the MDN said that parliament, under Article 102 of the Constitution, needed to act responsibly in setting out state salary structures and its own allowances;  a requirment the NGO claimed had not been the case in passing certain amendments in the 2011 annual budget.

“We note that the bill on parliamentary privileges has been passed in a manner that will further increase state expenses,” stated the MDN. “The bill also grants members of the People’s Majlis certain privileges in criminal matters. We note that these privileges are of a nature that are not granted to parliamentarians in other open democratic societies, and are not even granted to the President under the Maldivian legal system.”

The NGO also dismissed claims that individual MPs required additional benefits and financial remuneration to provide “welfare services” to constituents, claiming such patronage compromises democratic principles.

Speaking to Minivan News last week, both acting Finance Minister Mahmood Razee and parliamentary Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim said that the proposed hikes in parliamentary wages were still required to obtain approval from parliamentary committees and the president before being passed.

Nazim claimed that although MPs “have not taken pay increases”, parliament had considered amendments to the wage structure as part of attempts to test methods for improved “productivity” among the Majlis.

Regional salaries

However, in figures compiled from sources including the Asian Development Bank, the CIA Fact File, the Economist magazine and official government statistics, the Maldives was found to offer a significantly higher salary for its MPs than some of its South Asian neighbours such as India and Sri Lanka combined, at least on 2009 levels of income.

Combining both base earnings and allotted allowances, the monthly salary of a Maldivian MP was said to be equivalent to US$ 7,083; well above Sri Lanka and Indian levels, which during 2009 were found to be around US$877 and US$5,966 respectively. Based on 2009 levels, both Sri Lanka and India had much higher national rates of goods and services produced – recorded as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$96.47 billion and US$3.6 trillion respectively. By comparison, the GDP of the Maldives over the same period was US$1.683bn.

In terms of MPs monthly salaries, the Maldives remained behind nations such as Singapore (US9,264), the UK (US$8,552) and Australia (US$9,687), however, the GDP of each of these nations was found to be significantly higher.

While the MDN said that it accepted some difference in the salaries and benefits afforded to state officials, was “necessary and inevitable”, the NGO claimed that economic burdens needed to be shared equally.

“It is unacceptable that this gap be widened by increasing the salaries and benefits given to high ranking state officials at a time when the average citizen faces financial difficulties,” the MDN stated.

The NGO also expressed concerns regarding the administration of social security within the country, which it said needed to be provided through fair, equitable and ultimately transparent systems rather than the private incomes of individual MPs.

Welfare systems

Speaking to Minivan News, MDN Executive Director Ahmed Irfan claimed there was strong concern that members of the Majlis were undermining democratic principles by creating dependency among constituents for financial assistance from local MPs.

“Unfortunately, it does seem that the practice of MPs providing financial and other such support to constituents is a common and accepted practice in the Maldives,” said Irfan. “Rectifying this will require both a more robust welfare system and a change in culture and attitudes among all stakeholders.”

While praising the work of the Majlis in passing a number of “important bills” during recent sessions, Irfan said the MDN did not support proposals to extend benefits and privileges for state employees within the 2011 annual budget.

“The MDN hopes that the increase in expenditure on senior state officials will not be implemented,” he said.


13 thoughts on “Maldivian Democracy Network hits out at parliament’s privilege amendments”

  1. "members of the Majlis were undermining democratic principles by creating dependency among constituents for financial assistance from local MPs."

    This is a deliberate ploy by these Disrespectful MPs to buy votes and keep them in their seats.

    I'm sure, if you carried out a survey of these MPs so-called 'welfare' distribution policy, you'll find a high correlation of large handouts nearer elections.

    As has been proven in other parts of the world, these guys cannot be trusted to act with the interest of the nation, when it comes to paying themselves. It just doesn't make sense allowing them to setup their own pay scales! It's simply ridiculous.

    How much longer do we have to tolerate this. I'll go as far as saying that we need to start a fresh ballot among the public to figure out how much they should be paid. The public should also have the power to reduce their pay depending on 6 monthly performance reviews.

  2. Improving Productivity:..

    1. A low basic salary.
    2. a Good allowance per sitting if present
    3. overtime

    that's about it.. why make matters complicated..

    At the end of 5 years (just before voting day) publish the performance and how they voted and make it available to the public..

    The Parliament can be run like a small company with 77 staff... it is pretty simple I guess...

  3. what a shame to MDP. You Maria,hamza & Inthi(EDUCATED MPs),Reeko,broght chaos to the party and to public. We will never vote for you again or to any candidate you endorse.Please never open my door and beg for vote. You have shown your true colours to maldivians.What a shame to MDP and to Anni. You maria you ate wealth from moumoon and now you think you fool mdp members and eat from this gov. we will never let you do this. We will pressure Pres.Nasheed to throw this bill away.

  4. The majlis is full of corrupt so called "politicians" who have no self-respect at all. All they are interested in is amassing power, wealth and all sorts of immunities for them to perform their corrupt activities and get away with it while the orth they have taken to serve the people and the country is forgotten as quickly as the ceremonies are over. We must find a constitutional way of firing the entire majlis and electing a majlis afresh. So that the public will now have a better idea of who they are selecting and what they are cabable of. i fully agree with Ahmed bin Addu bin Suvadheeb's comments.

  5. "I need some cash" Kutti Nasheed
    "My bank balance is nil as I have to help poor citizen of my dhaaira, I don't even have cash for me" DRP Gang leader Mahloof
    "We will fight for our money, our rights, our sphere of influence" MDP Gangster Rekko Moosa
    "I did all the work for DRP its not Thasmeen's work" PA leader who appears to Majlis rarely!
    "where is my letter of no objection for my personal business loan from Finance Ministry, then I will expedite Cooperate Tax or any other revenue issues from Majlis..I can stop it!! Show me the letter" Gasim Ibrahim the self fish B*****d!!
    "I will let this government do all mistakes and rise to ps..don't tell Gayoom, I will give him a gift to his family he will never forget" Thasmeen the lazy political leader.
    "I can't stand up, I am too shy and fea, I can use some gangsters like Mahloof, Umar..etc to start a fight in DRP" Hamdun Hameed DRP Hameed faction leader!
    "I need my kid, my husband, my exhusband, my sisters, my cousins and all my relatives to get rich by end of this presidency. More MEGA MEGA MEGA business, airlines, resorts..more more money..give me that" Mariya Didi the fake chairwomen of MDP!
    "Hey..lets do some REAAL business with some REAL business people (Indians as a proxy for Jews). Do include my son" Ibrahim Hussian Zaki the Cut maker of all times and all islands.
    "I am a friend of President Nasheed, I had breakfast with him, going to lunch and dinner with him now! But I need some wine/beer tonight when I reach home, I am the Mayor of Male' self elected" Sarangu Adam Maniku the friend of all president's
    "I am still the president of Maldives, Supreme leader of DRP, the chief Imam of Maldives, Thasmeen has to shit" The GAYoom the leader for all Islands!
    "I am going to be the president of Maldives in 2013, 2018 and beyond" Dr.Hassan and his Birthday Party!

    Dear all this is the s**t hole we are in WHAT CAN WE DO? TELL ME!

  6. Local people who have voted to elect those MPs should take full responsibility of this! Next time make sure to vote for normal people who are like us, not those Filthy rich people, who can't think anything else than money!...

    Wake up people!.. you are not bound to run after those Political activists!..

    It's funny how those "Raajey therey" ppl run after them, and sacrificing their own beautiful time to save those who betray the poor people!...

    If these things continues, Terriorism and all kind of S.H.*.T will come to Maldives, and i would love to see they bomb those MPs .. LOL

  7. Do we need "so called independent bodies". No we dont need them by paying much much higher salary. Civil service commission is such a body, they are doing nothing to protect the civil servants rights instead making rigid old fashioned rules to make civil servants life much more difficult than it was before.

    I really don't understand why we work so hard to pay them such a higher salary. At the end of the day we go home dissatisfied feeling robbed and those evil monkeys are so happy that they have fooled us by calling them "independent bodies"

  8. Mahir,manik & Alibe's coment are very true.MP's involved in looking after the welfare of the public is considered "BRIBE" and there are other institutions to do that while the job of MP's are to facilitate by passing required laws.A salary of 30,000 and allowance based on performance is enough.

  9. i expected more from mdp. i still think anni has the best interest of the people at heart, but its not his show anymore. maria and reeko have taken over...but i just cannot get what kind of power they seem to have over him. reeko has failed as a leader of the parliamentary group and maria has failed miserably as chairperson. anni, we need you to be you. do whats right for the people again before the corrupt leaches of mdp take you down the hole to the abyss of evil. learn from what happened to gayyoom. we're getting worse day by day...

  10. The MPs who got voted in had two purposes in mind. One was not to let the other win (DRP versus MDP or vice versa) and the second was the privilege and the attractive salary. I remember that high MP salaries were supposed to help them be productive already at the start - e.g. especially to keep communication with the constituents. I have not seen the MP of my constituency since the day voted in.
    Whoever in the Parliament has ever lifted a finger for the people, have ever voice the people's needs. I say Parliamentarians privileges should be a referendum - to be decide by the people

  11. Mariya, Reeko, Afeef, Zaki, Sarangu Adam Maniku are all self fish B*****Ds!! Any ordinary kid on street who can dig deep into the crimes in Male' and also the Business dealings they try to get is an evident evidence of their insincerity to the nation and party!! Its high time for a change with in MDP!! The educated and sincere lobby group needs to stand up!Anni needs to stand up and say enough of these corrupt MPs!
    Same goes with DRP! DRP is full of opportunists and corrupt individuals! Their true reformers who are naive of the Gayoom's grand plan (which includes his family, Umar, Yameen, Thasmeen, Shahid (double agent)..etc)! DRP needs to radically change! but far from happening at present!
    Adaalath needs to come to terms with reality! Adaalath Sheiks needs to know they only know whats in Quran and Sunnah but not the modern science, social science, politics and also making strategic moves for building a tolerant, futuristic (where Atheists extremism, and non Islamic extremism..but those who call it Islam needs to be out ruled)society! We need build a society of love and respect! Adaalath Sheiks needs to walk tall to their talk!
    PA (Yameen faction) needs to wiped out! Yameen and his cow boys needs to put behind the bars till reform is initiated! Trust me this is the only way!
    Dr.Waheed needs to retire and handover the Vice Presidency to some one more dynamic, sincere and hard working! His post is currently a drain on the public Walt!


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