Quarter of chamber absent as MPs approve themselves Rf20,000 in committee allowances

The parliament yesterday rejected a resolution presented by Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Mahlouf to cut Rf20,000 in committee allowances on top of MPs’ existing salaries.

The controversial allowances would see MP’s existing monthly salary and allowances rise from Rf62,500 (US$4053) to over US$5350 – higher than the per capita annual income of US$5000 for an ordinary Maldivian.

Prior to the government’s devaluation of the rufiya this would have put MP earnings on par with MPs in developed countries such as Sweden. At the official pegged rate of Rf12.85 an Maldivian MP would take home over US$7000,  outearning an MP in France.

Out of the 58 MPs present, 17 MPs voted to accept Mahlouf’s resolution and cut the committee allowance while 20 voted in favor of keeping it. 16 MPs abstained from voting. 19 were absent – almost a quarter of the chamber.

Minivan News attempted to obtain a breakdown of the vote by MP, however this section of parliament’s website was not functioning at time of press.

The resolution to cut the committee allowance was first presented to the parliament during the last term of the parliament by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson and MP Mariya Didi, who reluctantly withdrew it after the party’s parliamentary group’s majority ordered her to do so.

After widespread public criticism at the decision – made at the same time as the country is attempting to reform its way out of a crippling budget deficit – many opposition and MDP MPs announced they would refuse to accept the committee allowance if it was retained.

However during  parliament’s session yesterday, MPs attacked Mahlouf for presenting the resolution to cut the allowances.

Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed alleged that Mahlouf was attempting to gain more support from the public by presenting the resolution, and claimed that his intention was to portray himself as ‘’a good MP.’’

Mahlouf said he presented the resolution because due to the introduction of committee allowances, the parliament had become the subject of heavy criticism.

”By presenting the resolution to the parliament I believe my lawful duty is fulfilled, It is not for me to decide how the MPs should vote,” Mahlouf told Minivan News. ”However, it is a regrettable decision made by the parliament.”

Mahlouf said he believed that parliamentarians were already paid an adequate salary and there was no need to increase it.

”The objectives of the MDP are questionable since this was [resolution was dismissed] with their new majority of parliament,” he said. ”I do not have issues with critics, but it wasn’t my intention to gain fame and support -there are other ways I can gain fame and support.”

MDP MP Ahmed Easa said recently that he did not support the committee allowance, but he acknowledged that the MPs who did support the allowance “have reasonable points.”

”It’s true what they say – MPs have so much to do with their salary each month. People can’t even imagine how many calls a MP receives each day asking for help,” Easa explained.

“Anyone in trouble from any area will run to their MP first. MPs have to lend money to people in need of medication, even for reasons such as people coming to get money to pay the school fees of their children.”

Easa also explained that most of the MPs were not from Male’, which forced them to live in rented apartments.

”As everyone knows, a standard apartment’s rent in Male’ will be Rf10000-20000 (US$750-US$1500), and what about all the phone calls that MPs have to make, that costs an additional Rf5000 (US$375) each month, and what about their family, wife and kids?” he asked, claiming that MPs “already have to spend most of their salary on society.”

MP’s salaries compared:

MP’s monthly salary (US $): 5350 @ Rf15.42, including allowances
GDP (US $) (2009 est): 1.683 billion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est): -$370 million

Sri Lanka
MP’s monthly salary (US $):877
Plus Rs 500 for every parliamentary session
GDP (US $) (2009 est): 96.47 billion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$291 million

MP’s monthly salary (US $):5,966
GDP (US $) (2009 est):3.68 trillion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$26.63 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):9,264
GDP (US $) (2009 est):251.2 billion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):32.63 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):8,552
GDP (US $) (2009 est):2.123 trillion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$23.65 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):14,500
GDP (US $) (2009 est):14.12 trillion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$378.4 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):9,687
GDP (US $) (2009 est):321.6 billion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):8.73 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):6,651
GDP (US $) (2009 est):2.094 trillion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$51.86 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):6,936
GDP (US $) (2009 est):1.737 trillion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):-$66.2 billion

MP’s monthly salary (US $):7,298
GDP (US $) (2009 est):335.1 billion
Current Account Balance (US $) (2009 est):30.23 billion


26 thoughts on “Quarter of chamber absent as MPs approve themselves Rf20,000 in committee allowances”

  1. What's the point of establishing a welfare system? Everyone just needs to go and beg their MP when in need. Let's abolish all welfare, and increase the allowances for MPs even more.

    This is one of the standard lies used by MPs to line their pockets. They use this money, not for welfare, but for bribery! Yep, they're actually bribing the good people of their constituencies in order to stay on and bleed more money from the state.

    The handouts from MPs should be made illegal, as it's nothing but bribery.

  2. I think the public needs to do something about this before it goes out of hand

  3. Thank you Mahloof for presenting the resolution.. I am very proud that I voted you.. you have always proved that you are a great MP

  4. What a justification! The public should foot the bills for MPs to provide personal loans to their constituents.. is it part of an MPs mandate?

  5. People contest and become parliamentarians to become rich. Not to serve the nation.

    The number of businessmen as parliamentarians in Maldives are alarming!

    Parliamentarians are not welfare Officers. Even if people come running for help they do not have to give the money. That is corruption since it will create a dependency of the individual on the MP.

    MPs should go back to school to get themselves educated first.

  6. There is absolutely no justification to have an additional 20,000 Rufiya as "Committee Allowance" or as any other allowance.

    A 62,000 income is enough. The MPs get 3 months as recess but they hardly visit their constituency.

    They do not consult lawyers and technical people related to the bill. They do not understand the issues when they debate and make amendments to the bill.

    In the end, the Majilis produce bills and law that have inconsistencies and contradictory articles in it.

    More than half the time MPs has submitted bills and motions and resolutions that is just intended to halt a government project or for the sake of getting time to attack the government.

    When it comes to bills that have a direct link to public good either they do not get tabled or they get distorted or get vetoed.

  7. The 20 members who voted to have the 20,000 Committee Allowance are:

    Ahmed Rasheed (MDP), Ruqiyya Mohamed (MDP), Mohamed Thoriq (MDP), Hassan Adhil (MDP), Mohamed Mustafa (MDP) Mohamed Nashiz (DRP), Mohamed Zubair (DRP), Abdulraheem Abdulla (PA), Yousuf Abdulgafoor (PA), Ilham Ahmed (DRP), Ibrahim Riza (DRP), Hassan Latheef (DRP), Hamdhoon Hameed (DRP), Ahmed Rasheed Ibrahim (PA), Moosa Zameer (DRP), Abdulmuhsin Hameed (DRP), Rozaina Adam (DRP), Mohamed Ramiz (DRP), Ali Mohamed (DRP) and Riyaz Rasheed(DQP).

    Mohamed Shifaz (MDP), Ahmed Hamza (MDP), Ahmed Sameer (MDP), Ibrahim Muththolib (JP), Ali Saleem (PA), Zahir Adam (MDP), Ismail Abdulhameed (DRP), Ahmed Easa (MDP), Hussain Waheed (MDP), Ahmed Amir (Inde), Abdulla Abdulraheem (MDP), Ahmed Siyam (Inde), Ali Riza (Inde), Ahmed Mohamed (DRP), Ali Waheed (MDP), Ali Arif (DRP) abstained in the vote.


  8. these idiots who abstained, think they are fooling the public. thinkin that we would believe they didnt have anythin to do with them gettin fatter salaries. in this case, abstaining was a yes vote to cash in fatter salaries for sure.

  9. How can you compare with industrial countries salary levels when Maldives is to be considered a developing country????

    Compare "apples with apples".......look at Sri Lanka and India - no further.

  10. So MDP with the majority, have begun the work for the people eh?

    So, its clear from the cogent argument of honourable MP Easa, that it its impossible to make ends meet with a salary of $5,350, more than what most people make in a year.

    That is a good place to start when he deliberates about the minimum wage.

    Regardless of party line, if any of these MPs (who voted for or abstained) get elected again in 2014, the people who vote them in, forfeit their right to complain again, ever.

  11. What kind of justification is this - do these "GREEDS" resembles the "PEOPLE" or themselves to fulfill their pockets!!!!!! Shame on Maldivian Parliamentarians...
    How many of these greeds know their purpose of this SEAT??? Who is going to think about these things seriously when these dirt greeds eat up "Rayyinthunge faisaa"

    Here people struggle to make "the ends meet" in every day life - but the MPs who got their seat from the same people make their life more and more comfortable and can live as kings.....
    No moral values at all!!!!!!

  12. It is sad to see how powerless we truly are.

    - Unless a political party sponsors us, we cannot effectively protest.
    - We really do depend on MPs, friends and sometimes random people to make ends meet (and yet we still believe we do not require a pension fund, savings or means to invest).

    The fact of the matter is, we cannot believe for a second that constituents numbering on average in excess of 5000 can be served by a dollar's worth of welfare per month. As for the MPs difficulties in leasing an apartment for residence, do what we regular people do - move in with your brothers, sisters, uncles and god-knows-who-else just to pay rent for bed-space.

  13. Is that really enough? How can a person survive with a meager RF82000 monthly salary? Shame on you, MPs. Think of a the gold wrist watches that will go unpurchased, and the platinum necklaces they won't be able to buy for their spouses!

  14. By paying them such high salaries, they are getting further and further removed from the realities of ordinary Maldivian life. Are they still capable of making decisions on behalf of ordinary people?

  15. Out of the 20 who voted in favour 5 are from MDP. The abstentions were, as previously noted by someone else, just a ploy to get this bill through anyway.

    Now, these morons will start attacking the government next week about expenditure etc. This is just a bloody jungle filled with greedy pigs. I've always stated the biggest flaw in our new democratic system. There's no way to make MPs accountable to anyone!

    Once they get elected, they will use their "allowances" to bribe constituents in order to get re-elected. There ought to be a limitation on the number of terms these morons can hang around Parliament. It shouldn't just be restricted to the President.

    Just a few days ago, that dishonorable chap, Muthalib submitted a bill to cut pension contribution down to 3.5% from 7.0%, as well as allowing people to opt out. Muthalib and his fellow businessmen in Parliament realised that they now have to pay for their employees' pensions and now are trying to weasel out of it. Just another disgraceful waste of time in Parliament on a ludicrous bill.

    I really don't understand how they can demand more money when clearly there's a set budget for ALL expenditure. I do hope the Finance Ministry do not release extra funds to these idiots. Let's go to the Courts if needed. Enough is enough.

  16. If at least these guys don’t interfere with the people and make the policies to develop a sustainable economy for ordinary people, these guy’s fat salaries can be justified. But unfortunately these bunches of idiots even don’t know what an economy is and rather think that the money is grown on the tress by their Almighty and they are the rightful heir of this grown money.

  17. 17 members who voted in favour of Mahloof's resolution to cut Rf20,000 in committee allowances are; Mohamed Riyaz, Shifaq Mufeed, Mohamed Rafeeq Hassan, Ahmed Mahloof, Eva Abdulla, Hamid Abdul Gafoor, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Mohamed Rasheed, Mohamed Aslam, Illyas Labeeb, Abdul Gafoor Moosa, Imthiyaz Fahmy, Ibrahim Rasheed, Mohamed Rasheed, Mariya Ahmed Didi, Mohamed Nasheed (colonel) Mohamed Gasam. BRAVO!

  18. In the UK,,MPs salaries are about 3 times the national average wage,,looking at the Maldives,it seems as if your MPs get 12 times the average wage..In the UK we have had several high profile cases against MPs involving fraud/expenses claims resulting in prison sentences,,what if any,are the reasons for your MPs getting such salaries for such a small nation??.

  19. what makes everyone so sure mahloof did this honestly? He may have presented the bill to get popular amongst ppl..he would truly know that everyone is going to pass the 20k extra allowance. If he was so serious he would have got the support of his own party memebers!
    something to think about....
    the politicians are very cunning...u always need to keep watch outside the box

  20. So, Logically speaking, I could also claim for an increment in my salary because my relatives keeping asking me for money to support their health and education. I need to have money left over for me after I am done with my philanthropy. But then again, I could now direct these relatives to the nearest MP! Down with welfare.

  21. @Larry

    "what if any,are the reasons for your MPs getting such salaries for such a small nation??."

    This is what all of us are asking. Our MPs set their own salaries and no one can question them. They can ask for the sky; the Finance Ministry has to oblige! I don't understand, at all, how we got to this ridiculous situation.

    Almost everyone else in the country is facing a squeeze on their income whether they are businesses or individuals. At the same time, our MPs just raise their hands in the chamber and increase their pay! This has got to be stopped.

  22. MP Ahmed Easa contested on an MDP ticket and won the election. MDP had promised to stop begging for health care. However, MP Easa is now promoting the same system of dependency that was promoted under the 30-year-old dictatorship. When the next parliamentary election comes, people will be forced to vote for Easa again just because he paid for their children's education and health care out of his salary and allowances. He gains an unfair advantage over other candidates. If this is not corruption, then what is corruption? These MPs, by dictating their own salaries and allowances, are paving their way to win the next parliamentary election and at the same time keep the Maldivians under their slavery and bondage. This is an MP who was elected on a platform of workers' rights. It is time Tourism Employees Association of Maldives kick this greedy person from their ranks.

  23. Once again, the comments reflect that the educated elite (often resident in Male'), who do not receive any cutbacks from big government and the State machinery have lost a great degree of faith in the political system.

    However, until and unless the issues brought up by the educated elite filter down in some way and become the concerns of the majority, nothing will be done to rectify these issues.

    Today 300 people from Thoddoo in Ari Atoll signed to the MDP. What were their reasons for signing? What are their concerns and how do they believe those concerns have been met?

    What are urban concerns? What is the definition of urban when it comes to Male'? How much of the population understand economics, politics and financial matters to a satisfactorily level in order to influence policymakers? Is my assumption right?

    - that most of those concerned about these issues are a miniscule minority who possess the MEANS TO BE CONCERNED.
    - this minority can be silenced by offering them a piece of the pie.

  24. @tsk tsk

    "- this minority can be silenced by offering them a piece of the pie."

    This is precisely what Gayyoom did for 30 years. He let everyone have a piece of the pie and turned a blind eye. The fierce loyalty you see in some circles towards Zedey is a direct result of this, nothing more, nothing less.

    I am not a politician, so I don't know the solution to this. Gayyoom operated his machinery through fear and intimidation as well as general bribery and corruption.

    We don't have the fear and intimidation factor today as we did before. However there are vulnerable people who'd rather turn a blind for fear of losing a job or a business opportunity. Bribery and corruption goes on, if not on a larger scale than before.

    So, to turn around, has our lot really improved because we have "democracy"? At one level, no, not really.

  25. I have believed, and still do that most of our problems and excesses start from the Majlis. Changing the President, or the ruling party will hardly have an effect when we do not know where the problem starts from.

    Look at the excesses of Theemugefuring MAG's time. All these were budgeted under various names and passed from the Majlis.

    If we had even half of the Majlis who are loyal to their constituents and think of the Nation we will not be seeing the difficult times we face today.

    We needed change, and we still do. The change is how to have a Majlis working for us.


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