Call to raise allowance an insult to reps, says MCA man

MCA’s Balakong by-election candidate, Tan Chee Teong. (Bernama pic)

BANGI: MCA’s Balakong candidate Tan Chee Teong today slammed a suggestion by Selangor speaker Ng Suee Lim to raise the attendance allowance of assemblymen, calling it a waste of resources.

Ng had made the proposal in a recent interview with Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau, saying the current allowance of RM75 was “not quite attractive”.

He also noted that the amount had remained unchanged since the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, adding that if the allowance was raised, assemblymen would be more motivated to attend sittings.

However, Tan said the suggestion was an insult to the state assembly, the representatives and the people of Selangor.

“As Selangor state assembly speaker, he should be aware that attending sittings is the basic duty of every elected representative.

“This is the sole reason they were voted in, to be the people’s voice, to raise local problems and to discuss government policies in the state assembly,” he told reporters at a press conference.

Instead of raising the allowance to encourage attendance at assembly sittings, Tan said, the allowances of those who did not attend should be reduced as punishment.

Selangor state assemblymen reportedly receive a monthly salary of RM11,250. They also receive various allowances including RM10,000 as office allocation, RM6,000 for three assistants, RM1,500 for a driver, RM1,500 for special allowances inclusive of telephone and petrol bills, and RM500 for entertainment.

This means a total allowance of RM19,500 per month.

Tan said the people’s money should not be wasted as incentives for assemblymen to attend sittings.

“This will give the impression that the assemblymen have to be paid more for their presence,” he said. “This is not the right way.”

He also noted that state assembly sittings are only held for 20 to 30 days each year.

“If the assemblymen do not attend the sittings, what else are they doing?”

Former MCA Seri Kembangan assemblyman Liew Yuen Keong agreed, saying there had been no complaints about allowances.

“I was an assemblyman for three terms in Seri Kembangan and I never heard of such complaints.

“To attend state assembly sittings is our responsibility as elected representatives. Why should there be extra incentives to encourage a person to do their job?”