The pay hikes for the Selangor Mentri Besar, executive councillors, Speaker, deputy Speaker and assembly members are excessive and come at a time when the rakyat are feeling the pinch of the higher cost of living.
What do you think? Looks like the poll below shows less than 50 per cent of you think the pay hikes are justified.
Now, the Selangor state government, especially MB Khalid, has done a commendable job in managing the state, its finances and especially the water issue under very trying circumstances. It has also managed to accumulate reserves for the state – though like many others, I believe that some of this money should be used to ease the pressure on the lower-income groups in the state.
But the timing of such hefty pay hikes and the quantum is ill advised. The rakyat are bracing themselves for more difficult times ahead.
Sarawak is not the best example to follow for obvious reasons. Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s administration is not something to emulate.
The other reason why this is not a good idea, is that hefty pay hikes will push the people’s elected representatives into the top 5 per cent of even top 1 per cent of Malaysians in terms of income. This will make it difficult for them to empathise with the hardship faced by not just the lower-income group but even the middle-income earners (of which there are many in Selangor). The ordinary rakyat would be lucky to even get a 25 per cent pay hike while elected reps with higher incomes will have little clue about how the rest of the population are coping.
The comparison with salaries in the corporate sector is misleading. Being in government means being in public service whereas the corporate sector is primarily motivated by profits and market share, not the public interest or the welfare of low-income workers.
You want to attract honest, capable people in government especially those who are motivated to serve the public (you know, a bit of altruism) not those who are motivated by money, attractive salaries and perks, which the private sector offers. The most qualified people looking for high salaries may not be concerned about the public interest or serving the rakyat, especially the poor.
By the way, this blog also criticised the hefty pay hikes in Sarawak, though as I said the situation there is quite different with all the questionable deals, leakages and money politics.
To reiterate, Khalid and his team have done well in managing the state’s finances despite all the obstacles, but the pay hikes are hefty and will not go down well with many, especially in this difficult economic situation. They should be reconsidered.
The final word to PKR deputy president Syed Husin Ali:
Aku stuju kalau gaji mb, exco n adun naik sikit. Tapi aku tak faham kenapa naik gitu tinggi skali. Macam nak menghina.
— Syed Husin Ali (@syedhusinali) November 28, 2013