MPs' salary increase a misnomer - Jeyaraj
KOTTE: Chief Government Whip Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle yesterday
described the additional emoluments proposed for Parliamentarians as
only a rectification of a long standing salary anomaly of MPs and not a
pay increase made in various quarters.
He said following discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the
next Cabinet meeting he will keep the House informed on the measures
taken by the Government to rectify the salary anomalies of the
Fernandopulle reacting to a statement by Chief Opposition Whip Joseph
Michael Perera to the Lankadeepa on the salary increase of
parliamentarians, said the statement conveyed a wrong impression to the
public. The statement implies that the salary increase is to be made at
the sole behest of the Government.
He said this will not be a salary increase of MPs. This will only be
a move taken to rectify the salary anomalies. Even the UNP has agreed to
rectify these salary anomalies at the Party Leaders' meeting. Only the
JVP opposed it.
He said Parliamentarians have to be paid a reasonable salary. A
Parliamentarian is paid a monthly salary of only Rs.22,100. The
President's monthly salary is Rs. 25,000. At present a Public Servant is
also paid a minimum salary of Rs. 11,600.
Minister's Coordinating Secretaries receive a Rs. 23,000 monthly
salary while some corporation chairmen draw between Rs. 75,000 to Rs.
100,000 as their monthly salary.
"But all the shouting is only when steps are taken to increase the
salaries of Parliamentarians. All MPs agreed to rectify these salary
anomalies. After discussing this matter with the President and the
Cabinet, I will keep the House informed regarding the matter," he said.
Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara said at the Party Leaders' meeting all
party leaders agreed to rectify MPs' salary anomalies. "We have to look
into Parliamentarians difficulties. At present criticism of
Parliamentarians has become an art of media."
The Chief Opposition Whip said the UNP has unanimously agreed to this
decision. Only the JVP said that they are opposed to this salary
increase at the present juncture.
"When the salaries of judges were increased, I am the first person
who requested to increase the salaries of the Speaker, MPs and the Prime
Minister. But MPs' salaries were not increased parallel to the salary
increases of judges. If some political party or politician is against
this move, they can refuse to draw this salary increase."
Vijitha Herath (JVP) said the Cabinet approved the salary increase.
In a situation where world fuel prices and the cost of living have gone
up, what the JVP requested was not to make this salary increase at this
juncture. Otherwise the JVP is not against rectifying the salary
anomalies of Parliamentarians.
"But the dignity of an MP can only be gauged by the service he
renders to the public and cannot be measured in terms of his salary." he
W.B. Ekanayake (UNP) said a Parliamentarian has to spend nearly Rs.
50,000 a month for fuel. In addition nearly Rs. 15,000 has to be paid
monthly for his official residence, electricity, telephone and water
A Parliamentarian has to attend public duties and bear all other
expenses from his monthly salary. Even some Ministers' drivers get a
higher 'take home pay' than the Minister.
Rajitha Senaratne (UNP) said some politicians who do not have a
proper understanding on the Parliamentary traditions make various
statements to be popular among the public. Parliamentarians should be
treated with dignity. In a situation like this, we all should join