Slash politicians’ high pay, use savings to uplift society

During this time when so many people are facing financial burden, it is unfair for politicians to receive such high incomes and live in luxury.

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By Raveen Jeyakumar

For a long time now, people have seen getting involved in politics in Malaysia as a way of making money.

Instead of prioritising the people’s needs, many politicians appear driven to pursue wealth and profits through their political careers.

This may be attributed to the high levels of income, benefits and pensions politicians are entitled to.

MPs’ monthly salaries, including their allowances, amount to an average of RM25,700. They can also claim various allowances or subsidies for specific purposes.

State assembly members reportedly receive a monthly allowance of RM6,000-15,000 each on average.

Apart from that, some MPs and assembly members hold positions in government-linked companies (a practice which must stop immediately), for which the position of chairperson could provide them an additional RM40,000-50,000 a month.

With such big carrots, no wonder politicians are so eager to compete for political positions!

Many urgent socioeconomic issues afflict society, such as the high national debt and poor economic growth. So it is only right that politicians (and the rest of the elite) contribute financially to the nation through deductions to their incomes.

With this, the government will have more funds for pro-people programmes to uplift the people’s socioeconomic status. The onus should be on our highly paid, wealthy politicians to contribute financially to the nation’s coffers, instead of burdening the people with regressive taxes and discontinuing pensions.

This begs the critical question: why are these individuals receiving such high monthly incomes and pensions in the first place? There is simply no justification for such high incomes for these politicians, given the country’s dire financial situation.

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Instead, those who truly deserve to receive higher incomes, such as public healthcare workers, teachers, workers providing essential services and domestic workers – should be given more.

One reason so many politicians are insincere and irresponsible is the huge amounts of money they stand to earn in various political positions.

The high salaries, benefits and pensions are a powerful, corrupting magnet that entices people to get elected for the wrong reasons.

So it makes perfect sense to remove this factor from our politics and ensure that politicians only receive fair rather than excessive incomes. Politics will then lose its allure as a highly profitable career. It will then only draw those who genuinely wish to serve the people and improve society.

During this time when so many people are facing financial burden, it is unfair for politicians to receive such high incomes and live in luxury. They do not deserve such high incomes and must take a pay cut!

The amount saved should then be redistributed back to society. Instead of enriching politicians, the amount saved should be channelled into crucial pro-people programmes to ease the plight of struggling ordinary people.

Raveen Jeyakumar is a writer based in Perak who is passionate about social and environmental issues. His writings can be found at reformthesystem.substack.com

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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