Saturday, August 19, 2017

MP payouts under fire

News that outgoing MPs who lost their seats in last month’s election will be paid up to K5 million as a “payment for service” has aroused a storm, with some politicians saying the country cannot afford it.

Economist U Maw Than said pensions were appropriate for civil servants who had worked for the country for decades.

“But paying a pension for five years of service is controversial, especially when the country is in budget deficit. There are hundreds of members of parliament. The law should be amended.”

U David Hla Myint, who won a seat in the 1990 election, said, “The pension represents a lot of money for a poor country like ours. It looks like a waste of money.”

U Nyan Win, a CEC member of the National League for Democracy, told The Myanmar Times that the junta-era law that stipulates MPs receive a payout upon leaving office might have to be changed if it proved unpopular.

The payout is calculated based on Pyidaungsu Hluttaw MPs’ length of service and salaries, which were increased from K300,000 a month to K1 million earlier this year. MPs elected in 2010 would receive K5 million, Pyithu Hluttaw members heard this week. Military MPs, and the three ministers appointed by the commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw, do not receive the payout.

Yangon Region MP for Bahan township, Daw Nyo Nyo Thin said, “I don’t want a pension that is given grudgingly ... If people don’t like the idea, we will have to change the law.”