Yesterday (19 July), the Sabah state government passed 2 bills to increase the salaries of the governor, state ministers and executives, and state elected representatives from 1 March this year.
In addition, entertainment allowance and regional allowance of the head of state, and the salaries of the chief minister, deputy chief minister, state Cabinet ministers, assistant ministers, state Speaker, deputy state Speaker, state MPs, and political secretaries will all increase by 40%.
According to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, this increase will cost the state government about RM5.6 million per year.
With this, the remuneration package for the members of administration and elected representatives, will see:
- the chief minister’s salary increase from RM23,595 to RM33,033,
- the deputy chief ministers’ salary increase from RM20,872.50 to RM29,221.50,
- the ministers and Speaker’s salaries increase from RM16,335 to RM22,869,
- the deputy Speakers and deputy ministers’ salaries increase from RM12,705 to 17,787
- state assemblymen will now get paid RM11,130, up from RM7,950 and,
- political secretaries will now receive RM7,623, up from RM5,445.
Meanwhile, it was reported that the last time the salary amendment was in 2016, which saw a 50% hike and before that, in 2009, salaries increased by up to 60%.
The chief minister said the salary review started during the Barisan Nasional administrations and it took into consideration the current situation of Sabah’s vast areas and other challenges.
He explained that he is aware of the negative perception from the people but said the important thing to remember is that the state needed to have good policies in place to help its people and improve their livelihood.
“The increment is needed because we are already low compared to other states in Peninsula. So we took the initiative with the intention that our elected representatives can better attend to their constituents.”
“We cannot deny that it will create some perceptions and invite discourse, but it is more important that we have plans and policies in place to help those in need. With this increase, we can help alleviate some of the financial responsibilities,” he added.
Despite the bill being passed, it was not unanimously. Opposition assemblymen said the timing of the increase was insensitive as many Sabahans were struggling from the recent pandemic and increasing costs of living.
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