MPs pay rise is a breach of the people's trust in the Rabuka Govt, proper procedures not followed - Chaudhry

MPs pay rise is a breach of the people's trust in the Rabuka Govt, proper procedures not followed - Chaudhry

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Sunday 26/05/2024
Former Prime Minister and Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry.

It’s a gross betrayal of the trust people placed in the Rabuka government.

This is the message from the Fiji Labour Party Leader and former Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry while referring to the hefty increase in salary/allowances the MPs have awarded themselves.

In a statement, Chaudhry says it is notable that in 18 months the coalition government has failed to bring in the promised increase to the minimum wage, but a hike to their own parliamentary pay was approved within 24 hours, which is a blatant breach of proper procedures.

The former Prime Minister pointed out that Parliamentary procedures were not followed in the rush to put a motion through on the highly controversial pay rise.

He says salaries, allowances and other benefits of parliamentarians, the Speaker and the President cannot be altered except by way of an amendment to the Parliamentary Remunerations Act – Section 80 of the 2013 Constitution.

Chaudhry says the Lynda Tabuya motion passed by MPs last Friday is not sufficient authority to implement the much-condemned recommendations of the Tabuya committee report.

He adds it was also highly improper of Tabuya, being a Minister, to have moved the motion without the report being first discussed and endorsed by Cabinet, and the fact that the Prime Minister did not intervene to put matters right shows a pathetic lack of discipline within his party and his coalition partners.

The FLP Leader says it was sheer greed that ultimately won the day for the self-serving MPs who voted for it, and the mounting problems of our nation cannot be solved with such selfish people at the helm.

He says the outpouring of public disgust and anger at this most recent display of the greed and self-interest that drives those at the helm of our nation is fully justified.

Chaudhry says it’s a shameful and immoral act coming at a time when the nation is going through a serious financial crisis and the economy is flagging.

The former Prime Minister adds the MPs have shown sheer insensitivity and open contempt for the cry of our poor families who struggle every day to put a decent meal on the table for their children, made worse after the imposition of 15 percent VAT on most goods and services.

He adds it’s also a slap on the face of our elderly citizens who have been crying for justice for the wrong inflicted on them in 2012 when their FNPF pensions were arbitrarily and unlawfully slashed by 50 percent, creating much hardship.

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