A NEW bill in Parliament proposes that MPs be paid pension for 15 years after they leave their seats.
If the Parliamentary Pensions Bill 2003 is passed into law, Members of Parliament now serving a second term and are aged over 45 shall be entitled to a monthly pension until 2021, if they opt to retire in 2006, when the next elections are due.
The family of an MP who dies before serving two terms, or clocking 45 years, shall receive gratuity amounting to two yearsâ€™ annual salary. In addition, the deceased MPâ€™s family shall receive the pension for all the 15 years, irrespective of when the legislator passed away. It is fairly understandable for MPs to want to look after their own (and a few have died in mid-term); after all many institutions do so in pension schemes of their own. It is a legitimate interest. But what is objectionable is the structure that passes the burden to the taxpayer, and the apparent spirit of greed.
The bill seeks to backdate the scheme to 1996. This smacks of selfishness, as a majority of serving parliamentarians were initially elected to the Sixth Parliament in 1996, while this is the Seventh Parliament.
It is outrageous that the government (read taxpayer) will be expected to contribute twice the amount that individual MPs will be putting into the scheme. It is as if the MPs are government servants!
We do not begrudge the legislatorsâ€™ wanting to feather their nests. They could do that with whatever structure based entirely on their own otherwise considerable emoluments. But they should not pass the burden to the taxpayer.
Donâ€™t Burden Taxpayer