RANGOON — A joint session of Burma’s Parliament on Thursday voted in favor of an immediate tripling of salaries for national level lawmakers. With the decision parliamentarians ignored a revision to the bill by President Thein Sein that would have introduced the sharp pay rise gradually.
Aung Kyi Nyunt, a member of the Upper House, told The Irrawaddy, “Union Parliament approved the increase of salary with 323 supporting votes, 175 objecting votes and 15 abstained from voting.”
The law will raise monthly salaries for Lower and Upper House members, from about US$300 to $1,000 per month and will take effect on April 1, the start of the new fiscal year. The law also increased the daily expense allowance for Union level lawmakers from $10 to $20.
Lawmakers in the legislatures of divisions and states will benefit from a salary hike that will raise their monthly income from $200 to $500, while lawmakers from self-administered zones and divisions will see a raise from $100 to $300.
“The current salary is very low and we cannot effectively help our constituency’s people. So now, when the salary increases we can frequently go our constituency,” said Aung Kyi Nyunt.
Union Parliament first put forth the proposal for the salary increases in late 2014, but Thein Sein intervened after the bill was sent to him and revised its implementation to make the introduction of the raise more gradual.
The president said on Monday that decisions about lawmakers’ salaries should be made not by lawmakers themselves, but by government administrators after calculating the annual budget.
However, on Tuesday a parliamentary committee that had drafted the bill advised against accepting the president’s amendments.
By comparison, deputy Ministers earn about $2,000 per month, while ministers are paid $3,000. Director generals’ salaries were on par with lawmakers at $200 to $300 per month. Military seat-holders are paid according to their rank.