Ranjan refuses ministerial salary increment

He would refuse the proposed 215% pay hike for ministers and he has notified his stance on the matter to the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in writing, said Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake.

He also challenged the Joint Opposition and former President
Mahinda Rajapaksa to refrain from obtaining this salary increment of possible.

“Even last time I was the only MP who refused the Rs. 100,000 pay hike and the Rs. 2500 attendance allowance. Therefore, I had to face criticism. I did not do this to stand out, but the country is 10.5 trillion in debt and we should be unselfish and set an example to the rest of the country is suffering. My view is that we don’t need to be above the people who voted for us.

There are ministers who own helicopters and ships. But according to my information, there are around 50 MPs who conduct their public days with the greatest difficulty. The others are millionaires and either they or their family members own liquor licenses, shops at the Airport and some even own building material businesses.

In that sense, this increment is a drop in the ocean for them. After five years we are entitled to a pension and a permit to the value of around 25 million. They also receive a MP’s official residence. However, I don’t have the right to criticise others and expect them to follow my example.

Most of them have added their whole family on the pay roll and their family members are their private secretaries. In a country like this where we have a debt burden of 10.5 trillion, I don’t think it is justified to increase the MP salaries like this. I think it is fair to increase the judge’s salaries but a politician is supposed to be a person dedicated to serve the public and it is an honorary service.

Us getting paid with public funds, purchasing of vehicles etc is unethical, when the people in the country are suffering. I don’t approve of it and I will not accept the pay hike. I will notify the Speaker and the Parliament Secretary about my stance. I don’t think all should follow me as there are some MPs who deserve this pay.

I challenge Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition to refuse the pay hike if they truly care for the country. After all there is the Chinese money as well. Mahinda Rajapaksa does not attend parliament either, but he takes the money. If possible he should refuse this pay hike and set an example to the country,” he said.