Pyithu Hluttaw agrees to review election sub-commissions pay
A PROPOSAL urging a review of monthly salaries for election subcommission members was accepted by the Pyithu Hluttaw at a session of the lower chamber yesterday.
Legislation amending the Union Election Commission Law passed last month, stating that election subcommission members who are not civil servants shall have the right to enjoy a monthly salary and allowance. But lawmaker U Hla Moe (NLD; Aung Myay Tharzan), the submitter of yesterday’s proposal, said this provision would unduly burden state coffers and should be revised.
Under the law, monthly salaries for election sub-commission chairs and members at all levels is graduated based on the sub-commissions’ administrative designations. At the lowest rung is the ward- or village-level, then township, district, and state or region, at a range of K90,000 (US$75) and K70,000 per month for ward- or village-level chairs and members, respectively, up to K340,000 and K310,000 at the state and region level.
Part of the problem, according to U Hla Moe, is that the law states only that sub-commissions comprise at least three people – a chair and two members – and does not cap the size of these electoral bodies.
“In last November’s election, subcommissions were formed with five members,” said U Hla Moe.
He said sub-commissions constituted of three members would require a total budget allocation of about K50 billion annually, noting the added cost that sub-commissions formed of more than three members would bring.
“While the country has tried to fulfil the considerable needs of the education and health sectors, this great expense will be a burden on the country,” he told reporters.
He added that parliament should also review the term during which sub-commission members are eligible for salaries and allowances.
“They just worked for three or six or nine months at the most during the election. The country’s budget will face a shortage if it has to pay salaries for 60 months, until the commission’s term ends,” he said. Under the law, the Union Election Commission’s term is five years, with sub-commissions serving identical tenure.
MP U Soe Myint (NLD; Amarapura), also known as U Aung Zaw Myint, seconded the proposal. “It is presumed that it [the Union budget allocation] should pay salaries for a period they have actually worked,” he said.
The UEC is inviting applicants who are interested in working on its sub-commissions across Myanmar’s regions and states, and it will appoint selected applicants beginning in October. U Hla Moe said he had deliberately submitted his proposal so that parliament could take up the issue before sub-commissions’ new members were on the government payroll.
The Pyithu Hluttaw agreed to accept the proposal yesterday, the same day the UEC announced that a by-election to fill vacant parliamentary seats is likely to be held early next year.