By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, May 27: The move to increase the sitting allowance for elected members attending Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sittings is timely considering that the current rate of RM50 is even lower than the meeting allowance for local government councillors.
In stating this, Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said DUN is the highest legislature body in Sarawak and the current rate for the sitting allowance is RM50 per day, which has been imposed since 1980.
“In companies, there are a board of directors. This group will receive an allowance for their presence during meetings.
“In district councils, specifically in Sarawak, the councillors will be paid a sitting allowance of RM100 for every meeting.
“Thus, for DUN, the RM50 rate for every YB attending sittings daily is relatively a small amount,” he said in a press conference after officiating RTM’s Juh Bermukun performance held at RTM Kuching Auditorium today.
He also mentioned that the increase of the sitting allowance for DUN will not have any significant effect to the State’s expenditures as the august House will only meet for about two weeks every year.
“If we increase the RM50 rate for DUN sittings which lasts about two weeks, the expenses will be very minimal.
“Thus, I believe the people of Sarawak will understand this rationale. However, the Opposition may spin this issue to their advantage,” he added.
Yesterday (May 26), Premier of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg during the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Backbenchers dinner at a local hotel in Kuching, has agreed in principle to increase the sitting allowance for DUN members.
This came following Daro assemblyman Safiee Ahmad who during DUN sitting on the same day, had called for a review of the allowance rate. — DayakDaily