MPs pay hike demand PR defense

May 28, 2024 12:51 pm

[ Source : Parliament of the Republic of Fiji/Facebook]

The choice to enter Parliament is a matter of personal or professional aspiration not a compulsory duty imposed on individuals.

Political Sociologist Professor Steven Ratuva emphasized this after he was questioned by FBC News on how some Fijian MPs are justifying their pay hikes by citing the high costs of joining a political party and campaigning.

Prof Ratuva highlights the public perception that parliamentary roles come with numerous privileges, though these privileges are accompanied by responsibilities.

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He criticized the lack of debate or discussion on the move to increase MPs’ salaries and allowances, noting that Parliament simply adopted the Emoluments Committee’s recommendations without scrutiny.

The Fijian academic argued that Parliament should have first passed legislation to establish a Remuneration Authority which would then determine MPs’ pay.

“So making this connection making sure that there is transparency in terms of justification for any increase. And that happens all the time in I mean for civil servants for civil servants. For academics, they have to work very hard to demonstrate that you deserve an increase.”

Prof Ratuva also pointed out the need for greater transparency regarding the roles of Ministers and Assistant Ministers, questioning their contributions beyond publicized project openings.

To address the growing discontent, Ratuva suggested that the government undertake a robust public relations campaign.

This campaign, he says should clearly explain the reasons for the pay increase, detail MPs’ contributions to public welfare and connect these actions to their election promises.

Prof Ratuva states that by doing so, the government can help the public understand and potentially support the salary adjustments.