Pay us 70pc more, say lawmakers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2006, 12:00am

Being a legislator has become a full-time job and needs rewarding appropriately, a Legislative Council subcommittee says.

If the Executive Council accepts its proposals today, legislators could be earning 70 per cent more by October, putting them on a par with directorate-grade civil servants.

That implies a rise of $38,260 a month, to $92,650. It is hoped the pay rise will attract people of a high calibre to run for office.

The subcommittee says that under the changed political environment, being a legislator should be seen as a profession requiring full-time attention. It says activities related to Legco business have increased over the years and members play an important checks-and-balances role.

'In view of the responsibility of Legco members, it is in the interests of Hong Kong that a commensurate salary should be paid them so as to attract and retain persons of high calibre and with total commitment to the community,' says a report by the subcommittee on members' remuneration and reimbursement of operating expenses.

The Liberal Party has expressed reservations but it is understood other parties are in favour.

City University political analyst Sung Lap-kung questioned the proposal for the huge pay rise, saying many lawmakers did not treat their posts as full-time ones.

He said one way to strengthen members' performance was to bolster Legco's research team.

The subcommittee also recommends the ceiling for reimbursement of expenses be increased 20 per cent because the range and complexity of issues dealt with and the size of constituencies served has grown substantially.

It also suggests legislators get retirement benefits in the form of a gratuity equal to 15 per cent of total salary paid while in office.