THE current hot spell has taken a toll on people in different ways.
While the occasional showers of late might have brought some relief to the people, it certainly has failed to douse the rising political temperature in the country.
Perhaps, one can also blame it on politicians who make statements that raise eyebrows.
High on the list is the proposal to raise the daily allowance for Selangor assemblymen from RM75 to as high as RM500 to motivate them to attend sittings.
The hike, proposed by Selangor state assembly Speaker Ng Suee Lim, who is DAP’s Sekinchan assemblyman, is mind-boggling.
Is he saying that money is above the elected representatives’ sense of duty and responsibility?
Pakatan Harapan, which won 51 of the 56 state seats in Selangor in the last general election has been in the spotlight of late for various reasons.
On Aug 31, a Chinese daily reported that many Pakatan assemblymen failed to submit questions for the upcoming sitting of the state legislative assembly.
But Ng defended them, saying that they missed the deadline as they were new and unfamiliar with the process.
Some political observers described the proposal to raise assemblymen’s allowance as political suicide when the DAP is contesting the Balakong state seat in tomorrow’s by-election.
“What message is the DAP sending to voters in Balakong?” asked an observer.
The DAP won 16 state seats in Selangor in GE14, including Balakong which fell vacant after its assemblyman Eddie Ng Tien Chee was killed in a highway accident on July 20.
Pakatan’s Wong Siew Ki from DAP is in a straight fight with MCA’s Tan Chee Teong in the by-election.
Like it or not, the money to pay assemblymen also comes from the people through tax payment.
Rising taxes is taxing the people immediately after GE14.
Over in Kampung Baru Sungai Chua, villagers have to pay RM16 per sq ft as premium to renew their land lease to 99 years.
Showing a letter from the Hulu Langat Land Office that instructed him to pay RM96,847 for his 6,000sq ft plot at RM16 per sq ft, a villager told StarMetro that he received the letter shortly after GE14 and had to pay up within six months.
According to him, it would have cost him RM15,000 under Barisan Nasional’s administration before Pakatan took over in 2008.
The Barisan, he said, charged RM2.50 per sq ft as premium.
That’s not all. The people, especially the lower income group, have to continue to battle the high cost of living post GE14.
Ironically it was the high cost of living and GST as well as allegations of corruption against the Barisan regime that led the people to ditch Barisan for Pakatan.
MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, who is Ayer Hitam MP, said in a ceramah on Tuesday that there was no drop in prices of 70% of goods and services between June and August after the Pakatan zero rated the 6% GST before implementing the Sales and Services Tax on Sept 1.
Pakatan might have abolished GST as promised, but replacing it with SST was another question.
While Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng can give many reasons to implement SST, the fact remains that it is a burden on the people.
The 58-year-old DAP secretary-general, and accountant by training, can perhaps help the Selangor Speaker to justify why the assemblymen still need more money as motivation after receiving RM30,750 as month payment.
The breakdown: RM11,250 ( salary), RM10,000 (office allowance) RM6,000 (staff salary allowance), RM1,500 (driver’s allowance), RM1,500 (special allowance such as for petrol and phone), and RM500 (entertainment).
How many Malaysians enjoy a five figure monthly salary plus allowance?