Two lawmakers aligned with the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) have sparked controversy after suggesting that salaries and benefits for parliamentarians are not high compared to other state institutions.

Baarah MP Ibrahim Shujau and Maamigili MP Qasim Ibrahim, leader of the PNC-aligned Jumhooree Party (JP), made these remarks on Tuesday during a debate on a motion proposing to cap the number of parliament members.

MP Qasim is a business tycoon and the founder and chairman of the Villa Group of Companies.

Baarah MP Ibrahim Shujau argued that parliamentarians’ salaries are insufficient considering the significant responsibilities they bear. He noted that the basic salary of a city council member is comparable to that of a sitting lawmaker. MP Shujau, who previously served on the Malé City Council, argues that legislators face immense responsibility as representatives of the people and should be adequately compensated.

Amid ongoing public frustration over lawmakers’ high salaries, MP Shujau and MP Qasim’s comments remain highly controversial. During Tuesday’s debate, Shujau voiced support for discontinuing insurance and other allowances for former parliamentarians, while also advocating for capping and reducing the number of parliamentary seats.