The Parliament Public Accounts Committee is facing severe public backlash following its unilateral approval of salary increases for the President, Vice-President, Parliament Members, and other high-ranking state positions. The move, part of the 2024 National Budget’s comprehensive allocation for state position salary increases, has ignited widespread criticism.

Upon discussion, the Public Accounts Committee decided on Tuesday to increase salaries for all posts, with unanimous backing from all parties present, including the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), People’s National Congress (PNC) and The Democrats.

The Public Accounts Committee has 16 members, 10 of whom are members of the opposition MDP.

The new, increased, salaries for top state officials are as follows;

  • President’s salary MVR 120,000
  • Vice-President – MVR 93,000
  • Ministers – MVR 72,000
  • Members of Parliament – MVR 80,000
  • Speaker of Parliament – MVR 90,000
  • Vice-President of Parliament – MVR 88,000
  • Chief Justice – MVR 91,000
  • Governor of the Maldives Monetary Authority – MVR 74,000
  • Auditor General – MVR 74,000
  • Prosecutor General – MVR 74,000

Members of Parliament (MP)s will now stand to take home over MVR 100,000 in terms of remuneration, as they receive an additional MVR 20,000 as committee allowance. MPs previously earned a total of MVR 80,000 inclusive of the allowance.

The pay increases, particularly those for the MPs, drew heavy criticism from all quarters.

The salaries of the President, Vice-President and Ministers were not increased at the request of the President. Nor is it a decision supported by the President. Such a sensitive decision by a committee with a large majority of the MDP at this point without even consulting the highest officials of the administration is to create hatred in the hearts of the people.

Mohamed Shahyb, Chief Spokesperson at the President’s Office, in a post to social media strongly distancing administration support for the pay increase.

Social media was flooded with criticism against the self-approved salary hikes with some arguing salaries of MPs should be reduced rather than increased, while the legislature has failed to deliver meaningful solutions to address the every day challenges of the Maldivian public.

“The decision to increase the salaries of MPs and senior state officials further shows that the major parties, whether it is the MDP or the PPM-PNC, are acting in the same way. Political leaders are deceiving the people for the sake of getting votes. People with new thinking need to be elected to change this system,” former MP and 2023 Independent Presidential candidate, Ahmed Faris Maumoon said in a post to social media.

Meanwhile, President Mohamed Muizzu took to social media to assure the public that the salary hike was a non-consultative move on the part of Parliament and one that was neither requested, nor supported, by his administration. The increase in pay will be donated, by the cabinet, to one of the state’s welfare programmes such as ‘Kudakudhinge Hiyaa’, the state’s children’s home, the President said.

The MP for Fonadhoo, Moosa Siraj, suggested delaying the pay increase for MPs by six months, saying that increasing their own salaries might be ‘bad practice’ and whereby the increase would go into effect for the newly elected Parliament.

Salaries of judges, magistrates, members of independent institutions, directors of agencies, board members, and city and island councillors will also be increased.