A growing dissent on social media has put the spotlight on the financial benefits awarded to former Members of Parliament (MPs), as citizens demand an end to these state-funded privileges. The #StopFormerMpBenefits hashtag is gaining momentum, signalling widespread dissatisfaction with the legislative provisions that grant substantial allowances to MPs after their term ends.

Under current legislation, MPs who complete at least one term are entitled to a financial allowance of 30% of the current parliamentary salary, increasing to 45% for those serving two terms. This allowance is only granted to former MPs over the age of 55 and is discontinued if they assume any state position. Although these allowances cease when the individual takes on another governmental role, they retain access to health treatments under the parliamentary insurance scheme.

Criticism has intensified with comments from figures such as Ahmed Faris Maumoon, a former MP and presidential candidate, who supports the campaign but suggests its initiation is belated. Maumoon’s statement on X highlighted the failure to address such issues prior to elections, implying that current MPs, lacking commitments to reform, are unlikely to respond to these calls for change.

The public’s response has been sharply critical, with comments on social media emphasising that parliamentary roles should not ensure a lifetime of privilege or be seen as a means to secure a comfortable retirement at the taxpayers’ expense. Accusations of minimal parliamentary participation and poor performance are rife, with many expressing outrage over the perceived misuse of state funds for personal benefit.

The comments reflect deep-seated anger and a call for broader reforms: “It’s never too late to make a change. This should include former presidents’ benefits and all positions in government’s top brass, and limiting the number of members in Majlis and political positions in state-owned enterprises and ministries,” stated one social media user. Another pointed out, “Majlis gondi (parliament seat) is not your life insurance policy,” illustrating the perception that MPs treat their roles as guarantees for financial security.

This controversy emerges as the 20th parliamentary term begins, with a significant turnover in members — 76 out of the previous 87 MPs did not secure re-election. These outgoing MPs, many of whom only served a single term, will still receive the legislated benefits, further fuelling public frustration.

As of now, no political party or current MP has publicly supported the revocation of these allowances, despite the strong public sentiment. This has led to persistent advocacy on social media, with a clear demand for legislative reform to eliminate these long-standing financial benefits for former MPs.