SELANGOR, Malaysia- Malaysia's richest state, Selangor, is tripling the salaries of its 13 state Cabinet ministers and doubling the salary of its chief minister, citing their increased responsibilities.
In addition, Selangor, which is governed by the Pakatan Rakyat federal opposition alliance, has nearly doubled the salaries of its 56 state legislators or assemblymen, said Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim on Wednesday.
Members of the state Cabinet, or executive councillors, will see salaries rise from RM6,109 to RM20,250 (S$7,860). Tan Sri Khalid's pay will go up from RM14,175 to RM29,250 - the first wage hike for the chief minister's post since 2005.
By comparison, Prime Minister Najib Razak gets RM22,826 a month while his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, gets RM18,168.
"The increase was decided upon following the insistence and demands of the assemblymen. The amendments to the remuneration were implemented based on these concerns," said Mr Khalid on Wednesday.
Yesterday, he defended the move in response to comments from parliamentary opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim that the increase was "quite high".
"It's not 'quite high'. We do not raise the salary unnecessarily. In fact, the salary in Malaysia is quite low," he was quoted by news portal Malaysiakini as saying. Datuk Seri Anwar said on Wednesday that the Menteri Besar should explain the basis for the increases.
Pakatan assemblyman Xavier Jayakumar defended the pay hikes as well, saying: "Experienced professionals earn RM10,000 or more. Top executives with telcos and housing developers earn RM20,000 to RM30,000, not including bonuses."