‘Actors’ in the House don’t come cheap

'Actors' in the House don't come cheap - Bangkok Post, February 22, 2008
...Besides the monthly stipend of 62,000 baht per head, these men and women are also to enjoy an additional allowance of 42,330 baht, starting from the day they take the vow to fulfill their stomachs, oops, missions as our rightful representatives. Next, each MP can hire up to five assistants, each of whom will be paid 10,000 baht, as well as appoint a ''personal expert''--this one comes with a 20,000 baht-a-month price tag. In effect, we taxpayers have to foot basic monthly bills worth 174,330 baht for each MP. In a country where the daily minimum wage is still under 200 baht, the MPs' salary budget comes down to 83,678,400 baht for the whole assembly in one month, or 1,004,140,800 baht a year.
That is not all. Our MPs can also enjoy free plane rides, or if they choose to travel by train or car, an extra per diem for a person who will chaperone them. There is also a health insurance package--that's another 20,000 baht per head per year.
...The hilarious point in the report came during the question and answer period. A few MPs apparently believed they deserved more. Led by the People Power party, they called for more money to hire more assistants and personal experts than the designated quota. And sir, we also want a personal chauffeur, too. And how about reimbursing other charges--say, for when we drive to an airport in another province? One in particular asked specifically for a refund for the petrol he had paid for on the first day he came to report at Parliament...
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