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Arabisc: Jordanian MPs Having a Ball!

Jordanian blogger Batir Wardam doesn't mince his words when he says that Jordan's Members of Parliament are in for a great weekend. After all, for a few hours of work, they enjoy the perks of being amongst the highest paid civil servants in Jordan.

سوف تكون نهاية اسبوع سعيدة للسادة النواب في الأردن، فكثير من الأحداث والتوجهات في الأيام الماضية كانت كلها تصب في مصلحتهم وتجعلهم من الأردنيين السعداء الذين يمكن لهم أن يسترخوا بمنتهى الراحة والإطمئنان بعيدا عن الحسد وينظروا بكثير من الأمل والإشراق إلى المستقبل القريب والبعيد. باالفعل أنه لمن حسن الحظ أن يكون المرء نائبا في الأردن في هذه الأيام ودعونا نعطي أمثلة من ثلاثة أحداث كانت السمة الغالبة على العمل العام في الأردن هذا الأ
“MPs in Jordan have a happy weekend. A lot of the happenings and directives over the previous few days were all in their benefit and make them amongst the Jordanians who will be able to enjoy and relax over the weekend away from envious eyes. They will also be able to look at the future with hope on the short and long run. It is truely a good omen for a person to become an MP in Jordan nowadays. Let me give you three examples of incidents which characterised public work in Jordan these few days,” he writes.

Wardan isn't pleased that a date for the next parliamentary elections is yet to be set.

في كل يوم واسبوع وشهر يمر بدون اتخاذ موقف سياسي واضح تجاه عقد الانتخابات النيابية القادمة في موعدها الدستوري في العام الحالي يكون خيار التمديد للمجلس هو الأكير أرجحية وتكون دعوات بعض النواب بإطالة عمر المجلس والتي سمعها الناس تحت القبة ربما تحولت إلى حقيقة
“Everyday, week or month which goes by without taking a clear political stance on whether the parliamentary elections will be held at their constitutionally correct period this year, proves that the currect parliament may be extended. This will show that calls by MPs to make the life of this parliament longer may see light,” he adds.


To add insult to injury, Jordanian MPs not only seem to want to stay longer in their elected posts.. but also want to enjoy more perks and power. Being a member of the esteemed Parliament is surely not enough – not when there is a new law which guarantees you can have it all. All of it.

الحدث الثاني المهم كان إقرار قانون البلديات والذي أعطى النواب الحق في الجمع ما بين منصب النائب ومنصب رئيس البلدية وهذا يعني إنتاج “نواب سوبر” يمتلكون نفوذ النائب ورئيس البلدية معا أي الجمع بين القوة التشريعية الرقابية والقوة التنفيذية المالية والإدارية. ومن الطبيعي أن يشكل هذا الجمع الحلم النموذجي لكل شخص يطمح في زعامة محلية .
“The second important incident is rubber stamping the new municipalities law, which stipulated that MPs have the right to combine the posts of MP and Municipality Chairman. This produces a Super MP who has both the rights of an MP and a Municipality Chairman in one. This allows him to enjoy the legislative, control, monitoring, executive, monetary and administrative powers in one go. Naturally, being able to enjoy all those powers all at once is the ideal dream any person would want to ensure local leadership,” writes Wardam.

Wow! This is mind boggling indeed and it sure takes a Super MP to be able to juggle all those tasks. But as far as the carrot and the stick policy goes, Jordanian MPs sure have a lucrative carrot dangled in front of them. Wardam insists that it is money and not love which makes the world go round for them.

الحدث الثالث المهم هو نظام رفع الرواتب العامة. لقد استمعنا إلى خطابات نارية من السادة النواب اثناء مناقشة الموازنة العامة حول ضرورة رفع رواتب الموظفين لمكافحة الفقر ودعمهم على مواجهة الصعوبات الاقتصادية وبالفعل تم ربط الموافقة على الموازنة بملحق خاص لرفع الرواتب. ما ظهر من معلومات حول كيفية رفع الرواتب ونشرتها الدستور قبل يومين كان أمرا مذهلا بحق. النسبة العظمى من الزيادة في الرواتب ستكون مخصصة لموظفي الفئة الأولى والأمناء العامين والوزراء وأيضا للنواب والأعيان حيث سيصبح راتب النائب الواحد 2000 دينار.
“The third incident is increasing salaries in the public sector. We have all heard the firey speeches given by the MPs when the national budget was being discussed and heard their calls for increasing the salaries of public servants to fight poverty and face increasing economic challenges. They have in fact succeeded in increasing salaries and what was published in the newspaper about the increase in salaries is amazing indeed. The largest segment of salary increases is reserved to the first class employees including ministers, top officials and MPs, whose salaries will now become 2000 Jordanian Dinars for each MP,” explains Wardam.

A higher salary would mean more responsibilities and a greater work load. Not necessarily, sighs Wardam.

نضيف على الراتب المياومات الخاصة بالسفريات والإقامة في عمان والسيارات والضمان الاجتماعي والراتب التقاعدي فتصبح وظيفة النائب هي الأكثر ربحا في الأردن مقارنة بالجهد. في هذه الحالة سوف يصل معدل راتب النائب إلى 70 دينارا في اليوم اي حوالي مئة دولار يوميا وهو راتب مستشار فني للبنك الدولي والأمم المتحدة والمطلوب من النائب هو حضور جلسات البرلمان بمعدل ثلاث جلسات اسبوعيا في خمسة اشهر في السنة وتمضية بقية العام بدون اية مسؤوليات مباشرة. وللأسف فإن السادة النواب يعجزون حتى عن إكمال النصاب القانوني في الجلسات الهامة ويمضون الوقت خارج القبة وفي الأحاديث واللقاءات الاجتماعية وربما يكون الراتب الجديد حافزا لهم للصمود في كراسيهم اثناء الجلسات وقراءة الأوراق ومشاريع القوانين بشكل أكثر تركيزا
“In addition to the salary, let's add the amounts being paid for travel, accomodation in Amman, cars, social insurance and the pension. This will make being a MP the most profitable business in Jordan, when compared to the effort put in. According to this calculation, an MP would earn BD70 per day or $100, which is the salary of a technical advisor at the World Bank or the United Nations. And all that is required of the MP is to attend three sessions per week for five months a year .. and spend the rest of the year without any direct responsibilities. Sadly, many MPs fail to attend to complete the quota, especially in important sessions and spend most of their time outside the parliament meetings and socialising. Perhaps the new salary increase would motivate them to sit on their seats during the sessions and read the draft laws with more concentration,” he says.

Don't you now want to become an MP in Jordan? I am off to pack my bags!

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