FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE
June 2, 2008
FRETILIN opposes luxury vehicles for MPs
FRETILIN has criticised a proposal by Timor Leste’s ruling coalition to give each of the impoverished country’s 65 members of parliament a new luxury Toyota Prado 4WD vehicle, costing USD$39,000 each.
“This arrogant and selfish move by the AMP coalition is a scandal when most Timorese live on a dollar a day and many lack basic necessities such as adequate food, water and electricity,” said FRETILIN parliamentary leader Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres on behalf of all FRETILIN MPs.
The proposal to buy the vehicles was put forward last week by the AMP President of Parliament, Fernando Araujo Lasama, and Vice-President of the Parliament Vicente Guterres.
Aniceto Guterres said acquisition of the 65 vehicles was not provided for in the current budget, meaning funds would have to be diverted from other spending programs. He said parliament had already approved a smaller budget to buy fewer and cheaper vehicles, to allow parliamentary committees to work more effectively.
“However, AMP MPs have insisted that parliamentarians be given one luxury vehicle each, to be fully maintained by the State, claiming that it is a question of maintaining the ‘dignity’ and ‘importance’ of MPs. We reject that totally,” added Guterres.
“During the last parliament there were fewer vehicles available for MPs to undertake committee work, yet the committees did more work more effectively than they do now.
“MPs already receive US$10 per day as transport assistance. That is sufficient compensation for us to undertake our work as MPs.”
Guterres said Fernanda Borges, leader of the National Unity Party (known by its Portuguese acronym PUN), has also rejected the Toyota Prado largesse proposal.
“In contrast, many AMP MPs have complained about the delay in acquiring and delivering the luxury vehicles, declaring that, if they are not forthcoming, then they will not attend parliament, including when the AMP de facto government brings the proposed Budget to parliament early next month.
“We encourage those AMP MPs to act on their threat, because we believe the foreshadowed budget is irresponsibly and unnecessarily large.
“We will seek the support of all MPs, including certain disenchanted AMP MPs, to work with us to make the Budget more responsible and directed at effectively providing sustainable development for our people and nation, instead of lurks and perks for politicians.”
Guterres said there had been rumors that a ‘development partner’ of Timor-Leste has proposed topping up the budget’s vehicle allocation to pay for the Toyota Prados.
“FRETILIN calls on donor countries not to engage in such inappropriate, irresponsible and insensitive support. Luxury vehicles for MPs are not poverty eradication - pure and simple,” Guterres concluded.
Contact: Jose Teixeira +670 728 7080, +61 438 114 960; Nilva Guimaraes +670 734 0389