Now even ex-MPs want state privilegesDays after the former president joined the bandwagon of key political leaders who have claimed excessive state privileges, former parliamentarians have demanded pension and medical services.
Days after the former president joined the bandwagon of key political leaders who have claimed excessive state privileges, former parliamentarians have demanded pension and medical services.
A delegation of the ex-MPs led by Chairman of Former Parliamentarians’ Forum Omkar Prakash Shrestha met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal in Baluwatar on Wednesday to present a memorandum seeking the privileges, confirmed the PM’s Secretariat. There are about 900 former parliamentarians in the country, according to the forum.
The parliamentarians also urged the PM to curb haphazard distribution of state funds to political leaders to foot their medical bills abroad. Key politicians have claimed hefty sums for medical treatment received abroad during 2014-15. They included former PMs Sushil Koirala and KP Sharma Oli.
According to sources, former prime minister Jhala Nath Khanal, CPN (Maoist Centre) leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Energy Minister Janardan Sharma and Maoist leader Barshaman Pun have all dented the state coffers while making medical trips abroad. Sources, however, could not confirm the exact costs of their travels.
Khem Raj Nepal, former secretary at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, termed the anomaly as legal corruption. “Since political figures have somehow managed to always avail of such services, it would definitely make former lawmakers wonder why they don’t deserve them,” he said.
“It’s absurd for the state to pay for such expensive medical trips. The government should introduce a law which allows only the sitting officials to get reimbursement of medical expenses, that too with a ceiling.”
Mahat clarifies position
Responding to reports of leaders claiming exclusive privileges, former minister Ram Sharan Mahat, who had received support from the government, said there was a difference between sitting ministers claiming medical bills under a ceiling and political leaders casually demanding the government pay for their medical trips. “When I visited the United States as a minister, it was because I had an emergency that I had to visit a doctor there. Our embassy in Washington had then paid for my expenses,” said Mahat. He also clarified that he himself paid his medical bills at Grande Hospital in Kath-mandu when he fractured his heels earlier this year.