Election candidate will not draw a salary if elected
The Pharmacist throwing his hat in the ring for Parliament, Le Mamea Lemalu Mualia, has pledged not to draw a Government salary should he win his seat in the 2021 General Election.
Since announcing his candidacy in the Sunday Samoan this past weekend, the Lefaga and Faleaseela contender said is aware people suspect he wants to make money from the position by running under the banner of Human Rights Protection Party.
In a letter to the Samoa Observer, Le Mamea strongly denied this, and declared that if elected, he would pay himself a single tala for his services to his district.
“Let me put this issue to rest,” he wrote. “I will not take a salary.
“I will use my own vehicle and pay for my own gas. I will use my own phone and I will also pay for my own phone top-up, like everyone else.”
A Member of Parliament typically receives around or more than $100,000. The 2019/2020 national budget set aside $5.54 million for M.P. salaries.
Among the current members, Cabinet Minister’s salaries are $132,000 including allowances.
The Speaker of Parliament Leaupepe Tole’afoa Fa’afisi salary is $139,325 which includes his $8,000 allowance. He is the member for Aana Alofi No. 1 West.
Le Mamea said after taking his one tala salary, the rest of the likely more than $100,000 will go towards several local charities, and into the Lefaga and Faleaseela constituency’s schools, roads and community needs.
“Put me up against any candidate who is running next year and ask them if they too will do the same thing: work for free, work for the people. If they too will follow my lead, God bless them!
“I, too, like any business owner am working hard day and night to keep my business surviving like all the other businesses, and trying to keep all our employees working, paid and healthy through these hard times.”
Le Mamea is running under the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.), and is up against incumbent and fellow party member Tole’afoa Ken Poutoa.
Among his motivations to run is Samoa’s recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19, and bringing his experience in the health sector to the highest level of governance.
“I predict the effects of this Covid-19 global pandemic will continue to affect all businesses late into next year and it will take a future government with strong and effective leaders with the compassion, the skill set and the good governance mind-set to see us through this period,” he said in his letter.
Le Mamea follows a tradition of pledging to redistribute a Government salary.
More than 10 years ago, former Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key pledged to donate some of his salary to charity during the election campaign, saying he would continue what he had already been doing as Leader of the Opposition. It was never confirmed whether he did this or how much he donated when he did eventually become Prime Minister.
In December 2019, Britain’s newly elected youngest M.P. Nadia Whittome (23-years-old) pledged to donate more than half of her salary to the labour movement, saying she’ll accept more money when carers, teaching assistants and nurses get much needed pay increases.
Two years ago, the Indian M.P. and former cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar donated his entire salary and allowances to his Prime Ministers Relief Fund, destined for people affected by natural disasters and major accidents or riots.
And this year around the world, Governments have been slashing the highest of public purse salaries to either help manage the COVID-19 pandemic, or stand in solidarity with their thousands of newly unemployed citizens.
Le Mamea is the eldest of Le Mamea Ropati and Maiava Elisa Mualia’s seven children. Le Mamea Ropati represented the same district between 1979 and 1987 and between 1991 and A DATE, and is a member of the Council of Deputies.
Until recently, his father had been the sole Le Mamea title holder in the family before the pharmacist and his sister Le Mamea Peta Leniu were bestowed in December 2019.
“If I were half the man my father is, I would be the most grateful man on earth,” Le Mamea told the Sunday Samoan.
“My father came from the most humble of beginnings to be where he is right now and all I have is the most sincere respect and love for him.”
Le Mamea lives in Matautu-tai Lefaga and is a deacon of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa.
He received a Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy from the University of Queensland in 1994.