19 Oct 2011

Tongan MP questions government's new medical regulation

4:28 pm on 19 October 2011

An independent Tongan MP has spoken out against a regulation passed by parliament this month which allows MPs additional financial benefits while receiving free medical treatment abroad.

Aisake Eke has questioned the addition of daily, transport and rent allowances to every MP's basic salary for the first 14 days of treatment - as well as two return business class airline tickets.

Mr Eke, who's Tonga's former Secretary of Finance, says the government's increased spending on MPs is of particular concern in light of the country's dire financial situation.

"The economic status of Tonga now is weak like every small island country affected by the global financial crisis, plus also our own economy which is basically relying on remittances. So, the government is basically the main variable in the ecomomic equation to at least maintain the economic situation."

Tongan MP Aisake Eke was one of eight MPs who opposed the new regulation.