Friday, March 16, 2012

Superman-Level Expectations for Reps

I was at the IDEAS-organized forum early last month for the included academics, and two notable MPs from both political fronts. UKM's Anis Yusoff famously said during the forum that "The rakyat should not have this very high expectation that their MPs should be a Superman, the MPs have to be there [is] because obviously you are promoting corruption without realising [it]."

This quote above has brought out something to be questioned with. This is arguably a problem faced by first-time MPs / assemblymen or those who are from the different political front that replaced the other one from the opposite front. When this situation happens, expect calls from citizens in the constituency where you belong coming to their service centre doorstep to barge in and "demand" that their problems rectified in the first place. And if he / she is an assembly-person in a state run by non-BN, things get tougher because the funding from the BN Federal Government is not that much since they view opposition as their enemies.

One thing that people really did not get the picture is that there is a distinct difference between a first-time MP or a multi-term MP. One of the differences established is the room of error permitted. Of course, an newly-mint MP needs time to wet the feet and to do the duties required (meeting municipal councils, visit places and people, etc, getting funds). But if the MP selected is a multi-term MP then it's different. Making the same mistakes and overlooking the things the constituent have been asking over and over again is more or less not befitting the proper standard of a veteran MP. For that case, the MP is already past shelf life and should be replaced. Why would a person vote the same person over and over again if it is known that the MP / assemblyman is not doing the job properly?

A sub-question to be debated is how much room of error and how tolerant can people take before labeling a representative a slack?

To cite an example to the dilemma above, Palanviel was formerly a multi-term MP for Hulu Selangor before he got voted out in March 2008. How many things he didn't do or overlooked or how many mistakes did he make in his capacity as MP? Contrast this to an MP like Nurul Izzah who is a first-time MP with the same pair of questions above. Surely people in their constituency who want to bring up their problem will need to use a different way of approaching their MPs when talking, right? - particularly if it's a representative different from the last time. And the level of expectation has to vary and increments if the MP is re-elected for another term and so forth.

People should have a fair share of the blame, not just the politicians as well. As the last resort, they should not just leave everything to the representatives to do it but to do things at their own initiative - get together, and collaborate to get the attention of their representatives.

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