Get to know your MP

Posted on April 14, 2007

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The average voter casts his vote at the general election without really knowing much about his candidate of choice. The short campaign period after nomination day simply does not allow time to investigate the stand of the candidate on issues that may be important to voters.

I am involved in a civil society project that is being initiated to enable voters to know better the stand of their present MPs on several pressing issues that confront our country. The idea is to get a group of voters from a particular constituency  to approach their sitting MP for clarification as to his personal stand on those issues. The MP concerned will be pressed to make his stand publicly known and will be informed that his failure to do so will be taken to mean that his views do not conform to the views of his constituents.

If the MP in question does not respond or responds unfavourably, his constituents involved in this exercise will then make a decision if they wish to retain him or her in the next parliament. If they decide that he or she is not representative of their wishes, that decision will be reflected in this blog by an announcement under ‘Situations Vacant’ that a candidate is required for that constituency for the next election and inviting applicants from civil society for consideration. 

Some MPs have been found to be unsuitable given their open stand on some of those pressing issues that it will not be necessary to engage with them. Their seats in Parliament will soon be listed under ‘Situations Vacant’. Interested candidates may write in to thepeoplesparliament@gmail.com and, if considered suitable, will be supported at the next election.  

The initiators of this effort propose to start this off in the Klang Valley, which would include Selangor. The effort will then be taken to the other states.

Owing to human resource constraints, the effort will start with a few constituencies. The following constituencies have been identified. 

1. Bandar Tun Razak

2. Batu

3. Setiawangsa

4. Lembah Pantai

5. Segambut

7. Petaling Jaya Selatan

8. Petaling Jaya Utara

9. Subang

10. Kelana Jaya

The broad issues of concern that have been identified and which will be taken to the MPS are:

  • We are becoming an increasingly divided nation on account of the racial and religious politics that dominates our national political landscape. Is the Barisan government perpetuating the ‘divide and rule’ politics for their own political end so that the stated object of a ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ remains a hollow slogan?
  • A loss of public confidence in a judiciary seemingly weakened since the Salleh Abas sacking and the 1988 constitutional amendment. Is the recent call to review the Salleh Abas sacking as the starting point to restore the judiciary as the 3rd equal arm of government justified? Would the establishment of a Commission for the Appointment of the Judiciary begin the process to restore public confidence in the administration of justice?
  • The lack of transparency in governmental management and the recent disclosures of the extent of corruption that afflicts our society. Is the call to set up the IPCMC not justified? Would it not better serve the interests of the people if the anti-corruption agency was made answerable to Parliament? Is not the Official Secrets Act being abused by the government to hide from the voters the level of corruption and inefficiency that has permeated throughout the Barisan admininstration?
  • The failure on the part of the Barisan government to deliver on its pre-2004 election promise to allow greater space in civil society. Does this not mean that the ISA ought to at least be amended to allow for a ‘check and balance’? Does this not require for a repeal of the UUCA? Does this not mean that the restrictions on the print media must be lifted?  

If you live and vote in any of the constituencies listed above and would like to be involved in this effort, please send an e-mail to thepeoplesparliament@gmail.com with your full name and contact particulars. If your constituency is not listed above and you would like to initiate this effort in your constituency, please drop us a note at the address abovementioned.