Is your MP up to the mark?

Posted on June 11, 2010

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In my ‘…and the best first-term MPs to emerge from the 12th GE are…’ post, I had requested that you share your thoughts on the qualities that go to make a good MP.

I had suggested, in that post, that an ‘MP’s function is to scrutinise Bills that the government is planning to or has tabled in Parliament, understand the impact and implications of proposed laws and policies that are to be  implemented, alert his constituents of any adverse laws and policies that are being contemplated, get their mandate on the same wherever possible and act on the wishes and directions of his constituents in relation thereto’.

32 people responded with comments.

You’ll forgive me for saying that most of the responses did not quite address the issue I was hoping we could all direct our attention to and come up with a consensus on how to measure up candidates come next GE when they come a calling for our votes.

7 comments were helpful.

Shawn Tan suggested that an MP should know the Constitution and laws of the land and the history of the nation and that they should possess a minimum level of knowledge and education. This, he hoped, would make for more intelligent discussions in parliament.

Tsu Chong was short and to the point. The most important criteria is sheer intelligence. At this point of time the country really needs more intelligent people in parliament. “We need young, open, and relevant leaders who have the intellectual capacity to lead”, to quote Tsu Chong.

Shakuntala suggested that as the MP was to serve the people, he or she should be a person of integrity and principles and be friendly, approachable and be available for the people, to get to know their problems.

Romerz thought that MPs must be imbued with w huge dose of common sense.

My2Sen came up with a useful list. Lots of common sense, highly intelligent, a good grasp of our Malaysian history & lots of respect for it’s multiculturalism, know enough of the law to be able to understand the proposed laws to be passed, can articulate well, does not ignore the constituents, and, last but by no means least, have a good sense of humour.

Anna Brella had three main heads of criteria : a heart, a strong spine and a working brain. She elaborated that by having a heart meant

  • personal integrity and respect for democratic principles of constitutional, national, social and enterprise governance
  • committed to responsible freedoms, civil liberties and human rights
  • committed to  a collaborative mindset to allow for the diplomatic balancing act of juggling one’s personal independence with teamwork with allied political party associates and constituent voters and fellow citizens

By strong spine,  the MP would have to ‘stand and commit to democratic convictions, party political guidelines and constituent voter expectations and to only change any agreed goal posts when absolutely necessary and then too, only through open acceptable means after wide consultation wherever possible with all affected stakeholders’.

A working brain, Anna Brella suggests, is needed for the heart and the spine to be effective.

Sharing suggested a thorough understanding of human rights norms was essential, along side an appreciation of the weaknesses in our constitution in this regard. He or she must be fully informed of the state of affairs of the nation, must possess excellent communication skills and must have a proven track record as to their mindset and work ability.

These have all been excellent and most helpful.

Do any of you want to add to the list?

If so, to the point, if you please.