Focus View
Don’t re-elect absentee MPs
FocusM team | 01 Dec 2017 00:30
With the 14th general election around the corner, political parties must ensure that only candidates who are willing to serve the people are fielded. 

The way many of our members of parliament (MPs) and state assemblymen operate, they not only deserve to be dropped, they should also be severely penalised by their party for short-changing the electorate. 

Some MPs and assemblymen have even made a fool of themselves with their silly remarks and antics while others don’t even bother to attend the sittings regularly. 

A case in point was on Nov 20. Only 103 or less than half of the 222 MPs were present in parliament when voting was carried out on the Supply Bill 2018, which is essentially the 2018 Budget.

We can’t understand the attitude of those who were absent. As it is, parliament only sits for 63 days this year. If MPs can’t even bother to do what they are paid to do, they are not fit to be elected. 

MPs are paid a monthly salary of RM16,000 or RM192,000 per annum. If you add their monthly claimable allowances comprising entertainment (RM1,500), travel (RM1,500), driver (RM1,200) and phone (RM900), it comes up to RM21,100. This is certainly far above the average Malaysian wage of RM6,000. 

Taxpayers must be wondering if their hard-earned money is being wasted on inactive and absentee MPs who are more inclined to earn extra income by doing business or holding another job elsewhere.

Gone are the days when MPs were dedicated and willing to serve the people. They were hardworking and had the welfare of their constituents and the country at heart.

But nowadays, becoming an MP or assemblyman is seen as a step to move up the political ladder. Many aim to be deputy ministers and ministers. Some even expect to be appointed to the boards of government-linked companies (GLCs). 

It will be a good idea to make it mandatory for all MPs to record at least a 90% attendance rate and actively participate in debates. And when it comes to voting on important issues, they must do so based on the views of their constituents and not their political parties.
  
There is also no good reason for MPs and assemblymen not to declare their assets. Voters have the right to know if they have other sources of income. Those who are not transparent should not stand for election.