Focus View
MPs must speak up and serve with a conscience
FocusM team | 11 May 2018 00:30
Now that the 14th general election is over, Members of Parliament (MPs) must get on with their jobs. 

They have their work cut out for them, especially MPs who are appointed as ministers or deputy ministers. There are many pressing issues that need to be addressed and the sooner they start, the better. 

The main concern of the people, especially those in the middle- and lower-income groups, is the rising cost of living. The implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) in 2015 and the declining ringgit meant that inflation has been creeping up in recent years.  The gradual removal of subsidies on fuel didn’t help either. 

These are issues that matter to the man-in-the-street. Besides addressing the rising cost of living, the quality of education and health services are also important. The long wait at public hospitals and pupils having to attend two-session schools are unacceptable. 

So MPs must speak up and serve with a conscience. They must debate proposed Bills intelligently instead of making silly remarks. They should also not always vote along party lines. While toeing the party line sometimes is required, they must also go down to the ground and get the views of the people before deciding.  

They should speak up even if their views are contrary to that of their party. For example, if the people are against the implementation of a draconian law, they should vote against it if the people don’t want it.  

If they don’t listen to the very people who elected them, they have only themselves to blame if they are voted out in the next election. 

For too long we have had MPs voting along party lines. In other countries, the whip is lifted to allow MPs to vote freely instead of along party lines. The whip is a party official who ensures MPs toe the party line during voting.

MPs and state assemblymen must also not party-hop once they are elected under a certain party banner. It’s despicable and a betrayal of trust. If they want to hop to another political party, they should resign and re-contest under the new party.  

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