Being An Mp Should Be A Full Time Job Says Analyst
Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil “basically has nothing much to do” outside of the 68 days of parliamentary meetings, says political scientist Wong Chin Huat.PETALING JAYA: Political scientist Wong Chin Huat has called for politics to be made more professional, and the role of MPs changed to a full-time career.
Speaking at an online forum today, Wong said professional parliamentarians would have more time for their duties and would be able to work more efficiently.
“We need the opposition to be much more effective and not just dreaming everyday of coming back to power. We also need the government to be much more accountable,” he said.
Wong, a fellow of the Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development, was speaking at a webinar organised by the Global Bersih electoral movement.
He said Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil was only able to attend his office in Parliament House for only 68 out of 365 days last year “just because he’s not a minister and was only a government backbencher, and now an opposition member”.
“Besides the 68 days in Parliament he basically has nothing much to do,” Wong said.
He said people needed to have more realistic expectations of politics, while overseas Malaysians must also play their part to protect democracy in Malaysia.
Fahmi urged Malaysians abroad to not give up on the country as they were still part of the country’s political discourse.
“The thing which I fear is that we give too much focus on the electoral race, that we miss out on the bigger picture of what democracy should mean to our society, which is that democracy doesn’t end at the ballot box, it doesn’t end once you cast your vote, whatever the system is,” he said.
“This mindset shift is necessary for us not to lose hope but to have faith that we have a voice, we have agency even if we don’t have a vote. The vote is not the be all and end all,” he said.
Fahmi, who is PKR communications director, said Pakatan Harapan should look at strengthening ties and connecting with the Malaysian diaspora, which comprises almost 2 million Malaysians, according to a 2017 United Nations (UN) report.
Global Bersih coordinator for San Francisco Colin Rajah said overseas Malaysians could still push for reform despite living far away from home.
“One of the things Global Bersih has done in the past quite successfully is to bring certain issues including Anwar Ibrahim’s imprisonment to the UN Human Rights Council.
“Put it on the agenda board. Other countries are talking about it, other countries are calling it into question, why is this happening and putting pressure on it. Don’t underestimate this kind of global pressure,” he said. - FMT
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