2 days ago, I attended a wedding dinner of a friend. During the dinner, I has a discussion with a young member about the role of an MP.
I have always of the opinion that MPs, or members of Parliaments, should not be bogged down by local issues such as blocked drains or street lights. Their role should be more on formulating, promulgating and debating national policies. They should bring the voice of the people to the Parliament and to the attention of the leaders.
Why then, are MPs, especially those from BN component parties, concentrating on local drains and roads? I have ventured to answer this in a write up in Malaysiakini after March 8. I wrote:
The ruling parties have become rotten, especially the leading component Umno. It has become so entrenched in money politics that any projects formulated is not in the interest of the people but rather for the leaders themselves. The component parties like MCA and Gerakan have really no say in policy formulation. They thus concentrate on the job of providing excellent local services, which is not what an educated electorate wants. Drains and local issues should by right be solved by local councils, not by legislators such as assemblymen and members of Parliament.
Malaysia has a 3 tiered government, namely Federal, State and local government. By right, local issues should be taken care of by local councillors.
We used to have elected local councillors, and many countries in the West have elected local councils.. Elected local councils would be much more effective in solving local issues. This is because an elected councillor would owe their position to the electorates, and would be directly answerable to the people.
Whereas in the case of an appointed local councillors, they have become a products of political patronage. They owe their allegiance not to the people, but to the leaders of the parties that appoint them to the positions.
In Kuala Lumpur, after March 8, I have suggested to the Gerakan State leadership that they should push for the return of 2nd vote to the people, as KL folks have only one vote and that is the vote for parliamentary constituencies. I have suggested that we pushed for an elected Mayor.
But even outside KL, we should give the third vote back to the people, to have a more efficient form of government.
Many controversial issues could be better solved with an elected local councils. Funding, of course , needs to be worked out. But certain amount of taxes should be channeled back to local councils, such as in the case of Germany, where a certain proportion of income tax is allocated to the local councils for the local development and running of the local councils.
It would lead to more efficient forms of local government and more efficient forms of fund dispersing, as well as cutting down on political cronysim and patronage.
If there is any council not performing well, then it is just a matter of voting them out and voting in another batch of councillors..
That would be true to the spirits of democracy and the spirit of people are the real bosses.