MPs must not be absent from Parliament

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MPs are the people’s elected representatives and they must not be absent from parliamentary sittings, says Charles Hector.

Parliament
MPs in Parliament: – Photograph: anwaribrahim.info

Previously, there was ‘live telecast’ of parliamentary proceedings, but unfortunately most of the programmes were interviews conducted when parliament proceedings were going on. We did not see much of what was happening in Parliament itself.

Now, under the new Communications and Multimedia Minister, Ahmad Shabery Cheek, we get to see the proceedings live with no interruptions for about 90 minutes; we hope in the future, we will get the full proceedings live.

What is disturbing is that many MPs are absent – both from government and also the opposition. There may be justification if they were the Ministers and Deputy Ministers who have their own duties – but why are back-benchers and Pakatan Rakyat MPs also absent?

Remember, you are the people’s elected representatives, and the minimum requirement is that you are there in Parliament for all proceedings – asking questions and raising points for consideration.

Why are you absent? Are you out there doing business or on personal enrichment activities? MPs and people’s representatives must be persons who can and will devote their full time to their duties. Attending parliamentary sessions is mandatory unless you are sick or have some other ‘very good’ reason. It is your duty to be serving your constituents and the people of Malaysia.

If you cannot do that, then just do not offer yourself as a candidate or stand for elections, and nobody bothers whether you are there in Parliament or not.

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You absent MPs or those of you involved in your own business and work for personal enrichment, when you should be attending Parliament and doing your work as MPs, are an embarrassment. You should just resign and allow someone else to be elected. You can still be involved in the party, and go around campaigning for the party – ceramahs, etc … no need to be an MP or Adun.

I also noted that because one MP was absent, his question was skipped. Who suffers? It is the people. The chance to be able to raise questions in Parliament is so limited and precious; it is unforgivable when the MP who raised the question is absent.

The attendance sheet of MPs, including the time they arrive, leave and are absent for more than 30 minutes when proceedings are going on must be made available to the Rakyat – on the Parliamentary website.

The questions, oral/written and motions must also be placed on the website; this would also give the Rakyat an idea of which MP is seriously doing their job as an MP and who is not.

KICK MPs out – those of you who just want to be MPs but are not interested in doing your job.

Charles Hector, an Aliran member, is a human rights lawyer based in Temerloh.

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Jeyakumar Devaraj
16 Jul 2013 12.23am

Sdr Charles, I think you have a naïve conception of parliamentary proceedings. Getting a chance to speak isn’t easy – and you also have to give other PR MPs a chance. And even when you speak its not like the government is eagerly listening so that they can implement your suggestions.
The only times when the government has backed down on Bills is when there has been big protests outside parliament as well – for example, the Conversion clause in the Fed Territory Bill;. I wld say that mobilizing public opinion, getting the information out to NGOs and interested individuals is even more important than being present in the Dewan.
So the amount of time an MP spends actually sitting in the chamber cannot be the sole criteria one shd use to assess how well he or she is performing his job as MP.
Kumar