The former deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker, Azalina Othman Said had pointed out that Members of Parliament (MP) in Malaysia should put the people before their ego.
She also called this situation as the “me syndrome” and said that this had lead to politicians in Malaysia believing that they were always right.
She said this in an interview with FMT and criticized that MPs with the “me syndrome” who do not want to be challenged, embarrassed or questioned.
“Unfortunately for us, we are an extremely sensitive society.”
“Especially when you are in a position of power and you expect everyone to listen to you, what you say goes. ‘Because I’m a minister, I’m right all the time. You must listen to me.’” she added.
Azalina also said MPs should not bring this attitude when meeting their constituents.
“If the people are not happy and they ask us a question and are dissatisfied, we cannot respond angrily and say, ‘I’m your MP. I know what I’m doing.’”
“When you wanted the vote, when you were canvassing the voters, you never told them that at the end of the day, after you win, ‘everything is about me, you listen to me.’ It doesn’t work that way.” she said.
Meanwhile, she also said an MP’s ultimate priority should be his or her constituents and the issues they raise. This is because each MP is given only limited time to speak in the Dewan Rakyat.
“When they debate issues, by right, the debate in that 5 to 7 minutes should be more about the constituency.”
Nonetheless, she acknowledges the right of MP to talk about the government policies in general terms, but said this often meant using up all of 7 minutes, especially if they were to go off on tangent.
“For the rakyat on the ground, they want to see their MPs voicing their issues.”
In addition, the former deputy speaker said she noticed that ministers would often resist questions from the opposition as they felt being challenged.
“A lot of the front bench don’t like to be addressed.” she said, adding that the opposition bench would often have so many questions to those in power.
Azalina then cited the importance of the select committees as they allow more discussion and oversight.
She said the select committees were not constrained by time limits and could explore issues and policies in greater depth.
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Watch the interview here: