MARCH 7 — Just over two months into 2017 and Malaysians are more disinterested in local politics than ever before.
But this is nothing new.
If there was a graph to display the interest Malaysians had in politics, one would notice a downward spiral beginning after the 13th General Elections which has gotten worse since 2016.
At the same time, discussions in Parliament seem to have worsened and many now view Parliamentary debates as little more than a talkshop.
And Members of Parliament on both sides of the House have to take a fair share of that blame.
In conversations with some friends, I’ve been told that politics at this moment is a complete waste of time simply because they view the system as being dysfunctional.
“Tiredness”, “fatigue” and “waste of time” are some of the words used to describe political developments here.
I reckon it is all down to a lack of hope when it comes to news coming out of Malaysia.
The recent rise in prices of fuel and sugar is a case in point.
And the 222 Members of Parliament are in the most ideal position to change the trend of hopelessness which has engulfed Malaysia.
Parliament has evolved into a “he said, she said” with below-the-belt punches thrown too often culminating with an MP being assaulted by a bunch of goons after a spat with a Deputy Minister who had resorted to name-calling in the House.
Essentially, there isn’t much regard given to Parliament any longer despite it being the most important institution in the country as it is the only arena which involves every single citizen of the country eligible to vote.
For starters, I hope that MPs cut out petty arguments and the usual shouting matches.
With Malaysians facing a tremendous cost of living crisis, they look to their MPs for hope that “someone out there gives a damn about their struggles.” Instead, people are left more hopeless after reading the news coming out of Parliament.
We need to address the very real concerns Malaysians have and not lack empathy like recently displayed by a minister responding to the hike in sugar prices.
In the same vein, some ministers ought to respond to the questions by MPs in more detail than the standard piecemeal answer which does no justice to those who voted them into office.
In short, Malaysians will have all eyes on Parliament this time around to look out for the issues effecting them the most. We need to see that MPs care about the challenges ordinary folks are facing. Even if the solutions cannot be provided in a snap, at least try.
I know some MPs doing that already and it’ll be great to see the others who’ve under-performed do their bit this time around.
That will go a long, long way.
It hasn’t always been the case since the 13th General Elections.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.