Ministers make or break based on their ability to solve people’s problems

IN MANY ways, DAP has become another party where complaints made to its leaders are falling on deaf ears. For example, despite numerous complaints to its former Damansara MP Tony Pua, the electorate is not getting any feedback or response from Pua.

The “elegant silence” by Pua, of course, did not impress retired DAP supremo Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang who described Pua as having lost touch with the grassroots. Pua has to understand that any policy developed in the ivory tower will not solve the problems faced by the people.

Intelligent Quotient (IQ) must be complemented by Emotional Quotient (EQ) or the MP’s soft spot for the people as depicted by the party’s national organising secretary Steven Sim Chee Keong (main pic).

This virtue is reflected by three-term Machang Bubuk state assemblyman Lee Khai Loon who described Sim as “a knowledgeable and effective Bukit Mertajam MP. He even wrote a few books regarding cultural sensitivity and inclusivity.”

Human Resources Minister and Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim Chee Keong

Lee who is from PKR added: “Sim is also a good communicator and very responsive to the people’s issues. I think he shows strong leadership and competence; that’s why he was appointed by PMX to be a full minister.”

A rising star?

Now into his third term, Sim, 41, made a debut in the Bukit Mertajam parliamentary constituency in 2013 with a majority of 43,063 with his majority rising to 52,877 in 2018 and 57,685 in 2022.

A former deputy finance minister working under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX), Sim stood out recently when he was made a full minister by taking charge of the Human Resources Ministry in place of fellow DAP comrade V. Sivakumar.

Within a short span, he immediately swung into action to assist the 171 Bangladeshi nationals who were brought in legally and had valid working permits. While their agent went scot-free, they were arrested following a report lodged by the Malaysia Armed Forces (MAF) when they were seen walking in a large group. This, of course, triggered the concerns among local residents in Kota Tinggi.

It was believed that they had wanted to lodge a police report against their agent after waiting for nearly half a year to find a suitable employment.

Imagine the way how the country’s reputation would have been damaged in the homeland of these foreign workers had Sim not intervened. The authorities would probably stick to the the law to charge them for over-staying in the country under Section 15(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63.

However, the circumstances they were facing had to be taken into consideration with Sim apparently being driven by his sense of justice when putting his attention to the case.

It is also heartening to see both Sim and Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution meeting on Jan 6 to collaboratively resolve the issue while ensuring better governance in the future. They are on a learning curve together.

Bravo to the duo, the agent was subsequently blacklisted and will soon be charged under the Immigration Act and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act.

After all, ministers’ job is to troubleshoot and solving people’s problems on the ground; and as fellow cabinet ministers, they should not be working in silos. Neither can their approach be superficial.

The example set by both Sim and Saifuddin is worth emulating by other ministers and political leader wannabes.

Service comes first

Some ministers may bask in their limelight with bodyguards and police outriders accompanying them everywhere they go but their job is really nothing more than being the people’s elected representatives who are vested with federal powers to solve people’s issues.

Recently, Amanah president Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu reminded his party that once elected, MPs have to work for the people, including those who did not vote for them.

A quick scanning through Sim’s Facebook account shows that this newly-minted HR Minister has a soft spot for the people in his constituency regardless of their race or religion.

He is not only the typical politician who is putting up a front but his sincerity comes through strongly from his words and actions.

If political leaders like Sim survive the temptation of bribery and corruption, they will be the next generation of Malaysian politicians who can bring hope for this country.

Among others worth mentioning are Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi (UMNO), newly-minted Federal Territories Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa (PKR), Merlimau state assemblyman Muhamad Akmal Saleh (UMNO), Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng (DAP) and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and Sarawak premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari  Openg.

Both Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh and former Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar – if she makes a comeback – would also help to bring Malaysia to the next level where service is above politics. – Jan 9, 2024

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE