Nice try, but political academy won’t solve existing problems

DEWAN Negara President Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim’s recently proposed that a political academy be established to provide official training to elected representatives.

It has become a necessity, he told the press during a recent event, for the Government to consider establishing such an academy which would equip elected representatives with, among others, knowledge of legislation and the customs of various races in the country.

“Those (elected representatives) who win will go straight into Parliament, with no training on the dos and don’ts in Parliament…it is important for politicians to undergo training,” he said.

But here’s the thing: knowledge of legislation is not the problem here, and neither is the fact that they have no training in the do’s and don’ts in Parliament.

Rather, the problem has got a lot to do with the elected representatives’ bad attitude and money politics, and, unfortunately, this isn’t something that any academy can fix. Any casual political observer would be able to tell you that Malaysian politicians, in general, have a bad rap.

They play a dangerous power game that is constantly fraught with political back-stabbings, double-dealings and power grabs, and right at the centre of them all is greed.

In this case, power and greed often come hand in hand, and there is nothing any academy can teach you that can change that.

Furthermore, in the face of an election, it is quite common to have politicians routinely claim that they are motivated by a ‘desire to serve the nation’, and if elected, they will ‘champion the needs and rights of the people’.

To be fair, there are some earnest politicians out there who try their utmost to solve the nation’s countless economic, social and health issues.

However, there are also others who – by placing their own selfish desires above the struggles of the rakyat – have allowed greed to overrule their integrity and good judgement.

Political drama notwithstanding, my question is, is an academy – and the relevant ‘training’ – necessary at this point?

Well, not really.

The very nature of the democratic process means that we assume elected representatives should be able to rely on the knowledge and expertise that they have already acquired outside politics to help them perform their political roles.

That being said, as elected representatives, shouldn’t they already know legislations and the customs of various races in Malaysia like the back of their hands?

Rather than setting up a political academy, perhaps what is more important is for the Government field more people with common sense, empathy and high accountability to break the chain of negativity surrounding these elected representatives in office. – April 14, 2021

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