“Nothing to fuss about being dropped; you’re just not that politically savvy”

A CONTROVERSY has erupted among political parties both in the Government and Opposition about some MPs being dropped and replaced with new or younger ones. 

This is a natural political process and there is nothing to fuss about it. In fact, two- and three-term MPs should give way on their own accord so opportunities can be provided for others who may have been overlooked before, not criticise or challenge the decision of the party leadership who have their own reasons for the change. 

Election time is the best chance for change to transform or rejuvenate the party and there are various considerations – sometimes being seen as biased or unfair – in retaining or dropping MPs or state assembly representatives.

In the public and private sectors, one sees employees being transferred, promoted or dropped and this is all part of the process of change.

An MP who has been there for too long is bound to take things easy and their constituents will suffer due to there being no viable alternative. 

An MP or state representative is supposed to climb the rungs of leadership in the state or at the national level within one or two terms. If they fail to do so, it simply means that they are not the right material for higher levels of leadership.

MPs in the higher echelons of the party are safe even though they may have served two terms or more. These MPs will definitely be selected as they occupy important party positions at the state and national levels.

On the other hand, MPs who do not make the cut during party elections become vulnerable to change during the general elections.

If an MP after one or two terms cannot progress to positions such as parliamentary secretary, deputy minister or minister in the ruling party it simply means that he is not politically savvy enough in the rough and tumble of politics.

Safe seats?

Another issue is safe seats. Some so-called safe seats become a risky proposition when a heavyweight from another party decides to contest it. This is good as some MPs can be seen resting on their laurels and doing nothing without any strong opponents. 

Why can’t the MPs who have been dropped ask for state seats? An exco position in the state is more powerful than the post of MP.

In fact, any politician who really wants to serve the people should become a state representative rather than an MP; a state representative can do much more than a parliamentarian, who will be more interested and focused on the legislative process and monitoring the Government.

Due to the absence of Government elections in the country, state representatives also serve as unofficial representatives of the third tier of Government, despite the prevailing local system of appointed councillors.

It is the duty of the state rep to look after the interest of the people, and this is less of a duty for MPs.

There are also usually two or three state constituencies in every parliamentary constituency. 

Granted, some state reps do not like MPs interfering in what they perceive as their exclusive domain. Some state reps or parliamentarians – despite being termed good and friendly by their ardent supporters – hardly bring up important or general matters affecting the constituents in the state assembly or Parliament. But when the party drops them, there is a big hue and cry!

With lots of young people joining political parties and millions of above-18 youths being given the privilege to vote for the first time, the composition of the leadership of the political parties should reflect these new circumstances. 

MPs who have served two or three terms and have been dropped for GE15 should be thankful to the party and the constituents and move on.

They should volunteer to strengthen their parties with their experience and expertise and, if the parties become successful to take over the Government, they can be considered to assume posts at Government-linked companies (GLC), embassies, ministries and so on.

Being denied an MP ticket is not the end of the world. The MPs concerned should continue to serve the party and people diligently, and by doing so they can in the future be re-selected and re-elected. – Oct 30, 2022


V. Thomas is a Focus Malaysia viewer.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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