“Opposition’s debates one-dimensional, lack substance,” says former MP

A FORMER MP has panned the quality of debates among opposition MPs in Parliament, calling the topics and issues single-dimensional and lacking substance.

Speaking on the Are We OK?” podcast hosted by fellow DAP colleague Dr Ong Kian Ming, former Damansara MP Tony Pua said one of the most obvious things in Parliamentary debates these days is the “near absolute lack of substance” among opposition MPs when debating.

“The topics and issues are always single-dimensional about race, religion, alcohol, and dressing,” he remarked.

“Running a country involves so many other things and all you can talk about is race, language use, religious issues, alcohol, and dressing. That’s all you can talk about?”

Pua noted that there needs to be more understanding of the basics of public policy, adding that the issues raised in Parliament were better during Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) time as the opposition.

In the podcast, Ong, who is the former Bangi MP, also quizzed Pua on opposition coalitions creating a shadow cabinet as a check-and-balance mechanism to the government of the day.

In response, Pua acknowledged that while forming a shadow cabinet worked in theory, it posed different issues in reality, among them the allocation of specific ministerial portfolios to parties in a coalition.

“We have three parties in the coalition so why should a certain party get the shadow minister of [a certain ministry]?” he questioned.

“Say if the (shadow) finance minister happens to be a Chinese or Indian, [people will want to know] why. These disputes will not come just within the coalition but the public fighting over shadows before the actual ‘war’ or election. It is not worth it.”

Rather, Pua reckoned that it is better that coalitions form committees comprising members from each party to discuss policies, which was PH’s approach previously.

Pua instead suggested that coalitions form committees made up of members from each party to discuss policies, which was Harapan’s approach in the past.

When questioned if PH’s approach was a successful strategy, Pua pointed out that it was the most viable option.

“Even if shadow cabinet ministers were appointed, he or she would have relied on a team of people to come up with the so-called shadow policies,” he remarked.

“So, to me, the likelihood of fighting over positions that didn’t even matter before an election will overwhelm any positives from appointing shadow cabinets.” – Jan 1, 2024


Main pic credit: YouTube screenshot/Are We OK?

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