Thus complains a Harapan MP, who rightly criticises the failure to reform the practice of handing out money to MPs. Except, only to the extent he suggests all MPs should get the same amount of public money to keep constituents personally grateful to them.
Anyone from a country where there is good governance and honest public accounting would be shocked by the attitude that has become entrenched in Malaysia that it is OK for MPs to effectively hand out public cash. Large sums of taxpayer’s money have no place in the hands of MPs to arbitrarily hand out on ‘projects’.
These elected officials exist solely to represent the wishes of the people about the policies the government should follow, not to act like feudal lords with the people’s own money.
As this MP implies, ALL such handouts should have been abolished on Day 1 for the corrupt and self-serving practice by a political class that it is. The leader of PKR has made clear this is his reform agenda and that he wishes to see communities provided with direct government support according to clear criteria that is equally managed according to need.
Politicians are there to argue about those policies and to argue on behalf of their constituents, but it is for the government to make the decisions and to authorise any such spending.
A constituent may thank or reward an MP who argues their case well, but it will be in that context of a decision by a government who has had to balance all the interests of the country.
The Malaysian government habit has been to hand a big fat sum of public money to government MPs so they can buy their voters with the voters’ own money. The leader of PKR understands the problem and so do his MPs. If Harapan return to office these dirty old practices ought to be the first to be thrown out of the window.
Why should any constituent be forced to beg or thank an MP to get back some of their own money?
PKR’s Subang MP Wong Chen today suggested that Pakatan Harapan was partly responsible for the current Perikatan Nasional government’s decision to starve opposition MPs of funding.
Wong Chen said Harapan had the chance to right the situation but instead decided to perpetuate the practice by BN.
“How did we get into this mess? When we won in 2018, the Harapan leadership decided to ‘punish’ the then opposition by limiting their operational budget and denying them community funds.
“While Harapan MPs got RM300,000 to run our office, the opposition got only RM100,000. Then Harapan MPs received RM3.5 million to spend on our community, the opposition got a big fat zero.
“Why did we do this? Who knows? Maybe some in the leadership wanted ‘revenge’ because that was what happened to us prior to 2018. Maybe some in the leadership wanted to ‘starve’ the opposition to entice them to frog jump to us. – mkini