‘Political expediency’ is telling people what is music to their ears but going to another group of people and telling them something else, says Wee Choo Keong. Principles and not political expediency will ensure that national interests come first.
Excerpts from an interview with the Wangsa Maju MP titled ‘PKR’s gadfly, BN’s critique‘ (The Sun, 14 March 2013) are copypasted below.
Q&A conducted by The Sun‘s Pauline Wong
Q: How have they [the opposition] measured up?
WCK: They have failed to play the role of a constructive opposition where they can get more credibility and become stronger every day.
From 2008 until now, the government, according to them, can do nothing right. Everything is wrong. Surely, there must be something the government has done right. And even if there is something wrong, criticism should be constructive, not destructive.
In the US, even President Barack Obama’s political opponent Mitt Romney praised Obama for his decisive actions, leading to the death of Osama bin Laden. Credit was given where credit was due.
Here, this does not happen.
If the policy is good, it should be praised. For example, the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M). Yes, you can accuse the ruling government of vote-buying, but you must acknowledge that it is good, and it gives the money directly to the people.
Sometimes, subsidies and such do not get to the people who need it. But with BR1M, the people feel it, it puts money in their hands. If something is beneficial to the people, you must call for it to be permanent.
But the way our political system goes, MPs tend to take the party line in many things. Going against party lines could have repercussions.
That’s why an MP must be bold enough to get out of it and speak up. If you stick to party lines, you cannot tell your constituents later that you never agreed to it.
A good example of being responsible is the late Robin Cook, who was UK’s foreign secretary and a British Labour Party politician. He resigned in 2003 in protest of the Iraq invasion.
See, public interest and nation building must dictate our views as elected MPs. We are the lawmakers. Nation-building and public interest must be major in our decisions.
Because for an elected representative, the priority is the people. You must be responsible to your constituents. If you see that something is wrong, and you feel you can no longer go along with it, you must take a bold decision to go against it.
Q: What do you think are the issues faced by the people, and which would be the focus for the GE?
WCK: The Opposition has been trumpeting corruption (and) maladministration as issues for the general election. Those are their aces. And the other side will say they want stability and peace. But to me, it boils down to bread-and-butter issues.
Still, some issues are planted with (what I call) the politics of hatred. Those influenced by this type of politics think, “Get rid of them (BN) at all cost.” But there, they risk becoming emperor apologists. When scandals crop up, they make excuses, and say, “The other side took more.”
Corruption is corruption, whether more or less.
In the end, what is important is that the people must feel they are being taken care of by the government. They want to live their lives peacefully with no chaos.
They do not want this politics of hatred. They want a two-party system with checks and balances. That is the ideal, of course, where there are rules of engagement, constructive engagement so to speak. But at the moment, there is none of this.
Q: What should the people keep in mind in light of the present political landscape?
WCK: People should separate what has been engineered and what is truth. It all goes back to political expediency. We don’t need that and we should abhor any political party that does things for political expediency, on either side.