Sunday, 4 May 2014

Singapore's governance: should MPs only be MPs?

I sent a letter to the Straits Times Forum for publication a few weeks ago. The Forum chose not to publish my letter. I have reproduced the text of my letter below. 


The Straits Times,

April 20, 2014.
To the Editor:
Recently, I had cause to write to my Member of Parliament (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) to seek his assistance with a particular matter. I was disappointed not to receive an acknowledgement of my request for assistance, leave alone any assistance.
It was not until I followed up with an email ten days later that I finally received a response from my MP. His response was upsetting as the text indicated he had neither bothered to fully read my initial communication nor attempted to properly understand my situation.
Perhaps the blasé manner with which my plea for help was treated is due to the competing demands on an MP's time, i.e. maintaining a professional career within a law firm alongside his duties as an elected representative? In light of my experience, it seems appropriate for the authorities to initiate an independent study to determine whether time spent by an MP on his 'external' professional career, say as a lawyer, impinges on his ability to carry out his obligatory duties towards his constituency.

If the government wishes to maintain the trust of the electorate then the attitude reflected by the MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh does not help. Ignoring requests for help from a constituent simply widens the perceived gap between the 'ruler' and 'ruled.' It is time the governing party implements and enforces quantitative standards upon its elected representatives, e.g. response times to requests, etc. Such delivery standards are the norm within any efficient managerial establishment, including Singapore's own bureaucracy, and are necessary to maintain Singapore's usually high standards of governance.

Yours sincerely,

Imran Ahmed. 


  1. What about the MP who doesn't even need to show his face at the MPS? Why does PAP allow this MP to draw his monthly allowance and yet not required to perform his full duties & responsiblities?

    Is that not a direct deceit of his constituents' trust?

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      Good questions all. I believe delivery / response standards should be implemented on all sitting MPs. After all, if such standards can be imposed upon the bureaucracy then why not elected representatives?

      Kind regards,