Some months ago, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong encouraged residents of Hougang to hold their Member of Parliament (MP) accountable by scrutinising how their constituency is managed. His comments could apply to any MP in a parliamentary democracy.
Indeed, a voter should hold his or her parliamentary representative accountable. This is not only measured by how well the MP manages the constituency. It is also important to follow how effectively an MP will take concerns of his or her constituents to the Legislature.
In the past few months, at least two crises have been experienced by Singaporeans. These involve defective products that have made their way into our consumer sector. As a result, there is now a supermarket sweep taking place for defective China-produced milk or milk-related products. There is also a major damage control effort being undertaken by financial institutions to help investors, since financial products sold to such investors was prima facie unsuitable.
Voters affected by such crises can therefore put their MPs to the test. They can lobby their respective MPs to raise questions about each crisis in Parliament. What kind of questions can an MP raise?
Here are some questions, by way of example, that you can encourage your MP to raise:
1. How come we were initially told that this crisis will not create problems for Singapore and later it created more problems for Singapore than we anticipated?
2. What problems has the crisis created?
3. What is being done to control the crisis?
3. How will the Government help those consumers affected by the crisis?
4. What steps will the Government take to facilitate filing of legal claims by those consumers who suffered losses?
5. What corrective and preventive steps will be taken to prevent such a situation from recurring?
6. Who and how have those responsible been held accountable for this crisis?
Finally, ask your MP this important question: how else can you help me as my MP?
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