11/20/2010

Cutting talk time in Parliament is right

When it was first proposed, many people were irked by the move. By restraining MPs from speaking in Parliament when that is the most important part of their job I think, baffles the role of Parliamentary sessions. Parliament is the highest body in the country and MPs must be allowed all the time in the world to say their piece. If MPs cannot talk in Parliament or allowed only a few minutes to talk, might as well abolish Parliament. Those were some of the views from the masses. Today ST published some statistics which proved beyond any reasonable doubt that cutting talk time is the right thing to do. Many MPs don't even speak in Parliament or ask only a handful of questions. So what is the point of having long talk time? Ok, it may be just a provision and whether they use it or not is a separate issue. Who knows some Rip Van Winkles may woke up and want to speak for 3 days nonstop? The curbing of talk time in Parliament may be a bit harsh on those who have a lot of questions and things to contribute. Cutting their time is like telling them that they are talking too much and to shut up. The point is that when MPs have a point to say, especially an important one, time must be the least of concern. Only when an MP is talking rubbish that he/she should not be allowed too much time. With the new restriction, let's hope the Speaker is sensible enough to make exceptions and allow MPs to speak beyond the time limit when the points made are important and relevant. In the same vein, when MPs are talking cock, even the time allocated is too much and the Speakers shall rule the MP out from talking more nonsense. Maybe a little tweaking is necessary here. MPs who are known to ask a lot of questions should be allocated more time. MPs who have nothing to say should not be given anytime. Their time can be apportioned to the voracious question askers. Fair right? Another way is to allow MPs to buy and sell talk time credits like carbon credits. MPs who choose not to ask questions can sell their time to MPs who have plentiful of questions. There can be different variations on how this can be done. But one important thing, Parliament is there for discussing important state matters and time must not be an excuse to curtail talking about them. The saddesst thing that can happen is for the Speaker to ask an MP to sit down because he/she has exceeded the time limit though what the MP is saying is important and all wisdom, and for the good of the country.

7 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

The PAP, over time has become more and more arrogant, and ultimately they will pay the price for all their lack of reality.

Cutting talk time is another way of making the process of introducing new legislation "quicker".

This is very bad. You might ask: "What then is the right time?"

The time to do a good job, is the time it takes to do a good job. The key here is "doing the best job possible" (even if there is some "waste"), not cutting down on time.

People who cut down on time, just for time's sake are known as IMPATIENT. Impatience, to me is the worst "evil" of all: it encourages people to lie, to cheat, to steal, to be in fear, to cut corners, to be rude...all for the sake of "saving time".

The message this sends to the people is that the MP's like the high pay, but when it comes to their job it is: "Ka kin kakin...ah chin chye lah...do a fast one lah...wasting time...just soot lah!! - language you would expect from a Desker Rd hooker, not an MP on the public purse.

And in keeping with that message is the example in action. Ideas can be contagious, especially when it rewards laziness -- getting big money for sub-standard work.

Back to the comment on PAP arrogance: The PAP's arrogance and "talking down" to people is losing them support. The best (to me) part of all this: the PAP's reprehensible political conduct are pushing more people -- especially YOUNG people over to The Left.

OK, forget about the baby boomers and young folks. People like my aunties and uncles -- all in their 80's now, are having doubts about the PAP. These were the people who supported Lee from the very beginning -- people with the "Old School Conservative Values": be responsible, study, work, be thrifty, focus on family, form good relationships, obey the law, don't go to the govt. for "help", if you do, be shameful.

Now, old fogeys and still conservative -- they're having doubts about the PAP.

The opposition parties are doing a far better job -- despite the restrictions on political advertising -- in gaining new supporters than the PAP incumbents are doing to keep their supoorters

Thank you PAP -- you are driving conservative Singaporeans in to the "loving arms" of SOCIALISM and a consequential WELFARE STATE.

Matilah_Singapura!

Wally Buffet said...

I have a simple suggestion to our esteemed and honourable house.

Do not cut the talking time. Instead, cut the number of MPs and in the process, saving money as well. Most are dead woods anyway.

Long long ago, I could recite to you the names of each and every MP in the house. Nowadays, I don't even know the names of more than 10 of the kuchingkurup representatives save for those prima donnas and some well known comedians and bunglers who are too hard to ignore. That tells you that these new MPs are either musical chair warmers or who has made no mark or memorable impression at all to national discourse in our country.

Hehe.

Anonymous said...

Mr Bean; like to ask You a question.
How would it pleases You if more time are given and or alloted to Pro establishment parliamentatrians ?
Dont You think your readers here will be irked and that You may be responsible for causing their unhappiness ?
Thank You !

Matilah_Singapura said...

Absolutely agree with Wally's suggestion.

Parliament has grown too big. WTF, Singapore is a small island with only 4-5 million people (about the population of rockin', partyin' Sydney). Why the need for such a large parliament?!?

I remember "civics" class in school where you had to know the names and portfolios of the ministers. Now forget it lah... you have NMPs, sleeping MPs, PM, SM, MM...this lunacy ain't stopping anytime soon.

Singaporeans should visit the OLD parliament house. The old chamber's still intact. Notice the size of the chamber -- damn small. Hotels have function rooms larger than the small space used to run the country.

That's another thing: the PAP used to believe in "strong state" "small but efficient govt". when LKY changed his mind about pay and "justified" high salaries for ministers and civil servants, that was the end.

Just like private sector markets, the moment you inject cash into the system, the system EXPANDS.

The difference: In the private sector (capitalism) if you make a wrong "speculation" on where to inject the capital, you lose money and that signals a "poor decision, and the flow of capital to that venture stops or peters out. To grow your enterprise you need 2 things: cash flow and profit.

In govt, (socialism) you can lose money and keep on losing money -- but the money keeps pouring in. As long as the productive class can be pillaged, the govt can continue to exist and grow.

Wally Buffet said...

I googled our MPs remuneration and came to the realisation that these talkers ain't cheap.

They cost the state a whopping $225,000 annually a pop. A bonus and pension is also payable.

So this bolsters my case for less not more members of the House if we only consider the monetary costs and not the productive input from them which if taken into consideration would also send more of them into mothballs.

Talk is not a matter of long or short. It is whether it is qualitative or quantitive talk, the polite way of saying, "Talk the walk, not talk cock."

Hehe.

Anonymous said...

Cost being one thing, with over 80 PAP Members versus a handful of NMPs and few Best Loser MPs(from Oppositions), if allocation of talk time is uniformly alloted, one can imagine what Parliament Debates will be about.
National Policies does not depend on Parliamentary Debates alone, it is an ongoing round the clock process. What we see and hear in Parlimentary Debates are just to give us some ideas of what's going on in our state, that's all.
The important issue is that the State is properly manage for the best possible reults for the people and the State, not that few days of hourly debates.
The Substance counts, not the Forms.

Anonymous said...

Redbean sir,

If selling talk time and buying talk time in Parliament becomes a business, who is going to benefit and who pays from such arrangements? It surely is not fair to voters, who voted their representatives to speak up for them in Parliament, not to sell off their rights to speak to another MP representing another constituency.

If it benefits 'monetarily' the MPs who sell their talk time, more MPs may give up attending Parliament in order to make more money by selling their talk time to others.

If it is just selling their talk time for credits or otherwise, it will still boil down to benefits and disincentives.

In time to come, not only will me and Wally not know the names of 10 MPs, even knowing the names of their representatives in Parliament may be difficult for some voters who put them in Parliament.