SIBU: The Barisan Nasional (BN) wants to transform itself, including exploring new ideas and different approaches, to stay abreast of the people’s needs and aspirations amidst a different political landscape.
State BN secretary-general Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi said: “Indeed yes, we in BN want to transform the party in order to meet the aspiration of the people and to remain relevant especially meeting the needs of the youth.”
Dr Rundi, who is Assistant Minister of Public Utilities (Electricity and Telecommunications), said this when asked if the setting up of the political lab proposed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is imminent given the different dynamic political landscape with youth having a different set of needs.
Najib, who is the BN chairman, was recently reported by Bernama to have said the lab would be set up this month to propose specific changes needed for the coalition.
The prime minister was further quoted to have said the move was to ensure BN continues to succeed in future.
Bukit Begunan assemblyman Datuk Mong Dagang reckoned that the political lab was indeed appropriate in view of the challenging political landscape taking place.
“Perhaps, new ideas and different political approaches and strategies need to be considered by the coalition in order to remain relevant and be assured of support by the people,” Mong, who is Agriculture (Research and Marketing) Assistant Minister, said in a text message from overseas to The Borneo Post.
“However, I would suggest the youth and women wings of parties in the coalition should be invited and included in the lab,” said Mong, who is PRS Youth chief.
Meanwhile, Santubong MP Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, noted the issue of establishing the lab was mooted because of suggestion by a segment of BN component suggesting that the BN be changed to a single party rather than just a coalition of 13 or 14 parties.
“That means to be out of communal politics to become a multi religious, racial and ethnic party. Then, re-branding and reform for the BN. This, according to newspaper report, needs thorough study. So perhaps, the lab will consider the aspect.”
Wan Junaidi, who is Deputy Home Minister, figured the thinkers and the lab could decide on the structure, organisation, candidates and guidelines.
He mentioned that it was the elected representatives who would see whether the thing would work.
“In a democratic country, there is no one formula-fits all circumstances and situations for human relation. He or she must know his role as a people’s representative,” he said.
He stressed that as a starting point, the elected representatives need to be close to the people to feel their pulse.
Wan Junaidi said this was because different people and communities had different needs and demands, adding that this changed with time and situation.
Hence, the people’s representatives must tailor their approach to meet people’s wishes and aspirations.
He added that the generation gap too must be addressed according to the changing times.
“Political leadership and government must also adjust and ready to assist the need and demand as well. In the words of the prime minister, the era of government knows all has passed,” he noted.
He said people’s representative must know his or her role as a legislator; what were the powers, privileges and obligations associated with the position.
“It is not just attending Dewan and speaking therein. There is a lot more. The parliamentary system has evolved beyond recognition but the basic tenure remains the same all over the world.
“Malaysian people’s representatives of national and state levels must learn to know. We talked of right, powers and privileges of parliament and DUN, but have we ever asked why and what for?
“From my little experience, I notice the need to be improved and enhanced among elected representatives,” he pointed out.
Both the federal and state governments must be prepared to ‘sacrifice’ their complete freedom to govern to accommodate the space for the elected representatives to function according to the best practices of other representatives of other democratic countries world over.
“It is good for the government and Dewan image. At the moment, we are far behind in all aspects even compared with Asean countries. In the UN, Germany and Russia’s research on the relevancy of parliament 2009, I have some difficulties in explaining Malaysia’s position,” he said.