Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Distinguished Gentleman


Once there was a British historian and politician T.B. Macaulay wrote a letter to his constituents, he clarifies the roles and responsibilities of an elected representative of the people. The people elect their representatives and entrust to them the complex task of government. 

Theorists believe that part of the duty of a representative was not simply to communicate the wishes of the electorate but also to use their own judgement in the exercise of their powers, even if their views are not reflective of those of a majority of voters.

Some people believe that in a representative democracy, it would be ideal for the elected officials to be highly educated people who understand the needs of the people and can come up with solutions to complicated social and governmental problems. 

In many cases, however, representatives are often based on shared beliefs and opinions with certain segments of the populace, regardless of those representatives' education, knowledge or ability to solve problems. This is seen by some people as a weakness of representative democracy, in that the representatives might serve their own needs and preferences over those of the people. 

But is this really how we want our democracy to work? Surely we want our parliamentary decision-making to be able to stand up to critical scrutiny, to be rational, to be moral, to be supported by evidence and to be in accordance with some principles that can be defended. 

We should remind our elected representatives of the job we are paying them to do: to make reasoned and principled decisions on our behalf, in the best interests of the nation. We should require them to focus on this serious undertaking and to exercise their own best judgment and conscience. 

Note: Diary "Yang Berkhidmat" not "Yang Berhormat" 

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