By Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss

Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) are Believers – they believe that the system is fundamentally sound but needs tweaking here and there, and that the Government is basically good though not perfect.

If one is a Believer, then words of assurance will suffice.

But not for one who is a Cynic, who sees the system as one designed to entrench incumbents and being constantly calibrated to ensure they continue to be in power.

Cynics will not see the attempt to introduce new laws that constrain civil liberties as mere “codification of existing laws”, but will view such attempts in the context of the incumbents’ continuing efforts to remain incumbent.

With Cynics in the House, citizens are assured that Bills will be suspiciously scrutinised and robustly debated upon. Schemes which serve the incumbents at the expense of citizens will be called out for what they are.

Without Cynics in the House, citizens are deprived of alternative choices and contrary views which are necessary for informed opinions.

While Believers may see themselves as playing a laudable public role with their reasoned speeches cautioning against the possible abuses, they may well be doing the citizenry more harm than good.

NMPs are identified to the citizenry as independent opinion-makers simply because they belong to no political party. But it is easy to forget that NMPs are selected.

I dare say that only Believers may be considered for NMPs and Cynics stand no chance to ever be one. So NMPs are not really “independent”.

What do Believers bring to the table in a debate?

We have seen how NMPs have eloquently identified the pitfalls and flaws of Bills.

But when an NMP criticises a Bill yet expresses agreement with its basic aims, the net effect is an endorsement of the proposed new laws. The bell of endorsement is more sonorous when it is rung by an “independent”. Being a Believer, the trust which an NMP has in the system and the Government will undergrid his entire speech, even one which is sharply critical. Beliefs are fully transferable, especially in the absence of Cynicism.

What Believers bring to the House is more confidence to the System. Thus, NMPs serve to entrench the incumbents.

So the more NMPs that there is, the better it is for the incumbents.

This post was first published as a comment on a Facebook comment thread and reproduced with permission

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