WE have high expectations of the new Parliament which begins tomorrow. There are 222 MPs sitting in the august chamber, elected by the people to serve the people. How they fare as spokesmen for the rakyat and whether they can advance the rakyat's cause will be scrutinised closely.
We the people are a lot more discerning now than ever before. That is already made known via the recent general election, which has also changed the national political landscape for good. Malaysia has to move forward on this landscape, for better or for worse.
After the ground battle of March 8, our MPs will now lock horns on higher ground. It is our hope that they can raise the level of articulation as befitting parliamentary debate. In the past MPs from the ruling coalition had got away with some dubious behaviour, with supporting casts from the opposition bench.
To expect an overnight change in the behaviour of these MPs may be more of wishful thinking, but one should give them the benefit of the doubt. With so many issues confronting us, I don't see how how MPs can hold or control their tongue and speak without bringing the House into disrepute.
New MPs making their maiden appearances may try to create an early impression, which is fine really, provided they show maturity, depth and finesse in their articulation. I hope they will not emulate the 'name calling and other ungentlemanly conduct' of their seniors, some of whom somehow survived the brutal contest of March 8.
Over the years, we all have seen the articulation (or lack of) within the House to the point that reduced it to nothing more than a school debate. To be fair, there were MPs who speak after doing their homework, conducting research as they argue their case. But their numbers were small and often drowned by noisy lawmakers who knew no better.
Looking at some of the names of our MPs who will be taking their oath of office today, I'm not all that optimistic that we have seen the last of the 'bad boys,' that is, legislators who make up their lack of substance with shameful behaviour. We all know who they are.
I bet you that some MPs will try to 'make news' one way or the other during question time, when RTM will be doing their crossovers for live feeds. He or she who speaks the best or who attracts attention may get free live coverage, if RTM sticks to the philosophy of what makes news.
Providing live coverage is good, but hopefully RTM will make a serious attempt to provide coverage in the true sense of professional journalism. Just because so and so is a minister and is scheduled to speak wouldn't guarantee the rakyat glued to the TV. Instead, it will be an injustice to the amount of money spent on live coverage.
But let's not be presumptious. Proceedings haven't even started. Lets observe and make our conclusion later. At the end of the four or five years sitting from now, we'll make our final judgement on our MPs - that's when we separate the wood from the chaff.