Monday, July 30, 2018

Meet the People session

40 years ago, I helped my MP in the Meet the People session. I set up the system of getting case writers to interview the resident and write down the facts of the case, before they meet the MP.

The usual cases were request to get a earlier allocation for a HDB flat, request to get approval to give residence for a foreign spouse, request for a job, request for a hawker stall and request for a place in the school.

After a few months, it was clear that the exercise was a waste of time. The civil servants were rigid in implementing the government policies, and were unwilling to make any exception. The appeal through the MP usually resulted in a "No" answer.

The residents were generally appreciated that the MP tried to put forward their case. Some came back repeatedly to appeal. The MP usually obliged - it is easier than sending them away.

40 years had passed. I understand that the practice remains the same. Nothing changed. It continued to be a wasteful exercise. Maybe it has the value of public relations for the MP.


Anonymous said...

It's also good networking for young professionals who want to join pap & get recognition. They will usually target those MPS helmed by big name ministers.

fairplay said...

The Meet the People Session(MPS) is a waste of the MP's time which could be put to much better use. In the 60's there was the Central Complaint's Bureau in Empress Place where one could go there to lodge a complaint. Now the MP is doing the job of the CCB listening to the resident and appealing on their behalf, many are mundane cases. This is really clerical work done by the MP. Moreover very often there is no opportunity to meet the MP at all as there are many assistants doing the Meet the People instead because there are too many complainants at each session.
It would be much better for the MP to spend time each month sitting with a group of interested residents who can bring up worthy complaints and suggestions for the MP to resolve or implement. Because it is a face to face interaction with the MP, the authorities cannot play dumb when we send in feedback to the various departments. The MP could always work on those subjects over the month and come back with meaningful answers to the residents.
In this way Singapore would become a much better place with continuous improvements pushed forward by concerned citizens for the MP to digest and implement rather than the present situation whereby there is a communication gap with the authorities.

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