And Now, A Rumination
I got home at about 5 pm from Parliament. I took my kids around the garden to look for the Musang King durian tree sapling that the condo gardeners planted yesterday. On Tuesday at the durian lunch in Parliament, I was given the durian sapling. After 15 minutes, my kids and I found it at the West side of the garden at the lowest car park level. My kids were so excited when I explained that in 5 years or so, we could enjoy durian fruits from this little sapling.
At around 7 pm while watching TV with the kids, I fell asleep and have just woken up about half an hour ago. I am tired and feeling contemplative. It feels as if I had just finished running a marathon.
I am still in a bit of a daze over this Parliament session. I always get a buzz when Parliament sits. For me going to Parliament is the highlight of being a Parliamentarian. The idea of being an MP is still very strange for me. But I really do enjoy being in Parliament, contemplating laws and policies.
Everytime Parliament sits, I sleep badly. I am constantly reading and trying to outsmart the other side. I try to understand BN’s motivation for every single bill. Some laws are for the greater good but some are just downright nasty.
My staff and interns help a lot, they are constantly working. I am not sure they have more work during or outside of Parliament sitting. Both Tania and Nadirah are burnt out, so it is good for their own sake that they will be going to UK next month to start their scholarships. I am extremely proud of them.
Tina, my new staff is a fast learner and is going to be my new rock for the next two years. I am of course looking forward to Abigail rejoining us next month, as the muse/diva and arbiter of office peace and harmony. The summer interns are a great bunch. I do enjoy spending time, teaching them, and the process of teaching actually helps me refine my thoughts and ideas.
During Parliament, I would fret about what researched materials to use and which ones to discard. My staff and interns will give me a pile of stuff to sift through. I filter these to then craft a simple to understand narrative. I think about these speeches in my sleep, I even think about the speeches after they have been delivered.
This session was particularly memorable and fruitful. The last time my office actually achieved something substantial was in June 2014. That fateful June, I clashed with BN and got them to withdraw the Inland Revenue Board’s crazy idea of creating an internal Investment Panel.
In this most recent sitting, I believe that my clash with BN on the Employment Insurance System (EIS) was an even more significant event. At stake was the issue of 6.8 million workers (mostly lower income group) being made to over pay RM1.1 billion in insurance premium per year to the government.
My press conference on 3rd August, basically crippled the BN plans and as a result the government withdrew the legislation. I had in actual fact struggled with wanting to release my EIS calculations. I had doubts. I had two discussions, one with an economist and the other with an actuarial graduate. They too were not sure.
On the morning of 3rd August, I made my mind to just wing it. I gathered my staff in the morning, dictated the text and we just took the plunge. That plunge which was the press conference, is now my greatest Parliamentary work legacy to date. That day we made a difference for 6.8 million workers who would otherwise be made to pay RM1.1 billion more yearly than they should to this feckless government.
For this most recent sitting, I did put my staff and interns on a gruelling work pace. We decided to do as much as possible and my team and I ended up preparing research notes for 8 legislations. Due to time constraints, I could not debate on two legislations; one on the Uber- Grab bill and the other was on the Private Employment Agencies bill.
However we did manage to put up in total, 6 key speeches on (1) Biological Resources and Benefit Sharing Bill 2017, (2) Price Control and Anti-Profiteering (Amendment) Bill 2017, (3) Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill 2017, (4) Malaysian Border Security Agency Bill 2017, (5) Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill 2017, and (6) Securities Commission Malaysia (Amendment) Bill 2017.
I will be away tomorrow for 6 days of holiday in Penang. My wife is looking forward to visiting her aunt. YB Gooi Hsiao Leung has offered to feed me lots of Penang food. The kids are looking forward for a beach holiday. I just want to sleep, eat and unwind.
My office will be open as usual, 10 am to 5 pm. My super staff of Nadirah, Tania and Tina and the awesome interns of Paul Mae, Ivan, Sebastian, Jia Hui, Jia Sheng and Kay Li will be there to serve you. We will also have our Monday service night as usual, my super dedicated professional volunteers will be there led by the ever reliable Mr. Leong.