Leaders show examples. They have something to offer and they’ll offer it by the process of how they got it. Anyone who has no examples to show may not lead better.— Israelmore Ayivor, Ghanaian author
In this column today, I would like to give a shout-out to two Sarawak political leaders who, to my personal knowledge, have personified what public service delivery should be about.
At a time when the people are getting more and more disillusioned, annoyed and angry with the Perikatan Nasional government in Malaya, ministers and political leaders who sincerely turun padang provide a glimmer of hope to a nation and people trapped in deep despair and agony.
So, politicians able to feel the pulse of the people, understand their pain and sorrow and act promptly to alleviate their suffering are the “saviours” we badly need today.
Thankfully, we do have elected representatives in Sarawak who are dedicated souls and have worked hard for the people but for today, let me pay tribute to two of them.
Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian and Datuk Sebastian Ting are two leaders known for their public-oriented service to the community.
Coincidentally, both Dr Sim and Ting are from the same party, SUPP. They are also the party president and secretary-general respectively.
Dr Sim is the Local Government and Housing Minister while Ting is Assistant Tourism Minister.
I’m the least surprised if those in the opposition and SUPP opponents are unhappy with this article in praise of both of them.
If I have to say it, then let me tell other politicians to be exemplary too in public service delivery. Prove yourself worthy of praise first and not be envious of others.
Above all, to all the YBs and aspiring politicians — don’t be cocky and arrogant. Once I see a semblance of arrogance in you, you can kiss goodbye to my support. There is something important about public service which all politicians worth their salt must recognise during this challenging time of the pandemic.
There is very little tolerance of a general decline in public service quality among the people. Many are now dependent on good public service delivery to support the very basic quality of life.
Political leaders who have been consistent in rendering public service as expected of them are held in high esteem by the people at large.
This is certainly the case with Dr Sim and Ting, and deservedly so.
Last Wednesday, I was on my charity round visiting some needy recipients in Kuching and came across a case in Batu Kawa of a single mother who has never applied for government welfare aid.
In the evening, I sent Dr Sim a message about the case and asked whether his Batu Kawa team could assist the woman. (Dr Sim came to mind because he s the state assemblyman for Batu Kawa.)
My message was sent at 9.30pm. Dr Sim responded at 9.34pm, just four minutes later, thanking me for the alert and “my staff will definitely bring her to get welfare”.
Dr Sim was also concerned and asked me whether the woman and her children have been vaccinated.
The minister also informed me that out of 25,000 houses in Batu Kawa (excluding those renting the top floors of shophouses in MJC), only 21,000 are registered voters “but voters or non-voters, we have to help all of them”.
This is what political leadership is all about — a heart to reach out to all who come our way, crying for help, never mind whether they are voters or not.
Last Sunday night, I messaged Ting about the incident at the Lutong market in Miri that morning after receiving a video on the case.
Ting responded 20 minutes later with this message (which he has given permission to share): “I am shocked and sad that this incident happened.
“A friend forwarded the video of what took place in Lutong this morning at 10.05am.
“We arrived in Lutong at 10.25am and left at 11.40am after listening to the people.
“I have called and spoken to (Miri City Council) secretary and decided as follows:
1 The traders could collect the seized goods and items from council at 12 noon today.
2 I agreed to pay the compound fee for them but the council’s secretary said he had informed his staff that no compound fee would be imposed.
3 Lutong Pasar Minggu where they had been trading would be open for them next Sunday, 1st August 2021.
4 I requested them to make a list of damaged fruits, (bananas, pineapples, durians etc) and other items.”
If I were a trader there who had all my goods confiscated, I would be a happy guy that Ting had managed to resolve the matter.
In the end, good sense prevailed.
As I replied to Ting later: “Good and quick decisions/reactions. That is needed to defuse the tense situation. Well done”.
Of course, it isn’t just these two incidents mentioned here that I feel Dr Sim and Ting are worthy of my accolades.
There are many other public service deeds but which would take too much space to be listed here.
Ministers they might be but this is my small way of encouraging good, hard-working and people-oriented politicians to keep up with their good public record.
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.