On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

New leaders will be closely watched

Our new ministers and mentris  besar, having gone through a  contentious general election, will  be scrutinised.

They won't have it easy. Their  every
step will be watched not  just by the
Prime Minister but  also by the

Their priority is to ensure the  smooth
running of their respective ministries and states and to  take them to greater heights.

Equally important is a commitment to live up to the people's  trust. They must not betray public

Some of the new ministers,  mentris Besar
and state executive councillors are new; understandably, along the way,
they  may make mistakes.

What is important is they must  be
accountable and democratic.  They must
remember that they  are there to serve
the people   not their personal interests.

There is no place for arrogant  leaders.
Some start off with  great humility and
restraint but  become high-handed after
having all that power in their hands. 
These leaders will be dumped in 
the next elections.

Some of us may not agree with  the politics
of Kelantan Mentri  Besar Datuk Abdul Nik
Aziz Nik  Mat and some others may
question his competence. What can't  be
argued is his down-to-earth  style.

His approach has endeared  him to the
people of Kelantan.  That, in many ways,
has helped  PAS fend off the attacks by
Barisan Nasional.

It's the same with the MCA  state
assemblymen in Penang. 
Moving around on motorcycles  to
serve the people, their service-oriented approach has paid  off.

In the recent elections, all nine  MCA
state candidates were returned by the voters.

They have set up numerous  service
centres in their constituencies, even along alleys, which  they call Pusat Rihat Barisan  Nasional.

The party has also set up Pusat  Rekreasi
Barisan Nasional or recreation centres in neighbourhoods for community

These meeting points, with no  office
equipment, serve as meeting places for MCA representatives and their
constituents to  discuss localised

Such grassroots interaction  has paid
off. The party has  gained the confidence
of the people who believe  and rightly
so   that their leaders must be  honest and have integrity.

The results of the 10th general  election
have shown quite clearly that there is a certain degree  of disillusionment with the Government.

Barisan ministers, mentris besar and chief ministers must regain the trust of
those who threw  their support behind the

For state assemblymen, effective service centres must be set  up in opposition-held areas to  show their commitment to the  people. The kind of service provided by MCA's
Michael Choong,  for example, must be
made  available in all

Likewise, every housing estate  should
have such Barisan service centres, similar to what Singapore's
PAP has done, to prove  to the people
that their welfare  and interest are
taken to heart.

Facilities should be provided  even in
non-Barisan areas.

As for Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang, he  must not neglect the interests of  non-Muslims 
neither should  he ignore the
materialistic part  of development.

Our new leaders should attempt to inculcate a new culture  among their supporters and the  public. They should insist that  their visits to villages are without
unnecessary pomp and fanfare.

There is no need for bunga  mangga or
lion dances when  such visits are part of
their job  routine. Leaders should get
on  with their jobs without wasting  money or time and energy.

Do away with grand and meaningless ceremonies unless they  involve some projects of significance. Event
organisers should  be discouraged from
insisting  that VIP guests perform
tasks  for the sake of publicity.

That aside, our new leaders  must believe
in strengthening  accountability. They
must understand the need for democratic reforms, even if done gradually.

Now that the appointments are  made, our
leaders should be given time to settle in. For those  who were rejected in the elections, they must
understand  their position.

The voters have spoken. All 
newly-elected representatives  do
not have to worry about the  next
elections  provided they  prove themselves worthy from  now till then.