SEPTEMBER 23 ― In the glorious halls of Parliament, rarely a day slips by without the melodrama of clamorous arguments or an elected leader bitingly brandishing slicing barbs. Try as hard as you might, the Herculean task of finding wisdom or dignity in the feisty cacophony remains a daunting endeavour.
Witnessing the performances that unfold in the august house, one would be forgiven for mistaking it for a primary school yard, complete with puerile taunts and narratives lacking basic sense and decency.
We might chuckle, turning the other cheek on the searing sting of irony, as our representatives, tasked with imparting good values, seem aberrantly incapable of conducting themselves appropriately.
A tragicomedy, I must say.
File picture of the 12th Malaysia Plan mid-term review at the Dewan Rakyat in Kuala Lumpur September 12, 2023. ― Bernama pic
Certainly, to imagine that these officials are the ones promising us good governance is as nourishing as feeding upon a dinner of smoke. It's as if civility, the unsung virtue of mannerism, has seemingly slithered out the rear door of politics.
A sobering inquiry looms: Is the lack of decorum and respect an indicator of our collective failure as a society? Is incivility the new norm? Ponces and firebrands are not the epitome of civilisation, no matter how tall the buildings they erect or how grandiloquently they conceive mega projects.
It is in the roots ― our principles and common courteousness ― where the true essence of a developed and educated nation lies.
The significance of mannerism and civility in the hallowed halls of Parliament cannot be overstated. Each word said and every inch of body language reflect the depth of our culture, our values, our identity.
It showcases a commitment to embrace the virtues of respect, dignity, and goodwill — all keystones in a democracy.
With civility, we foster an environment that is nurturing, positive, and conducive to healthy, constructive discussions ― mapping a course for effective governance.
Our forebears mustered strength, not from their squabbles, but from their commitment to work collectively, balancing criticism with respectful discourse. Their comport, the backbone of a constructive political arena, built the foundation of our democracy ― an ethos we seem to have forgotten.
Regrettably, we are caught in a tempest, where shouting matches and grotesque mannerisms usurp sensible deliberation. And it is crucial for leaders to remember ― just as we expect discipline and decorum in the classrooms and courtrooms, it is equally, if not more, important in Parliament.
To some, this plea for a return to courteousness may seem trivial, almost niggling amidst pressing national issues. But it is high time we understand that incivility is as debilitating a disease as any other national scourge.
In the words of Winston Churchill, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Consider this a call to arms: it's time for our leaders to exhibit this dual-natured courage and restore the elixir of civility in the parliamentary proceedings.
For only then can we build a truly civilised, educated, and developed nation ― a beacon for the world.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.