Let not debate descend to indecorum

A member of the opposition reminded the government of the pledges it made and a debate sparked off, almost turning ugly, needing the Deputy Speaker to remind the house of its decorum.

On the agenda for discussion yesterday at the Assembly were issues from local governments, but members of the ruling and opposition parties engaged in a heated debate almost along party lines.

Government will make promises and opposition will keep an eye on them.  In most cases, an average voter would vote for the party whose pledge sounds more promising.  It will be watched closely.

The Assembly is the right place to debate and a little spice makes it interesting for the watching public.  People are witnessing it and will be a part of it.  We are happy that our political leaders are agreeing to disagree.  Open and quality debate will help mature our small society that is in need of such exposures.

In today’s form of government, good debate between political parties and between political leaders will give all of us greater insight and understanding of national policies and decisions.

However, when debate deviates from issues and gets personalised, that is unhealthy.  Much time was wasted yesterday, when members were debating what could be raised or not.  Debates that strengthen policies and help in making good decisions should be welcomed.  As elected leaders, there are a lot of expectations and arguing about petty issues will not go well with the voters.

On the pledges the government made.  It is unfair for the opposition and the voters to expect the government to fulfil all in a short time.  Like they said, only two years had passed since they took over the reins of government.  Not all pledges can be fulfilled in two years.  The people will judge the government after their term is completed and that will include the promises they made.  The decision is with the voters.

The opposition has the right to question and they will keep doing that.  Issues raised should not be taken personally.

There should be more heated debates on policies and plans brought up to the Assembly.  It is a good screening process.  The bottom line is the policies they endorse, after going through disagreements and agreements, should benefit the people and the country.

Healthy debate among our political leaders, meanwhile, should encourage a broader outlook among the Bhutanese leadership down the line.  This is much needed because, even today, we are known to be a maray laso (yes sir) society.

While junior officers hesitate to raise issues or debate, quite often seniors are hesitant to accept feedback, even if it well meant.  Sometimes criticism, even if well intended, could be extremely personalised.  Comments and suggestions on any decision could be misconstrued as a challenge of authority.

This is also common among corporate leaders, who are expected to be more open to criticism and suggestion in a corporate governance environment.

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