By Simon Eco Chin
As a nation, we may, eventually, choose to rate and rank high-profile politicians on their individual merits rather than praise or harry them for their party affiliations.
Among a selection of bright young politicians constantly generating worthy content, is the 42-year-old MP for Serdang, Ong Kian Ming.
A former consultant and a politicial analyst, he is a writer who consistently shares his thoughts on social media.
Just the other day, Ong Kian Ming singled out KTM Komuter for criticism, suggesting that the 21-year-old service has drawn too many complaints.
Widely tracked with every pronouncement earning impressive views, Ong Kian Ming should probably follow up with visuals of his experience as a KTM Komuter rider. The Malaysian public will benefit from the presentation of more facts. There is a KTM station in Serdang. Ong Kian Ming must have surely tried the service. You could journey from Serdang northwards to Segambut, Kepong and beyond.
Intriguingly, I read somewhere that this young politician is being lined up as a candidate for the parliamentary seat of Kepong, a DAP stronghold, to replace Dr Tan Seng Giaw, the 75-year old parliamentarian.
This is probably unfair; but, Ong Kian Ming's vociferous presence in a movement to say "No" to a waste-to-energy plant in the Kepong constituency has fuelled speculations of a switch.
It is true that he has been associated with environmental causes ever since he was elected to Parliament in 2013.
Still, the possibility of a switch to Kepong has lately gained traction now that Serdang is expected to be part of an expanded parliamentary constiuency that will include Bangi, in the redelienation of electoral boundaries.
Question is, does the MP see himself as a truly Malaysian politician able to be elected from a Malay-majority seat. Or, is he about to move to a seat long deemed safe for the DAP.
There is another possible scenario of Ong Kian Ming preparing to defend his Serdang seat. That there is a Bangi forest reserve and the fear of indiscriminate development in the area, may persuade him to stay given his activism as an environmentalist.
It is obvious that his credentials as a conviction politician will be put to test.
Already he is seen as a high-risk taker by planting himself in this movement opposing the proposed waste-to-energy plant in Kepong, from the off, when the full details were not immediately available.
Perhaps it is inevitable for him to raise the decibel in order to maintain a high profile. In any case Ong Kian Ming has been exposed to scrutiny.
Evidently, technology has neutralised some of the early concerns he raised, such as the emission of dioxin and ferun, or the permissible buffer separating the proposed plant from the nearest residential areas. As for the argument that there is already a landfill in Bukit Tagar, this sounds altogether weak. It reeks of the usual not-in-my-backyard syndrome.
Experts should be similarly robust in articulating their enlightened views.
Driving the conversation on waste-to-energy in past 5 years, Ong Kian Ming, had at a point, rubbished a Minister's suggestion that he Google a particular detail.
The learned parliamentarian was telling Malaysians and future constituents that he was accustomed to thorough research and analysis.
We are in an era where a basic understanding on anything could actually be gleaned, rocket science included. Well, one can always Google "rocket science".
Hence, flawed arguments on waste-to-energy could be easily detected and countered
To cite a fragile argument, the MP for Serdang may suggest that Japan is phasing out waste-to-energy incinerators. Visuals will pop up within seconds to show the exact opposite.
As Malaysia enters a phase of full disclosures and transparency, every single policy decision and contract awards shall be thoroughly examined.
Opposition politicians will, of course, occupy frontrow seats. Equally exciting will be the counter-examination on intentions and pronouncements of those voluble personalities.
It will be interesting to watch this showdown; Ong Kian Ming vs officials, planners, experts, politicians supporting a City incinenator.
We wish to see a clean fight of a rigorous inspection of facts with lots of visuals. There can only be one winner - the Malaysian public.