Review on Law Minister Fellow
|Support & Guidance|
|Environment & Location|
|How Rewarding Was It?|
Each minister was assigned 2 mentees. We were tasked to accompany/assist the Minister in whatever way possible.It ranged from drafting answers to questions raised by other parliamentarians to being present in Board/Post cabinet meetings/ Consultation forums. We also went down to YB Nancy's constituency in Sarawak to observe how Politicians operate on a weekly basis. The job scope is quite flexible but immensely helpful for one's understanding of the public sector and ministerial duties. When I first got into the office, I was also mentored by Encik Syazwan, one of YB Nancy's special officers. I was introduced to the world of law making, Parliamentary Diplomacy and the drafting of answers for YB to use in Parliament. I was stationed in Parliament for the first few weeks accompanying/assisting YB when she was summoned to whip for the government.
This program surpassed my initial expectations! At first I was under this belief that I'll only be a coffee boy, but my first day of interning already dispelled all of that. I was invited to a law reform session in which i saw how law making/consulting was done. I had a long chat with YB pertaining to Malaysian politics and the involvement of the youths. This internship has assisted me in dispelling a myriad of stereotypes placed upon our civil service. It's untrue when people purport that they're lazy, unmotivated and leeches of society. In reality, they're hard working and at times would even exit office at 9 P.M to serve us, members of the community. YB Nancy and her staff rarely exit office before 5 P.M, they'll always have an event/work to attend to. When they're free, they'll still take some time to mentor us on Public Policy. I'm humbled by their sheer effort and willingness to assist a random Johorean boy even when they're busy. I have had the privilege to have a first-hand experience on Law making, Public Diplomacy, Networking etc. These are all invaluable skills which I'll most probably use in the future.
My mentors actively involved me. I was very privileged to be placed under the tutelage of YB Nancy Shukri. Prior to our first meeting, I thought I'll most probably end up sitting idly at one random corner of the office due to her busy schedule but I was wrong. She'll always call us into her office to give personal tutoring on pertinent current issues. These sessions aren't the typical 'empty talk' sessions which we'll commonly hear at our mamak restaurants, these are actually matter-filled, info-heavy sessions which benefited me massively! The topics ranged from the controversial Emergency Ordinance to role of youths in the virtual world. YB Nancy is by far one of the most hardworking intellectuals I've met. She spends more time working than visiting her family back in Sarawak. I met YB's son (Farouk). He told me that his mum is always engrossed with work. Even when she's back in Sarawak, most of her time will be spent serving the needs of her constituency. This is a testament to her "People First" attitude. When YB is preoccupied with work, her SUSK(Setiusaha Sulit Kanan) Mr. Manmeed will take up the helm by bringing us to pivotal sessions like the Law Reform Committee meeting. He'll also personally tutor us with his in-depth experience of the public sector.
Two constructive criticisms I would offer: 1) Relationship of trust should be established. When I first entered, I was barred from entering a couple of high-profiled meetings due to my sudden entrance to the ministry. This have taken away invaluable learning opportunities. I do acknowledge that I'm new, but it does not mean that I'm incapable and untrustworthy on the basis of my age/experience. The selection process and the signing of the Official Secrets act should cover this. If this program is to truly groom future leaders, the element of trust should be injected from the inception itself. Some of the Opposition members in Parliament didn't make our lives any easier by claiming that, "approximately half of us (fellows) are opposition spies", thus making the government more insular. 2. A more structured internship. I acknowledge the need for flexibility as our schedule is often contingent on the minister's schedule, but that does not mean that a schedule shouldn't even be drafted. This is problematic if one's mentor is rarely in office. This means the mentee will be left alone without any meaningful work to accomplish. I have heard that some fellows went through this dry-spell. I'm lucky enough to get YB Nancy as my mentor. For those who didn't, they deserved something to fall back on.
I genuinely think that this internship is for all Malaysians who aspire to know more about Malaysia's Public Policy. Anyone can benefit from this program.