Ways residents can communicate with their MPs

I agree with Mr Yeow Hwee Ming's suggestion ("Set up online platform for MPs to 'meet' residents"; Monday).

As a former grassroots leader, I served as one of the Meet-the-People Session (MPS) front-line letter writers who met residents to understand their problems or concerns, before we let residents with more serious and urgent problems meet the MP.

Residents often have to queue up and wait for at least 11/2 hours after registration before they finally get to meet their MP.

I understand and sympathise with the residents' long wait and frustration, especially the elderly, those in wheelchairs, those who rushed back from work and those with young children in tow.

With almost all our MPs having their own social media platforms, such as Facebook, and also their constituency e-mail address, residents who are IT-savvy can utilise these tools to communicate with their MPs.

Branch offices, grassroots leaders and residents' committee (RC) centres should display their MPs' constituency e-mail addresses and official Facebook page on notice boards at lift lobbies, outside the RC centre and through publications or fliers mailed to residents.

Such initiatives would allow IT-savvy residents to write and explain briefly their problems, concerns and suggestions to their MPs without the need to physically meet their MPs during the MPS.

MPs and their key officers should evaluate and respond to the residents' e-mail and Facebook messages within a reasonable time and offer their assistance and support as necessary. On the residents' part, they should e-mail or send out Facebook messages with a direct, clear and detailed explanation of their problems or concerns, and also state what they seek or hope from their MPs.

A possible e-mail could read: "Having been a sole breadwinner for my family of five, I have just lost my job due to (insert reason). I have these outstanding bills which I hope to defer and also require some assistance for my children's school expenses. I also need immediate job-matching services from your office."

Muhammad Dzul Azhan Haji Sahban

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2015, with the headline 'Ways residents can communicate with their MPs'. Print Edition | Subscribe