Monday, October 10, 2011

The many hats of a politician


Having to settle a broom fight between two 60-something neighbours, play private investigator and exorcise ghosts are but some of the more interesting tasks asked of an MP.

POLITICIANS tweet. They do it mostly to gain a point or two over their political rivals. But their tweets also give an insight into the life of a politician.

One politician whom I follow on Twitter is @limlipeng – Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng. Occasionally, Lim will tweet about the “innocent but ridiculous” requests he gets from his constituents.

@limlipeng tweeted: “A parent wants me to run background check on his soon(-to-be) daughter-in-law. Grr ...”

“These parents from Jinjang asked me to find out the marital status of their 20-something son’s future wife (who is 10 years older than him),” the DAP politician explained.

“They heard rumours that she was a divorcee or was staying with another boyfriend and they wanted me to do PI (private investigator) work for them.”

Lim told them that their son was an adult and they could not control him for the rest of his life.

Who do you call when you live in a condominium facing a stretch along busy Jalan Kuching that is accident-prone and believed to be haunted? Ghostbuster Lim.

“I’ve received at least three complaints from people living in that condominium.

“They told me that a particular spot is accident-prone because a ghost appears in the middle of the night to frighten motorists,” the Segambut MP said at his service centre facing Jalan Kuching.

“They told me to ‘cleanse’ the road but I’ve not done it yet.”

Lim also tweeted about settling a broom fight between two 60-something neighbours over a parking lot in front of their luxury homes in a gated community in Desa Park City.

“They quarrelled using vulgar words in Cantonese.

“One ‘auntie’ could not take the verbal abuse and she took a broom to whack the other ‘auntie’. And the son – who saw his mother being beaten – told the assailant that he would kill all her family members,” he said.

The assailant lodged a police report about the death threat and the man (a senior government officer) ended up in a Jinjang lock-up.

He called Lim to settle the case, who managed to get the case withdrawn by asking the man to apologise to his neighbour.

The Segambut MP’s job also involved negotiating a former VIP’s loan shark debt.

“I received a call from a Datuk who lives in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

“When we met at a nearby coffeeshop, he showed me photographs of him with prominent leaders, including national and foreign dignitaries taken about 20 to 30 years ago,” he said.

“He said he helped a friend who was in deep financial trouble to borrow money from some Ah Long. However, his friend ran away and could not be traced.

“The Datuk gave me the names of five Ah Long and asked me to negotiate with them to delay payment of the debt (about RM80,000) for about two weeks.”

The Segambut MP tweeted: “Two of the five Ah Long agreed to extend payments owed by a Datuk in TTDI to end of the month. This is the best I can do for him.”

Once, Lim was approached by a 50-something woman who claimed to be a journalist with a “critical link” to a case involving a prominent Taiwa­nese politician who killed a political rival in Taiwan 10 years ago.

“I met her and she showed me photographs of her with Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian, Taiwanese Cabinet ministers and high-ranking bosses of Sin Chew Jit Poh (Chinese daily).

“She wanted me to organise a press conference to highlight that Taiwanese hitmen were pursuing her,” he said.

Lim told her that he would only organise a press conference if she lodged a police report. However, the woman refused, alleging that Malaysian police were in cahoots with the Taiwanese killers.

Twitter is also a medium for the MP to interact with his constituents.

@nizran77 tweeted: “@limlipeng: Besides looking for potholes in @ttdiTV, can you add: Remove Massage + Ah Long ads? Anno­ying!”

Lim replied: “It’s on my list.”

“Any weird request that you’ve not tweeted about?” I asked Lim. He grinned.

There are times when the happily-married MP has to entertain “dirty calls”. And it is not about dirty drains, but rather female admirers who want to vividly describe their sexual acts with their ex-boyfriends.

That and receiving life-threatening calls all seem to be part of a YB’s job.