The detective who became a deputy

Published: 21/03/2010 05:00



“I was a detective, and met a lot of people in that role. Meeting the people as a National Assembly deputy is very different,” said Tuyet Minh, a police officer from Kien Giang.

This is another in VietNamNet’s ‘Know Your Deputy’ series.

Bui Tuyet Minh was born in 1962 in the far south province of Kien Giang. She and her family live in the province seat, Rach Gia City.

Minh was elected to the NA in 2007 as a part-time legislator. She is a member of the NA’s Committee for Social Affairs and concurrently a deputy director of the Kien Giang Police Department.

VietNamNet: Why did you run for the NA?

Bui Tuyet Minh: I was nominated by the Kien Giang Province Police Agency. I planned to refuse for two reasons: I was already very busy as a police officer and I had a baby. However, with my husband’s support, I decided to run for the election.

This was a big change for me, because since I joined the police forces, I had worked exclusively as a detective in a local area. Of course, in that role I also met a lot of people, but meeting with the people in the role of an NA deputy is very different. This job was so new to me so I was afraid I couldn’t answer all questions the people would raise.

In anticipation of meeting with voters before the election, I learned from the action programmes of senior NA deputies to make my own programme. With the encouragement of other comrades, especially the provincial Party Secretary, I wrote a good action programme and promised the voters that I would fulfil the role of a legislator.

VietNamNet: So, as a new and inexperienced member, how has it gone for you?

Minh: At first, I mainly listened to other deputies to learn experience. From the third session, I started joining discussions and speaking up in committee and in plenary meetings as well as the question and answer sessions.

One of the important tasks of NA deputies is seeing constituents. I’ve never missed a meeting. Previously, I was very shy about speaking to crowds but my speaking ability has improved very much.

I also participate in the NA’s Committee for Social Affairs. I’m active in its national supervisory activities and also in supervision of government offices in Kien Giang.

I’ve tried my best but I think it is difficult to be a part-time NA deputy who also has another job.

VietNamNet: How is it ‘difficult’?

Minh: Full-time NA deputies have time to follow issues so they understand them thoroughly. Thus their opinions are of higher quality than those of ‘concurrent deputies.’ I feel inadequate because I haven’t arranged more time to meet with the people to understand their aspirations.

During a five year term of office, a deputy doesn’t gain profound experience, especially if he or she also has another job. Legislators in other countries have staff to help them, but Vietnamese NA deputies have to do everything themselves. Inevitably, they don’t accomplish as much as they hoped. It would be better if the National Assembly were to have only full-time deputies, not concurrent deputies.

VietNamNet: How would you grade the quality of your work as a deputy?

Minh: I’d only give myself a ‘C’ grade, that is, I’ve done 60-70 percent as well as I should. There are many problems at the grassroots level that I’m unable to solve. I’d like to see something done about the poor incentives for commune-level officials. They have to do a lot of work for the people but are paid only a little by the State. In addition, though there are many preferential policies for the poor, poverty persists, especially among farmers. And then there are complaints about land. Many lawsuits related to land have gone unsolved for too long.

VietNamNet: As a deputy, you have to stay in Hanoi two months a year for the NA session. Does it affect your family life?

Minh: No, because my husband understands and has sympathy with my job. He didn’t tell me even when my children were ill, fearing I would worry. In a word, my husband has made a great contribution to my maturation as a legislator!

Hong Thanh

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