Malaysiakini Letter

Watch politicians for senility and mental conditions

TK Chua

Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Recently I came across some interesting news on US President Donald Trump. He was shown in a video saying that his father was born in Germany, when in actual fact, it was his grandfather. 

 When saying that, he has no idea that he has made a faux pas. President Trump’s father was born in New York.

The next video was his inability to pronounce the word “origins” despite repeated attempts to do so. Instead of origins, the word that came out from his month was oranges or oringes. You could see him struggling to get it right but to no avail. President Trump is presently 72-year-old.

This bought into focus his mental state. Some are questioning whether dementia or Alzheimer's disease has set on the president who is also the commander-in-chief of a nuclear power. Some are also questioning at what age senility is likely to set in.

Right now, there is no upper age limit for politicians holding public office. We simply assume that they are supermen capable of holding any position and performing any task once they are appointed or elected to office. But is this a justifiable assumption?

When many other professions impose upper age limits to ensure minimal standards, why must politicians be exempt?

Do we assume that their jobs are unimportant? However, we do know that the performance of most politicians has a great impact on the livelihood of individuals as well as the society at large.

This brings forth my next point. I don’t think citizens and mass media in between elections should adopt a benign or hands-off approach to politicians. We must monitor and check their statements for consistency and coherence. 

We must assess their approach to problem-solving, whether it's holistic or piecemeal and transient. We must evaluate whether they have a comprehensive understanding of issues before making statements or policies.

Granted that longevity and health conditions are very much based on individuals, I think it is not wrong to watch politicians closely for signs of senility and deterioration in mental health. Their jobs are too important for us to ignore whether they are still mentally capable of fulfilling their responsibility.  

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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