Updated at 4:25pm, 7 April 2010
(Source: parlimen.gov.my)Name: Mohd Yusmadi Mohd Yusoff
Constituency: Balik Pulau
Party: PKR (Opposition)
Years as MP: Since 2008
Government position: None
PKR Youth International Bureau chairperson
PKR Youth executive committee member
(Updated) Membership in parliamentary committees or caucuses:
Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus secretary
Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development member
Judicial Independence and Integrity Caucus member
Would you support the abolition/review of the Internal Security Act (ISA), in particular the provision that allows for detention without trial? Why or why not?
I support the abolition of the ISA. It denies a person’s fundamental liberties and disrespects the dignity of a human being in whatever name, whether security or development. It is just inhumane.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
The model of development for Malaysia should not be trapped in the discourse of Islamic or secular state.
The current discourse is about effective state and government. What matters most as far as citizens of a nation are concerned is effective delivery, and the discharge of responsibilities and obligations of individuals who have been entrusted with them. This would mean relevant stakeholders such as politicians, public service officers, and also civil society in general.
With that in mind, the notion of secular or Islamic state is an old ideological paradigm in discussing a nation’s development. In a mature democracy, people do not talk anymore about small or big government. People talk about effective government.
For me, effective government must reflect accountability and responsibility in whatever name. By having a secular state alone or Islamic state alone, it may not necessarily solve the people’s plight of having effective government.
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
I categorise myself as a public facilitator playing a leadership role. There is now an abundance of available information and a high level of awareness and concern. Most families and citizens generally know what their choices are. It is untenable for a person, whether a parliamentarian or minister, to dictate or decide on the people’s behalf [and assume to know] what is best for them.
The approach should be: after the citizen is given sufficient information and choices, my role as a parliamentarian is to facilitate their choices.
I’ve been practising this in my constituency Balik Pulau since I was elected [in 2008]. My centre is known as the Public Facilitators and Information Centre. I try my level best to ensure my constituents have sufficient information to make decisions and know where to find the information they need. I also supply them with newspapers. So my office is next to a coffee shop, to have a place for them to obtain current information.
I believe an enlightened leader and enlightened followers can bring change to the nation. By giving [citizens] enough information, that would be the key for enlightenment.
I have not received a single cent of allocation announced by the government, which started with RM500,000 for the first year and which was later increased to RM1 million [for each constituency]. I’m told these funds are managed by Pejabat Pembangunan Negeri (PPN), which is under the prime minister’s department. Since I have been denied that allocation, I try to be a watchdog and monitoring mechanism on behalf of the Balik Pulau voters to make sure that PPN manages the funds properly.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
I believe in the philosophy of open government with justified privacy. This means I envisage a government which is open and transparent and practises the policy of “publish what you pay“. If the government uses any taxpayers’ funds, they have to publish it.
I strongly support freedom of information and strongly reject the regime of secrecy in the name of the Official Secrets Act, Printing Presses and Publications Act, and unnecessary licences imposed. I reject a big brother concept of government.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
I would like to propose muafakat (consensus) leadership in politics. It stands on the premise of participatory democracy, where developing a country is not by monopoly as is the case now.
Currently, national development is monopolised by Umno or Barisan Nasional politicians. My proposal of muafakat leadership would involve all sectors [in decision-making]: civil society, political sectors, business sectors and volunteer sectors. The government must be able to provide a platform for these stakeholders to voice out and channel their opinions.
For me, participatory democracy is important and brings back the fundamental meaning of democracy, which is direct democracy. Currently, in Malaysia, we have a lot of indirect democracy. I would like to bring back direct democracy, where the voice of the people is represented; not the voice of proxies, delegates, or sectors which disconnect the choices of individuals in the decision-making process, which is what is happening now.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
Of course I’m for the separation of powers.
Rather than implementing the classical [understanding of] separation of powers, [we can even be more ambitious]. It is not enough to only have separation of powers of the judiciary, executive and legislature. [We need] muafakat political leadership, which is about participatory and muafakat responsibility. At the end of the day, we are dealing with human beings who are given the responsibility to decide for the people’s benefit.
Montesquieu proposed the best model of [his] time, which was a separation of powers. [But] is politics only about power? For me, it has to be about responsibility and the dignity of the people.
Separation of powers itself has to be further studied because it’s about doing justice to the people. I would [go even further to] explore what I believe is more relevant to the people: not about managing power, but about protecting a minimum standard of dignity.
For other MP responses, see Full MP list
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