Updated 12:15pm, 8 Feb 2010
(Source: parlimen.gov.my) Name: Abd Khalid Ibrahim
Constituency: Bandar Tun Razak
Party: PKR (Opposition)
Years as MP: 2008-present
Government position: None
Central leadership council member
Kuala Selangor division head
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucus: None
Blog/Website: Facebook – Khalid Ibrahim
Original deadline: 4 Feb 2010
Responses submitted: 5:30pm, 7 Feb 2010
Would you support the abolition/review of the Internal Security Act (ISA), in particular the provision that allows for detention without trial?
The ISA must be abolished. Detention without trial goes against every grain of human rights and dignity. I would like to add that in May 2008, the Selangor state assembly supported the abolition of the ISA and the Official Secrets Act. A state cannot be truly developed if laws that curb human rights are enforced.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
There is much debate about this. I am not interested to debate this here. But I am always interested to help Malaysia be free of corruption; to have fair and just economic distribution and a fair judiciary; to have transparency and accountability in its state administration; and a better human rights policy. These are all virtues demanded in an Islamic state.
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 entered politics to make a difference and to improve the policies and the rakyat’s standard of living, representing their concerns and issues. I believe I am also entrusted to study laws and policies that will have national implications, and ensure the interests of all Malaysians are protected.
However, I sometimes feel that it’s quite a frustrating role because your responsibility as an MP is supposed to be formulating laws; but given the system in this country, an MP’s role is limited because of the executive’s overextensive role.
Hence, Parliament is sadly reduced to being a rubber stamp. As it is, Parliament does not have the sufficient infrastructure to support us as parliamentarians.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
Yes, I fully support freedom of information and freedom of speech and expression. As an MP at the federal level, I try to express this whenever I can, but as I said in the earlier question, there is not much that I can do.
But at the state level, the Pakatan Rakyat government has announced that we will be tabling the Freedom of Information Act in the next sitting of Dewan Negeri Selangor, which will cover all Selangor state agencies. Access to information will be the rule rather than the exception. We made the decision because we believe that all citizens have the right to have and to know as much information as they need.
We also believe that media freedom is equally important. Without access to information, journalists and media institutions like the The Nut Graph would not be able to be effective.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
We need to have greater allocation from the national budget for Parliament to increase the capacity of parliamentary researchers, [to have] better quality budget debates, and [for] more time [to be] given to parliamentarians to analyse and to debate draft bills.
Also, we should have a special parliamentary committee to look into draft bills as too many times, arguments by the opposition are dismissed without consideration. Full live proceedings of parliamentary proceedings would also ensure quality debate in the House.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
I believe in the separation of powers. The duty of Parliament is to create laws; the judiciary to interpret and exercise those laws, and the executive to implement those laws fairly and reasonably.
It is fundamental for democracy as each provides check and balance to prevent abuse. In theory it looks good, but in practice it is another thing. There are a lot of grey areas. Due to our Westminster model of Parliament, our executive is made of the majority party in Parliament. To make things more complicated, members of the judiciary are appointed by the executive.
Over the years, we have seen the executive becoming more powerful and this is unhealthy. Each of the three pillars should maintain their respective areas of jurisdiction and responsibilities. Separation of powers between the three is a fundamental part of a democracy.
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