(Source: parlimen.gov.my) Name: Ong Tee Keat
Years as MP: Since 1989
Government position: None (effective 1 June 2010)
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucus: None
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 a review of the ISA [but] not its abolishment, as preventive laws are still necessary. In fact, preventive laws are still found in many developed countries.
Detention without trial should be centred on terrorists and hardcore criminals only, not political dissidents. But I support a review of the ISA to prevent it from being abused. In fact, the law can also be renamed.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
Malaysia is a hybrid state. Islam is the official religion, while other religions can be practised. We have a parliamentary democracy. The country is not run by a syura council. Most Malaysians have no problem with this. In Malaysia, we are from neither extreme.
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 am an MP who is also a frontbencher. It is also my duty to address my constituents’ woes in Pandan. No problem is too small for me. Since Pandan is near where I work and live, I make it a point to be there as often as possible. In Parliament, like all ministers, I have a room for me to fulfill my ministerial duties.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
I support any law that will make the administration more transparent and accountable. This is something I have been fighting for, as you can see in the Port Klang Free Zone debacle.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
Contrary to the present whip system, MPs should be allowed to speak up and vote according to their conscience. At present, party views still take precedence over the people’s views.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
Strictly speaking, there is no distinct separation between the three in the Westminster model we inherited. What’s important is to have sufficient and efficient check-and-balance mechanism[s] to uphold good governance through transparency and accountability. This way, whenever something goes wrong in one section of the government, it can be quickly remedied through another section.
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