(Source: parlimen.gov.my) Name: Razali Ibrahim
Years as MP: Since 2004
Government position: Deputy youth and sports minister
Deputy Youth chief
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucuses:
Rights and privileges committee 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?
The ISA has long been the centre of several national debates that have, at times, attracted international curiosity. The government only has the interest of national security in implementing the ISA, especially in the area of public safety.
I do support the efforts undertaken by our government to sustain a harmonious society, which is the foundation of economic growth, and which will contribute towards improving every Malaysian’s quality of life.
The government must also be lauded for it has heeded the current outlook and public interest to review the ISA [in the face of challenges and an ever-changing society], and [will be tabling] proposed amendments in the coming Parliament sitting this year.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
Islam is the national religion of Malaysia. From this fact would [arise] many interpretations on the acceptance of Malaysia as an Islamic state. Every Islamic country in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is impressed with Malaysia’s development in terms of balancing between religion and modernity. This is a substantive performance, as Malaysia is not historically known as a centre [that produces] clerics, compared with countries [in the Middle East], where many of the prophets are from.
In the last 52 years, we have seen good cooperation between races and religions when it comes to protecting national interest. This is one of the clear indicators that Malaysia is an Islamic state as practised by the Prophet Muhammad. When he arrived at Medina, after completing the construction of the mosque, he initiated meetings with religious leaders [to foster] solidarity and cooperation among the people.
It can’t be denied that several parties in the country do not feel comfortable with the [label], as it portrays the image of some Islamic country that is against many natural laws.
From a legal perspective, some have even argued that it is clearly stated that Malaysia is a secular state. On the other hand, some Muslim groups will only endorse Malaysia as an Islamic state if hudud (Islamic penal code) is implemented, regardless of whatever achievement in other fields. However, [theirs] is not the final say.
In a nutshell, it is a question between form and substance.
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
[As] an elected Member of Parliament, [I] carry the responsibilities and interest of the people in my Muar constituency. Paramount to that is my focus on elevating the quality of life for the people of Muar by creating an attractive environment to spur economic and social activities via the improvement of infrastructure and public amenities, and encouraging greater educational opportunities.
Parliament gives me and my fellow MPs a national platform to raise local issues affecting the nation, and to demonstrate how we can work together as a unified government to continue striving towards achieving our country’s objectives and development.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
Freedom of information in this information age has two distinctive elements: access to information, and the usage of such information. I am all for the access of information, whether free or paid services/procurements, to cultivate a progressive society in the interest of promoting positive practices throughout government. This includes improving education, commerce, healthcare, public safety and transportation.
However, a Freedom of Information Act would fail in its intentions if certain quarters used it for ill intentions.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
[Our Parliament is a forward-thinking institution that] is constantly and consistently examining avenues to empower MPs by fostering and stimulating greater democratic practices within the parametres of our Federal Constitution.
If there is one thing that I would like to see, it would be improvement on the quality of debates. Parliament already has resources made available to all MPs, including a group of dedicated researchers and a well-stocked resource centre. I look forward to participating in better and more articulate debates in the future.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
The concept of separation of powers, as clearly defined in our Federal Constitution, is alive and healthy. This is demonstrated by the processes and procedures of our government, where the administration, legislature and judicial institutions are functioning independently to govern the interests of our country and its people, and are headed by our monarch.
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