KEPONG Member of Parliament Dr Tan Seng Giaw responds to the MP Watch: Eye on Parliament project, which asks all 222 MPs six questions.
Name: Tan Seng Giaw
Party: DAP (Opposition)
Years as MP: Since 1982
Government post: None
National deputy chairperson
DAP Parliament Whip
Membership in parliamentary committee or caucus:
Public Accounts Committee deputy chairperson
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 would support the abolition of the ISA because it was promulgated in 1960 to fight the communists. The communists have laid down their arms since 1989, so we now need to repeal the Act and replace it with an Anti-Terrorism Act.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
Malaysia should not be an Islamic state as it is a multi-religious country as stipulated by the Federal Constitution. It would require a two-third majority in Parliament to amend [the constitution].
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
Parliament provides certain things such as allowance for a driver to help an MP’s work. These allowances and facilities are scarcely enough. Basically, an MP is a lawmaker, a supervisor of the country’s budget, a monitor of civil servants and a spokes[person] for the people, not only for his or her constituency, but also the whole country.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
I would support a Freedom of Information Act that takes into full consideration the country’s multi-racial, multi-religious and historical aspects.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
Continuous education to increase awareness and the commitment of all Malaysians to parliamentary democracy. This must include true separation of powers of the legislature, the judiciary and the government.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
I do because each can then keep an eye on the others. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton).
For other MP responses, see Full list of MPs
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