(Source: parlimen.gov.my) Name: Kamarudin Jaffar
Party: PAS (Opposition)
Years as MP: Since 1999
Government position: None
Central committee member
Membership in parliamentary committee or caucus:
Public accounts 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?
Yes, I would. Because as a matter of principle, any person detained or arrested should be brought to an open court of law, where he or she has the opportunity, with legal representation, to hear charges against him [or her] and to defend himself or herself.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
We should not approach Malaysian politics, especially with regards to Islam and religion, from the perspective of secular [versus] Islamic. We should not turn it into an “either/or” situation.
We should give due regard to Islam as the country’s official religion, and at the same time, maintain the freedom for other religions to practise accordingly. This is a comfortable arrangement because Islam can accommodate the freedom of all other religions.
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 take my role as an elected MP seriously. I consider it as a responsibility, and [have the trust of] the rakyat to speak up for their good and for the good of everybody. Therefore, I expect that the facilities provided to MPs should be as wide-ranging as possible so that we can perform our roles. At the moment, unfortunately, we do not get enough support.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
Yes, because this is one of the important pillars of democracy that will allow the rakyat to be aware of the acts of the government and also of the opposition.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
A lot of things need to be done. Number one is to give parliament a strong position by strengthening its role. This can be done by giving parliamentarians more responsibilities, such as by creating select committees, and to allow and provide for MPs and these select committees access to professional expertise when debating bills. This can help ensure that Parliament is not subservient to ministers of the cabinet.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
We are a Westminster system, so the ruling government is also the party that is dominant in Parliament. By this arrangement, there cannot be an absolute separation between Parliament and government.
Nevertheless, if we strengthen Parliament as mentioned above, it can play a crucial role of checking on the acts of the government of the day. As for the judiciary, it should be separate, and should really not have its power diluted by any other institution.
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