PETALING JAYA, 20 Jan 2010: Readers who voted on which question to pose to all Malaysian Members of Parliament (MPs) under the MP Watch: Eye on Parliament project were overwhelmingly interested in a Freedom of Information Act.
The second and third most popular questions were a tie. They were what MPs would do to strengthen parliamentary democracy, and whether they believed in the separation of powers between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.
These three questions were chosen by voters over a one-week period which ended on 15 Jan 2010. They will be posed to all 222 elected representatives in the Dewan Rakyat.
Three other questions about democracy, which were predetermined by The Nut Graph, will also be posed. They are about the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for indefinite state detention without trial; Malaysia’s status as a secular or Islamic state; and how MPs define their role.
The six questions that will be asked of MPs are:
Would you support the abolition/review of the ISA, in particular the provision that allows for detention without trial? Why or why not?
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and the judiciary? Why or why not?
The Nut Graph will be contacting, in batches, MPs to seek their responses to these questions. MPs will be given two weeks to reply to keep this one-year project on schedule.
All responses will be published, including a non-response. The first batch of responses from MPs is expected to be published in February.
Among others, the project aims to provide Malaysians with a better sense of who their representatives in Parliament are, and what their MP will vote for towards strengthening democracy in Malaysia. It is also a platform for MPs to speak up about the challenges they face in fulfilling their parliamentary role.
The Nut Graph thanks readers who participated in selecting the questions.
MP Watch: Eye on Parliament is a project by The Nut Graph supported by
Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung is a German foundation named after the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, and is guided by his principles. It supports democracy and the rule of law, human rights, furthering cooperation between different nations and cultures, and promoting the German concept of social market economy. KAS has been active in Malaysia for over three decades.