(source: parlimen.gov.my)Name: Abdul Manan Ismail
Constituency: Paya Besar
Years as MP: Since 2008
Government position: None
Paya Besar Umno division member
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucus: None
Blog/Website: Facebook — Datuk Abdul Manan Ismail
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?
Malaysians have been misled by irresponsible minorities who are against the ISA, and have misjudged it. The truth, by rational thinking, is that the ISA’s track record has proven [that it is the] right instrument in maintaining the country’s peace and order.
The communist threat in Malaysia, as well as the subversive and anti-national elements — to me, they never end. They may have lost in their past struggle, but maybe in the future they will come again [with] other forms of tactics and strategies to win the people’s hearts and minds, through democratic means. These elements are always a threat to our country, believe it or not.
We must always remember the background of multiracial citizens. Values, thinking, and above all, our rakyat are very much attached to their race, including in matters of politics, business and education.
This needs a careful system in order to avoid chaos and racial tension. So the ISA has helped defend the right system that our people and country need. And I am very supportive of the ISA as a national machinery to maintain national security. As far as I know, ISA has never been abused by the government towards political rivals — only those who are proven to be endangering the nation will be dealt with.
Personally, as a citizen and as a politician, I will never support the move towards abolishing the ISA. If there are clauses in the Act that need reviewing, then I think the government is always ready to review the Act. But not its abolishment.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
As it is now, Malaysia is already an Islamic state. An Islamic state does not mean that every rakyat must be Muslim. When the Prophet Muhammad formed Medina as an Islamic state and drafted the Islamic constitution (Perlembagaan Medina), the prophet also pointed out clauses for Christians and Jews.
And still the Islamic state of Medina did not force non-Muslims to convert into Islam. What the Islamic constitution of Medina stressed was the cooperation and spirit of neighbourliness between Muslims and non-Muslims.
And in Malaysia today, we witness and experience for ourselves the spirit of kongsi kuasa in the Barisan National, the spirit of cooperation and unity among the rakyat.
In the Holy Quran, it is stated that God created man [and women] with different types of races, to make man [and women] help each other (Surah Al-Barakah), and [this surah calls] for us to live in peace and harmony, [with] tolerance and respect for each other. Malaysia, with its plural society, I think, has a great opportunity to follow this path of Islam without forcing non-Muslims to become Muslim.
The present government, which I support, is taking the path of liberalism in Islam and not the extreme path. In my view, I think our country is an Islamic country.
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
My role as an MP began even before I was elected as an MP. Meaning that I read up before my lesson began. As a politician, I made myself easily available and was ready to go down to socialise with people from all walks of life. I was ready to serve them, show my sincerity, give my opinion and talk to them, so that they would have confidence and trust in me.
Now as an MP, my work has become easier. People come to me with all kinds of problems and demands, which cannot be turned down. I am ready for it. There are occasions where I am sometimes confronted with big problems, but I have the help of the ministries, the state and federal governments, and also my party, Umno, to resolve the people’s problems and fulfill their needs.
As an MP, what is important, and I consider it a basic principle for every Umno politician, is to serve the rakyat with sincerity. To give ourselves to the people.
Parliament is a debating arena, where elected MPs from various parties throw down their ideas and give their thoughts on them to make it perfect for our country. As for the infrastructure and support, I usually go to the ministries and their related departments and agencies, because they are the right bodies with the power and authority to serve and implement government projects for the people’s needs.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
Yes, I would support it if the government thinks it is necessary. In fact, such an Act should have been there a long time ago, considering the media is one very important sector to the government and the public.
Currently and in the past, the media has always had a good relationship with the government. The press has always enjoyed the fruits of freedom. I think the press and media community in our country know their limits of freedom and they work responsibly within this framework. I am happy, personally as an MP, that I have built up good relationships with many journalists and those in the media.
It is necessary not to deny this Act, for it can be a guide in the future so that the press will always be the right companion to the government.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
I would like to see “Gagasan Satu Malaysia” (1Malaysia movement), as promoted by our prime minister, achieved and [blossoming] in the hearts and minds, and practices of all Malaysians.
I think that 1Malaysia is a key way to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia and I will always work hard on my part to contribute to this.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
The present situation as we know, where there is separation of powers between the government, Parliament and the judiciary, has brought good results for the government. There is tight cooperation and understanding between these three institutions. I believe that the system practised by the three institutions, through the separation of powers, is a good way to manage our country.
For other MP responses, see Full MP list
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