Name: Wee Ka Siong
Constituency: Ayer Hitam
Years as MP: Since 2004
Deputy education minister
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucuses:
Inter-Parliamentary Union 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?
I support a review of the ISA. There should be a reasonable detention period, and subsequently, if there is evidence against the suspects, they should be tried in open court.
The detention period should be shortened, say 14 days, which is a reasonable time for investigations. The current initial detention period of 60 days is too long.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
To the minds of many Malaysians, secular and Islamic cannot co-exist. But in my opinion, we are a secular state with a Muslim majority. In other words, our secular state has a unique Malaysian context, based on the Federal 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?
The role of an MP is to bring up issues in Parliament and to resolve them. That is for the backbenchers. If you are on the front bench, besides answering or giving replies on the ministry’s behalf … one should convey the people’s grievances [in government meetings].
MPs are also lawmakers, but in this country, the system is such that the Attorney-General is still drafting the law. [This is] unlike other parliaments where they have a group like a drafting committee to draft laws, and the bill goes first through committees before going to the full House. We need to evolve further in the law-making process.
MPs still need more assistance paid for by the government, especially in the area of doing research.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
Yes, such an Act is good and timely. But it should not be construed as allowing intrusion into one’s privacy.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
I want Parliament to be independent; meaning, it administers itself, rather than be part of the government. This should be our objective.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
I believe in these three pillars under the Federal Constitution, where the government, the Parliament and judiciary should be separate and independent. It is of paramount importance to ensure that the three pillars can co-exist and not interfere with each other.
The executive also needs to execute the laws passed by Parliament. We have to be able to distinguish. Lawmakers make the law. Once it is approved in Parliament, the executive should follow what is stipulated in the law.
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