Name: Fong Chan Onn
Constituency: Alor Gajah
Years as MP: Since 1990
Government position: None
Alor Gajah division chief
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucus:
Rights and privileges committee member
Asia-Europe Parliamentary caucus
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?
The ISA should only be reviewed to confine the law to terrorism and religious extremism, and to cases involving those who instigate racial disharmony.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
It should be a secular state as per the provisions in our Federal Constitution.
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfil your role?
I look after the needs of my constituency, but my role as MP should also be more than that. I have to reflect the people’s aspirations. The people’s opinions should be taken seriously, especially since our system is essentially a cabinet system whereby the cabinet makes all the decisions.
As to fulfilling our roles, MPs have to find their own support workers to help us. We should follow the UK Parliament, where MPs have support staff. Our MPs should also sit throughout the year as they do in Britain, compared to our present practice of sitting just three or four months a year. Question-and-answer sessions and debates should be daily affairs to continuously highlight national issues. In Britain, the MPs hold a prime minister’s question time daily, where they can ask the PM about anything under the sun.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
Yes, I would support such an act. In any case, information cannot be suppressed.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
As I mentioned, Parliament should sit more often. Debates should also be telecast live so that the people can listen and check on the MPs’ performance.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
Of course. It’s important to have checks and balances between the judiciary, legislative and executive.
For other MP responses, see Full MP list
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