Updated 4:20pm, 4 March 2010
(Source: parlimen.gov.my) Name: John Fernandez
Party: DAP (Opposition)
Years as MP: Since 2008
Government post: None
(Updated) Membership in parliamentary committee or caucuses:
Asean Parliamentary Assembly
Original deadline: 1 March 2010
Responses submitted: 5:21pm, 3 March 2010
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?
In my opinion, there should be a review of the ISA. I do not support detention without trial because it is against the rules of natural justice, and infringes on human rights. Anyone detained in Malaysia should be charged in court and given a fair trial. Detention without trial infringes Articles 9 and 10 of the Federal Constitution, and is against the basic and fundamental principle of criminal law that every person is innocent until proven guilty.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
The Federal Constitution as it stands today states that Malaysia is a secular state. This was confirmed by the 1988 decision by His Lordship, as he then was, Justice Salleh Abbas, in the well-known case of Che Omar bin Che Soh vs Public Prosecutor & Anor Case (1988) 2 MLJ 55.
Malaysia is not an Islamic state because non-Muslims are not subject to syariah law.
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
Being an opposition backbencher, our main role is to act as a check and balance against the ruling party. We need to highlight several issues brought to us by the public. The support given by Parliament is limited because opposition MPs do not get the RM1 million per year constituency allocation given to Barisan Nasional MPs.
There needs to be a lot of improvement in this. Parliament should provide all MPs with support staff, and pay for their expenses for running their service centres. I have eight service centres. I am not given a single sen for the upkeep of my service centres and payment for my staff.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
Yes, I support the above Act. There must be basic and fundamental freedom to seek, receive and impart information and knowledge. Democracy without freedom of information is meaningless.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
The present system of parliamentary democracy in Malaysia is lopsided and unfair. [For example], the Putrajaya parliamentary seat has a population of 5,000 voters, whereas my Seremban parliamentary seat, which is the biggest in Negri Sembilan, has 80,000 voters.
The Seremban seat has the sole distinction of being the only parliamentary seat in the whole of Malaysia to have six state seats, which are Lenggeng, Nilai, Lobak, Temiang, Sikamat and Ampangan. If we are to take into consideration that Putrajaya has only 5,000 voters, then the Seremban parliamentary seat should have 16 parliamentary seats.
It is so lopsided that the BN has only 51% of 7.9 million votes cast, yet they control 63% of the total seats in Parliament, i.e. 140 seats (now 137) out of 222 seats. This kind of electoral manipulation is against basic human rights and is a mockery of justice, a part of fraud on the people.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
The separation of powers is manipulated by the present authorities. Each branch should be independent of the other, but in reality, sad to say, this is not so in Malaysia. Public confidence in the judiciary has reached its lowest ebb. There is lack of confidence after the recent Perak crisis.
For other MP responses, see Full MP list