Name: Joseph Kurup
Years as MP: Since 2008
Natural resources and environment deputy minister
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucus: None
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 would not support the abolition of the ISA in its entirety. We know that the law was enacted to deal with the communist insurgency but it is still needed to deal with people who are a threat to national security.
I would support and recommend the review of the section relating to detention without trial. As the law stands now, it is open to being used arbitrarily and often results in agony for families of the detained person.
There should be an established procedure to be followed. The power should be used sparingly and on certain specified cases only which are really considered a threat to national security.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
Malaysia should be a secular state. This is in view of the multiracial, multi-religious, multiethnic and multilingual character of Malaysians. This has proven to work well with all of Malaysia’s population.
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 always regard my role as an MP as a sacrifice rather than a privilege. I would like to see the people, in particular rural people, get the benefits that they ought to get, such as education, health and water supply.
The facilities given to MPs to carry out their roles are not adequate, especially those who look after a big constituency.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
I would support [such] an Act provided the information made free is useful for further education and research, and beneficial to Malaysians as a whole.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
The Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) should remain. Malaysians have sensitivities as all human beings do. The PPPA is therefore needed to regulate negative news which would have a negative impact on the Malaysian population.
But I would support a review of the PPPA, particularly relating to the power of the executive.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
I am a strong believer of the separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary. But not of total separation of power. It should be a separation [where one organ of the government] checks the abuse of power by [the other]. It acts as a check and balance.
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