Name: Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor
Years as MP: Since 2004
Government post: None
Membership in parliamentary committee or caucus: None
Blog/website: Facebook – Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor
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?
A law has been put in the country to look after the country’s security. I would definitely not want the ISA to be abolished. We need this law because we’re multiracial, multiethnic, multireligious.
After [11 Sept 2001], the USA introduced a similar law by a different name. Why do Singapore and a lot of countries still have this law? This law is not for us to use against our opponents or anybody. But we need it to safeguard the majority.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
I think Malaysia is what it is today: a multiracial country. It should stay that way. We have unity in diversity. Islam is our official religion, and the [believers of] other religions are allowed to practise. Why is there a problem? Why should we change it to any other form, whether secular or Islamic?
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
I used to be a minister and in the cabinet; now I’m an ordinary MP. I think the parliamentary democracy we have at the moment serves the nation. To me, we can air our views. The main thing is whether democracy itself is a source of good government. For example, in a democratic system, if you add up the other two opponents’ vote, their [combined] votes might be higher, so there is a question mark.
Democracy doesn’t mean I can do whatever I want to do. A lot of us have abused it. Even in Parliament, just because there’s immunity, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you like. Sometimes they behave just like children. It’s unbecoming. We have to respect one another. We also can come and shout, but what do we achieve? We are legislators, making sure that whatever laws that are passed are good for the rakyat.
Yes, there is enough infrastructure and support [to fulfill my role as an MP].
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
It depends on which [information is being sought]. For government policies, yes, but on security matters, no. Government has to keep a certain amnesty to ensure we don’t hurt other people’s feelings.
It depends on how you look at the free flow of information. Of course, the rakyat can ask for information pertaining to normal things. But if it’s information deemed protected under the Official Secrets Act, then you cannot ask for these things to be free. It would be disastrous for the country.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
Democracy — I’m skeptical about this word. People often try to abuse democracy. For example, going on the street to demonstrate — is that democracy? We are all people with a brain who can think, we have a certain level of intelligence. If we have problems, we should sit down and talk, have a meeting and solve the problem.
It doesn’t mean just because you’re an MP or state legislator, you can do whatever you want and instigate people and demonstrate, in the name of democracy.
Malaysia is a nice country to live in. Irrespective of whether I’m Malay, Chinese or Indian [Malaysian]. When we achieved independence, the three races went to the British together to get independence. No one race fought for independence. Can the Malay, Chinese or Indian [Malaysian] say they have not contributed? All of us have contributed. I don’t understand why some people like to disturb this situation. We are there, we’ve got the constitution, we’ve already agreed, just follow it, why question everything?
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
I used to be the deputy minister in the prime minister’s department in charge of law. People have said we abused the judiciary.
The judiciary is an independent body. Of course, when the government of the day comes into power — even (Barack) Obama, even (Tony) Blair — what’s the first thing they do? Change the chief justice, change the attorney-general. Why? Because when we want to implement laws for the good of the nation, we want it to be done in a correct manner. So, we have to put in people who understand what we’re trying to do.
We have been in this situation for the last 50 over years, why change? Leave it as what it is. I think the system is running well. Why does Parliament want to have a say in everything?
For other MP responses, see Full MP list
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