Name: Lo Lo’ Mohamad Ghazali
Party: PAS (Opposition)
Years as MP: Since 2008
Government position: None
Titiwangsa Wanita chief
Central committee member
Central welfare and society bureau head
Central political committee member
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucuses:
Gender caucus member
Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus member
Inter-Parliamentary Union member
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association 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 have been campaigning for the abolishment of this draconian law for years, especially the clause that allows detention without trial. This law is in violation of the most basic human right that is recognised by other countries throughout the world.
The government claims that the ISA would only be used as the last resort against terrorists and chauvinists. In reality, this law is no more than the government’s dirty weapon to silence the opposition. Any opposition to government policies is seen as a good case for invoking the ISA. This is indeed a recipe for abuse.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
I’m inclined to agree with Dr Chandra Muzaffar‘s opinion that Malaysia should not be a secular state within the conventional use, and neither should it be an Islamic state in the classical sense. It is unwise to insist that Malaysia is a secular state or an Islamic state, as this will only widen the chasm between communities and exacerbate ethnic tensions.
Furthermore, I do not want to get into wordplay, recognising the fact that an “Islamic state” may mean different things to different quarters. After all, Islam is the official religion of the country. That politics and Islam mix on a regular basis is undeniable by anyone who hasn’t been under a rock for the past five or six centuries.
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
Like other MPs, my role is mainly to participate in debates and to vote on legislation in Parliament. I also represent my constituents’ voice in the Dewan Rakyat. [This is] especially since unlike other states, there is no other credible avenue for specific discussions on matters relating to Kuala Lumpur residents.
For this reason as well, I serve more like a district or welfare officer than a legislator. I give advice to my constituents on all sorts of things, and address matters which should be handled by agencies like DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall).
In terms of infrastructure, I get more hurdles than support from various government agencies to perform my duty as an MP. To begin with, I’ve not been given access to the parliamentary constituency allocation, worth up to RM1 million, to serve my constituency.
I have also been denied access to various public facilities [because I am] an opposition MP. For instance, I’m not allowed to enter school premises, as that might be construed as politicking. At the same time, an Umno [division] head is allowed to officiate functions such as academic award prize-giving ceremonies. On many occasions, I do not get invitations to official government events, whereas the Umno [division] head can get a VIP seat!
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
The right to access information is guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Legislation such as the Official Secrets Act are no more than another dirty weapon frequently used by the ruling party to cover up the abuse of their positions and government machinery.
Gone are the times when the public is kept in the dark and the government is assumed to know better. The public’s level of intellect has soared, and the people have all the right to know the basis of leaders’ decisions. Improved transparency will also mitigate the risk of corruption and abuse, as well as increase the economy’s overall competitiveness.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
I’m a strong advocate of a truly independent media. The Printing Presses and Publications Act should be repealed, and the practice of issuing licences with the aim of protecting the ruling party’s interest should be abolished.
The opposition coalition should be given its fair share of the media, including airtime on the mainstream channels. That way, people can make informed decisions about the running and governance of the country.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
The separation of powers between different organs of the state is the single most important principle of democracy. Unfortunately, in Malaysia, this is definitely not happening. The executive, in particular the prime minister and the people who are close to him, wields too much power, and they rule the country at their own whim and fancy. As the saying goes: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
For other MP responses, see Full MP list
The Nut Graph needs your support