Updated 15 March 2010 at 3:10pm
(Source: parlimen.gov.my) Name: Zulkifli Noordin
Constituency: Kulim-Bandar Baru
Party: PKR (Opposition) (sacked on 6 March 2010)
Independent (from 7 March 2010)
Years as MP: Since 2008
Government position: None
Party position: None
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucus:
Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly 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?
The ISA must be abolished. Detention without trial goes against the very tenet of Islamic justice, and every grain of human rights and dignity. I have personally experienced being detained together with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 under this draconian act, and there is nothing positive to be said about it.
In fact, I would suggest the abolition of other draconian acts like the Printing Presses and Publications Act, Official Secrets Act, and the like. Although I admit there is a need for a stringent law to combat subversive and terrorist acts, the ISA is not the way to do it. We can enact new laws to confront elements of subversion and terrorism, without sacrificing Islamic justice, human rights and dignity.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
I think the current constitutional framework, where Islam is the official state religion with all the special positions accorded to it, [while] other religious beliefs and practices are guaranteed, is sufficient. We are neither an Islamic nor secular state.
It is the mutual respect and tolerant attitude towards each other’s religion that has been the hallmark and recipe of success and peace in this beloved country all these years, until the birth of some religious bigots and zealots. These include some atheists who cause the big problems faced by us today. It is their sick mentality and attitude that we need to address.
[Updated] However as a Muslim, I have to be frank that with all honesty, if I were to have my way, I would definitely implement Islamic laws in all spheres of the administration of justice. That includes but is not limited to the implementation of Islamic criminal law. You have to understand that as a Muslim, it is our religious duty and responsibility to live by our own law, which was taken away by the colonial powers without our consent. Any Muslim worth his [or her] salt would want that Islamic life back, and I for one will use my utmost abilities to do so. I would rather die trying than live lying idle.
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
My role as Member of Parliament is to lay the foundation and formulate good policies and good governance for the country and its people, including representing my constituents’ concerns and issues.
[Updated] It is also my responsibility as a Muslim MP to convince the people, especially Muslims, that implementing an Islamic justice and administrative system will bring positive development to the people and the country, regardless of religion, race and bakground. But we will do so without sacrificing or alienating the rights of other religion and beliefs. And we have to find ways to overcome the inter-religious problems that have been the thorn to the fabric of our society. I have said so before and I will say it again, that Islam has all the tenets of a democracy, but democracy doesn’t have all the tenets of Islam.
However, as far as our current democratic principles are concerned, [playing my role as MP] seems to be near impossible as the doctrine of separation of powers enshrined in all genuine democracy is not present here. The executive seems to be in total, if not absolute, control. The government backbenchers are nothing but mere [followers] who are more than willing to rubber stamp anything. The ministers are too busy with their own politicking, and we, the opposition, have no control over the sitting of Parliament.
Hence, Parliament today is sadly a place of the elite, with suits and ties having a nice time shouting at each other in the Dewan, and having teh tarik after the sitting outside the Dewan.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
Definitely, I would fully support freedom of information and freedom of speech and expression.
[Updated] In fact, Islamic principles begin with the command to say “Iqro” i.e. “Read”, says Allah. And the revelation of Al-Quran is the very foundation of Muslim belief to freedom of expression, because before the Quranic revelation, peoples’ knowledge of God and human existence was almost nil!
The Pakatan Rakyat will be tabling the Freedom of Information Act in the next sitting of Dewan Negeri Selangor. Free access to information will be the rule rather than the exception. This is to prove our commitment to the principle that the people are entitled to information, so that they can make well-informed decisions. This is in line with our slogan “Ketuanan Rakyat”.
[Updated] Free access to information should be the rule rather than the exception. This is to prove our commitment to the principle that the people are entitled to information, so that they can make well informed decisions; in line with the slogan “Rakyat Didahulukan” or “Ketuanan Rakyat”.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
We should have an independent, impartial and non-political speaker and deputy speaker, maybe ex-judges or people of the same credibility.
[Updated] I am not saying that we do not have one at the moment. I believe Tan Sri Pandikar (Amin) is doing all that he can to uphold the Dewan’s dignity and sanctity. But there is room for improvement.
This is because at the end of the day, strong, independent, impartial and non-political speakers will be able to carry out his [or her] constitutional and democratic duties without fear or favour.
We also need to have [a budget] allocated for officers, researchers and logistics to be an effective parliamentarian.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
This principle goes without saying. It is the very basic tenet of Islamic justice and democracy. But I believe this is what is absent in our system of government today.
And we in Pakatan are striving hard to achieve this ideal principle of governance. Good governance can only be achieved when there is an effective check and balance. And the separation of powers between the three pillars of government can provide that check and balance.
For other MP responses, see Full MP list