(Source: parlimen.gov.my) Name: Anifah Aman @ Haniff Amman
Years as MP:
Government position: Foreign minister
Kimanis division chief
Membership in parliamentary committees or caucus:
Proceeding regulations committee 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 government is in the process of reviewing the ISA to ensure that it meets the national security needs of a modern Malaysia and protects all Malaysians from harm.
Proposals for the reform of the ISA are due to be tabled in the new Parliamentary session in March. This will include consultations with various stakeholder groups, NGOs and legal bodies. Reform will focus on five key areas:
the length of detention period, rights and treatment given to detainees and their families,
the power of the home minister,
the use of ISA for political purposes, and
detention without trial.
Several ISA provisions will reflect the government’s intention to uphold civil liberties and establish a check and balance. This is so that the ISA is not used arbitrarily or according to the authorities’ whims, without regard for the people’s fundamental rights and civil liberties.
We hope that all Malaysians who feel passionately about this issue — whatever their views — will contribute meaningfully to this national debate. Once this process is complete, the cabinet will review the recommended changes, and we will table the recommendations for debate in Parliament.
Terrorism is a global threat, and we are committed to protecting our citizens’ safety and their civil rights. As the government continues to transform to meet public demand, we will continue to ensure that discourse proceeds unimpeded and public freedoms continue without threat of harm or reprisal.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
Malaysia is a moderate and progressive Islamic nation. As our prime minister once pointed out, the 1Malaysia concept has characteristics of the Charter of Medina, the first Islamic constitution introduced by Prophet Muhammad to unite various tribes and ethnic groups as a single ummah.
At the same time, we have adopted positive elements from outside the Muslim world. There is little difference between the Kuala Lumpur skyline and that in Chicago; [between] our hospitals and those in Singapore; or [between] the level of our telecommunications use and that in Paris. Our financial markets are integrated with world markets.
This model has served us well in our relatively short history.
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfil your role?
Naturally, I have an obligation to serve my constituents in Kimanis to the fullest extent possible. They have entrusted me with their vote. My responsibility is to constantly strive to represent their interests to the best of my ability. Their lives should improve as a result of what I am able to accomplish. I don’t take this responsibility lightly, and no elected official should.
Parliament simply provides the platform where I lobby on behalf of the people of Kimanis. As long as this is where lawmakers congregate to discuss and debate laws that impact the citizens of Kimanis, it is sufficient.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
I am not opposed to the idea of a Freedom of Information Act, provided, of course, that our national security is not sacrificed.
To be sure, though, a national discourse on the principles of transparency with the interest of all Malaysians in mind must be established.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
We need to find a way to be more responsive to the rakyat’s needs. We can do more to provide an environment where the media reports the news as they see it without fear of consequence.
We can be better listeners. In a parliamentary democracy, the peoples’ will reigns supreme. Public officers must remember that we are not leaders but servants.
Our people need to be better represented by capable MPs. It is not about what you have done in the past. It is about what you can do for the people today and in the future that matters in a parliamentary democracy.
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
The Malaysian parliamentary system generally follows the principles of the British Westminster system, while retaining distinctive characteristics in application.
The constitution embodies the principle of the separation of powers, and I support our constitution.
For other MP responses, see Full MP list