Three of the questions were selected by readers and three others by The Nut Graph.
(Source: Wiki commons) Name: Chor Chee Heung
Constituency: Alor Star
Years as MP: Since 1990
Government position: Housing and Local Government Minister (since 1 June 2010)
Alor Star division chief
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 total abolition of ISA in this country. Having spent some time in the Ministry of Home Affairs, I am a very strong advocate of peace and security in our country, and there are still a lot of anarchists/terrorists out there hoping to topple the civil government by all ways and means.
Of course, I do support amendments to reflect the changing times and to prevent abuse. Yes, the ISA provisions do require some changes to suit today’s circumstances, including detention after scrutiny by the courts of law, etc.
Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?
The present status of Malaysia is good enough. According to the interpretation of our constitution and highest court, Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as its official religion. Loosely it can also be called an Islamic state since Islam is its official religion.
How do you define your role as an elected MP? Does Parliament provide you with the necessary infrastructure and support to fulfill your role?
The role of an MP very much depends on the makeup and structure of our society and whether our country has reached the level of development and advancement like in the West. In the advanced economies, especially in the West, the MP(s) are legislators. In developing countries like Malaysia, MPs are everything, i.e. representing a certain constituency of voters, or, in local terms, a “wakil rakyat”.
We try our level best to help our voters in our constituencies in whatever way we can, from being a legislator to [being] a good listener, to looking at clogged drains, fundraising and even helping out financially in a small measure. Our Parliament does not provide enough support and/or have adequate infrastructure to help the MPs in discharging their duties.
Would you support a Freedom of Information Act? Why or why not?
I would support a Freedom of Information Act as it would go down well with the present-day norms, and also that it would [bring] more transparency in the way things are done and revealed.
If there was one thing you could do to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Malaysia, what would it be?
To raise the importance and status of Parliament as the highest law-making institution in the country, and to vest Parliament with more authority and [ombud powers].
Do you believe in separation of powers between the government, Parliament and judiciary? Why or why not?
I definitely subscribe to the concept of separation of powers between government, Parliament and judiciary. Why? Is there a better alternative, I wonder?
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