MD Interview: From Curduroy Pants to Three-piece Suits
MD: I noticed that some MPs and Ministers have bodyguards surrounding them. Some have two, some have four and its quite difficult to approach them with all these bodyguards protecting them. Being an outspoken MP yourself, how do you feel about this trend of hiring bodyguards?
Khalid Samad: I suppose when you are in that position you must have some form of security that you have to ensure for yourself and maybe it’s based from previous experiences. Being in politics you will always have people disagreeing with you. In my case when the ‘cow head’ demonstration was highly debated, there were threats on my own personal security when they say that if I come to section 23 in Shah Alam I will regret it.
I suppose there are some reasons for them to practice it. Maybe they have political enemies that they have made along the way. In my personal opinion, it is not a healthy situation when it will prevent the common man from approaching any particular Minister and MP. Personal security, for various reasons, may become a necessity and each MP and Minister has to consider his or her position on their own basis. Personally, for me it’s a situation that I would like to avoid.
MD: As a PAS member and the MP of Shah Alam, what is your general opinion on arts?
KS: Generally there is no blanket opposition to the question of arts. But obviously there’s a certain level of ethics and decorum that must be maintained from the Islamic point of view. Obviously we don’t see the necessity for nudity or semi-nudity; we don’t see the necessity for unbridled emotion and passion. But if it’s the question of bringing or sending a message through the storyline in the drama, it comes with positive values and it shows the way injustices are condoned in certain societies and the need to stand up to injustice. These are positive values that can be supported.
The final analysis is that the arts will reflect morality and the social consciousness within the society. So we shouldn’t try to enforce a certain kind of attitude and values that are contrary to the attitude and values of the society in question. We should try to convince the people of a certain standard of moral and ethics. By doing so you will influence the arts to some extent.
MD: I noticed that you are quite a fashionable man, with your three-piece suit and all. How do you view men’s fashion?
KS: Actually you must try to understand that at one time, one of the BN MPs highlighted to the Speaker that I was wearing jeans to the parliament when actually I was wearing corduroy pants and jacket. My daughter who is in the UK heard about it. So when I came to visit her and her family, she brought me to a tailor there and bought me four sets of suits, two three-piece suits and two single-breasted three-button suits. It’s not something that I am personally into but because my daughter bought me all these suits and insist on me wearing it.
Personally I think men should dress as smartly as possible within their limits without going overboard. I don’t believe in buying suits and shoes that cost thousands of ringgits. I believe in moderation.
MD: I understand that you have a keen interest in history. So is there any particular historical event that inspires you in your political career?
KS: Obviously as a Muslim, the struggle of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. and history of other great political leaders and the movement of the Al Ikhwan Al Muslimin and Hassan Al-Banna who was the inspiration for a lot of Muslims to take up the effort of Islamic revivalism. I also like to watch films about figures like Umar Mukhtar and films about even non-Muslims who fought for justice. The film Kingdom of Heaven was quite inspiring. To see Salahuddin Al-Ayubi’s stand on the Crusaders. I think there are enough historical factors and personalities to inspire you to become better human beings.
MD: Final question, as the MP of Shah Alam, what is your approach to social problems in your constituency?
KS: I believe in educating and giving information to the public with a tinge of enforcement. But the emphasis must be on educating. What we are trying to do is to present to the younger generation, particularly the teenagers and those studying in universities, that you can have fantastic role models in history and current time. People who have been able to achieve a lot of things by having a very moderate lifestyle and holding on to their principles. They never have the need to rush into a semi hedonistic kind of lifestyle in order to enjoy life to the fullest.
Another important thing is that one shouldn’t look upon Islam as something which is restrictive. Islam is more to inspire a person to be as good as he can be. Having said that, we need to have more interaction with the students and have more activities that can enlighten them without being too restrictive.