Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Like it or not, the National Security Council Act 2016 will come into force on August 1 2016

Despite the lack of royal assent from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and calls from the Conference of Rulers for the law to be referred back to the legislature for amendments, the BN-led government has decided to go ahead with gazetting the National Security Council Act 2016 into law, which will come into force on Aug 1.

"In exercise of the powers conferred by subsection 1(2) of the National Security Council Act 2016 (Act 776), the prime minister appoints Aug 1, 2016 as the date on which the Act comes into operation," read the notice on the Federal Gazette displayed on the Attorney-General's Chambers' website.

The notice was signed by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is credited with being the architect of the act.

From Aug 1, Najib as prime minister can declare any area he so chooses as a security area which will suspend civil liberties and allow for special police powers to be administered by the NSC that he appoints.

The administrator and security forces in charge of a security area will also be given wide powers which cannot be legally challenged or questioned, a move that critics say belie Malaysia's status as a democratic country.

All these powers can be exercised without having to consult the Agong, who previously held the sole authority to declare national or state emergencies.

Critics worry that the wide powers granted to Najib may be abused for purposes other than security matters.

Besides, the prime minister may now bypass the Agong on this very grave matter.

Historically, the BN has been accused of abusing even emergency declarations with the Agong's assent, like in Kelantan, Sarawak and Sabah, all of which have been accused of having links to political machinations.

Critics are concerned that if abuses occurred even with royal safeguards in place, worse things could happen if the BN and Najib have free reign.

However, Najib and his government have maintained that the act is only to be used in actual security situations like the Lahad Datu incursion or in the event of terror incidents, denying accusations that it is to beef up federal powers.

[Source: Mkini]

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