2 December 2015
Lawyers for Liberty is extremely shocked and concerned with the National Security Council Bill 2015 which was only revealed to members of Parliament yesterday despite its manifest importance. Unfortunately, like many other government bills, it leaves very little room and time for meaningful debates.
It is all the more shocking since this very serious Bill with wide ranging repercussions was done surreptitiously, without any basis, publicity or consultation with opposition members of Parliament, civil society and members of the public. In the past, various extraordinary measures were taken due to insurrection, civil unrest or terrorism, however the government has failed to justify the Bill.
This Bill, if passed, is the most serious assault on the nation’s democracy, fundamental liberties and rule of law as it will essentially exercise similar powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution to proclaim emergency.
The Bill will allow the NSC, headed by the Prime Minister to exercise similar emergency powers – on the use of violence and deadly force, of arrest, detention, search and seizure, order of curfew, control of movement, taking possession of land and property etc.
However, no one can be held accountable and the NSC, its committees, personnel and security forces have legal immunity from any criminal and civil proceedings and even to the extent of dispensing with holding of an inquest upon death of a person.
The Bill is extremely vague, arbitrary and wide, and further obliges secrecy – a sure fire recipe for abuse of power and human rights. Far from establishing matters concerning national security, the Bill is more akin to establishing a dictatorship rule.
Serious questions must surely be asked, with Prime Minister Najib Razak already exercising an inordinate amount of power through the Prime Minister’s Department, his Cabinet and Ministries, and at a time when anti-terrorism laws such as POTA and SOSMA are already in force, why is he seeking to widen the ambit of his executive power?
The Bill is clearly unconstitutional, a grave abuse of power and absolutely unnecessary, especially since Malaysia is living in peace time with no threats of subversion, insurrection or civil unrest.
We call upon the government to withdraw the Bill immediately.
Lawyers for Liberty
Latest on Bill: on December 4th, 2015 the Bill was passe with much haste by the BN Parliamentarian.