20
Dec
15

NSC Bill must be withdrawn – International Federation for Human Rights

NSC Bill must be withdrawn – International Federation for Human Rights

The Malaysian government must immediately withdraw the draft National Security Council (NSC) Bill, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) said today.

If adopted in its current form, the proposed legislation would grant government authorities sweeping and unchecked powers to commit human rights violations with total impunity.

“Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, the Malaysian government is pushing for the adoption of an alarming law that imposes unacceptable restrictions on civil and political rights.

“The government must immediately withdraw the NSC Bill and ensure that future legislation complies with international standards and is drafted in a transparent, inclusive, and participatory manner,” said FIDH president Karim Lahidji.

The NSC Bill, hastily introduced in Parliament by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim on December 1, was approved by the Dewan Rakyat on December 3 by a 107-74 vote at the third and final reading after a six-hour debate.

Dewan Negara, controlled by the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN), is expected to discuss the bill in the current meeting, which runs until December 22. If passed, the bill will be submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for approval.

The NSC Bill establishes the National Security Council (NSC), a central authority responsible for the oversight of matters concerning “national security” – a concept that the bill fails to define.

The eight-member council, headed by the prime minister, also includes the deputy prime minister, the defence minister, the home minister, the communication and multimedia minister, the chief secretary to the government, the chief of defence forces and the inspector-general of police.

Article 18 of the draft bill authorises the prime minister to declare a “security area” in any area of the country that the NSC considers “is seriously disturbed or threatened by any person, matter or thing which causes or is likely to cause serious harm to the people”.

The declaration of a security area is initially valid for a period of up to six months and may be renewed indefinitely in six-month extensions. The declaration of security areas – and its subsequent extensions – must be approved by both houses of Parliament.

In designated “security areas”, Article 25 of the draft bill gives members of the security forces the power to arrest “any person found committing, alleged to have committed or reasonably suspected of having committed any offence under any written laws” without a warrant.

Similarly, Article 26 gives members of the security forces the power to stop and search individuals and search premises without warrant.

The overly broad criteria that form the basis for the designation of a “security area” make the law subject to abuses in the form of arbitrary arrests and detentions, arbitrary searches and seizures, and restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly.

The draft bill does not contain any provisions to protect the rights of individuals arrested under Article 25, such as the right to be promptly informed of the charges, the right to a lawyer and the right to be brought before a judge.

…more
NSC Bill must be withdrawn – International Federation for Human Rights
18 December 2015 – TMI

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