Why the NSC Bill is disturbing

Why the NSC Bill is disturbing – Thulsi Manogaran

The National Security Council Bill 2015 was passed by the Senate yesterday. As a young Malaysian, I am disturbed by the way laws are made in our country.

The bill was first presented in Dewan Rakyat on December 1, 2015. This meant that all Parliamentarians first saw the bill on that Tuesday.

To provide an idea, the bill is 33 pages long, contains 44 Clauses and carries serious implications. It was then debated on December 3 for only half a day and passed on the same day.

The way in which laws are made in Malaysia is fundamentally wrong. Just because a bill is debated in Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, it does not mean that democracy is flourishing.

If the finer elements of democracy are not practiced then the debates in these Houses carry no meaning at all to ordinary citizens like me. Effective democracy entails proper debate as well as procedure.

If proper debate is to be effected, Parliamentarians need more time to deliberate on the bills especially one with such dire consequences.

Another important element of democracy is engagement with civil society and public participation in decision making. Can I raise this question to members of the Dewan Negara?

Did you know that more than 22,000 Malaysians have signed a petition against the passing of this bill? Did it not occur to you YB, to investigate in detail why they were signing the petition?

When civil society organisations realised the mishaps in the bill, they attempted to approach members of both houses. The #TakNakDiktator team lobbied at Parliament in the hopes of expressing their concern to MPs.

When Parliament passed the bill without meaningful debate, civil society organisations and the public at large turned to the Senate. The call was for Senate to come to live and oppose the bill for the welfare of the people. So an email was sent to all senators to invite them for a briefing.

However, senator Noriah Mamat called this group as “irrelevant people” when she was clearly annoyed that they were lobbying at Parliament. Shahanim Mohd Yusof raised this issue rather angrily in Senate yesterday.

She questioned how did civil society organisations obtained email addresses of senators. She said, “saya menerima email yang berunsur fitnah dan hasut, siapa yang meyebarkan email dan alamat harus diambil tindakan tegas terhadapnya”.

Senator Khairuddin Abdul Samad termed the NGOs as “Minioriti Jahat”. I quote him verbatim from the Senate yesterday, “Dari mana mereka dapat email kita semua siap dengan alamat , saya takut mereka akan serang rumah saya”.

Dear senators, why should you feel threatened and exposed when you receive emails from members of the public?

Yang Berhormat, did you not realise that your official emails are provided to the public and is displayed on Parliament’s website?

Why the NSC Bill is disturbing – Thulsi Manogaran
23 December 2015 – TMI


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