11
Jan
16

We’re turning back human rights clock if NSC Bill becomes law, says Hasmy

Putrajaya will be turning back the country’s “human rights clock” if the National Security Council Bill becomes law, outgoing Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam says.

In an interview before the end of his tenure in April, Hasmy said the state of human rights in the past five years has not changed, as positive strides such as repealing the Internal Security Act, (ISA) were subsequently nullified by enacting newer laws that choked civil liberties.

Hasmy’s comments cap a dark year for the state of Malaysia’s human rights as Putrajaya strengthened laws which further stifled free speech and authorities expanded crackdowns against critics of the Najib administration.

“As for now, I’m afraid we are not making much progress. While there were some positive developments, such as the removal of ISA, there have also been developments that are putting back the human rights clock.

“(These include) the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA) and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma), along with the continuation of the Sedition Act (now strengthened) and the passage of the NSC Bill.

“If the bill becomes law, it will put us as a nation even further back when the rest of the world is moving forward in the context of human rights and good governance,” Hasmy told The Malaysian Insider.

The NSC Bill, which was bulldozed through the Dewan Rakyat and passed by the Dewan Negara, allows the council chaired by the prime minister to declare security zones.

This power has been described by civil society as “emergency-like powers” and contravened the Federal Constitution, since only the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the power to declare an emergency.

Critics say the security bill gives unfettered powers to a sitting prime minister without the need to get a royal consent during national crises.

The council can also authorise searches, seizures of property and arrests in security areas without warrants.

…more
We’re turning back human rights clock if NSC Bill becomes law, says Hasmy
3 January 2016 – TMI

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