NSC Act a leap to dictatorship

NSC Act a leap to dictatorship, groups say

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — Human rights groups criticised today the gazetting of the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016 that they said would lead to a “dictatorship” and a “military police state”.

The #TakNakDiktator coalition, which represents nine groups, also questioned why the government ignored the concerns raised by the Conference of Rulers, especially since the law directly impinged on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s powers, by gazetting the NSC Act as law on Tuesday without express royal assent.

“The NSC law represents a leap towards a dictatorship and a military police state with little or no safeguards,” said #TakNakDiktator coalition spokesman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan in a statement.

“The NSC law represents an extremely dangerous step for Malaysia as it concentrates extraordinary powers in the PM and the NSC. No person or entity should have such absolute and unfettered powers. Concentration of power leads to abuse, particularly in times of political crisis,” she added.

The NSC Act 2016, which grants the government emergency powers, was gazetted under Article 66(4A) of the Federal Constitution which states that a Bill will automatically become law and will be considered to have received assent from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, even if he does not expressly give his approval within 30 days after it has been presented to him.

Ambiga said the NSC Act was “clearly unconstitutional” and a “grave abuse of power”.

“Malaysia does not need such a law which goes against all principles of democracy and undermines the rule of law in the country.

“In this exercise, this government has behaved as if they are accountable to no-one, neither the Rulers nor the people. The fact that there were no amendments to the Bill is proof of this. If this is not a dictatorship, then what is?” said the former Malaysian Bar president.

The #TakNakDiktator coalition comprises Amnesty International Malaysia, Bersih, the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), the National Human Rights Society (Hakam), Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram), Institut Rakyat, Lawyers for Liberty, Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Malaysia (Proham) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

The NSC Act proposes to allow the National Security Council — which would be chaired by the prime minister — to take command of the country’s security forces and impose strict policing of areas deemed to face security risks.

According to the Act, the jurisdiction of the NSC takes effect once the prime minister designates a location as a “security area” — a status that is valid for six months at a time, subject to renewal by the prime minister.

Once the NSC takes control of a security area, security forces will have the right to search or arrest without warrant any individual “found committing, alleged to have committed, or reasonably suspected of having committed any offence under written laws in the security area”.

Malaysia’s three law associations — the Malaysian Bar, the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak and the Sabah Law Association — said last January that for the government to hold emergency powers without the need to declare emergency under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, it would have usurped the authority assigned to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

NSC Act a leap to dictatorship, groups say
June 9, 2016 – MMO


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