18
Jun
16

NSC Act 2016 in violation of the Federal Constitution

NSC Act 2016 in violation of the Federal Constitution — Puthan Perumal

JUNE 14 — Article 38(2) of the Federal Constitution authorises the Conference of Rulers to, amongst others, deliberate on questions of national policy (for example changes in immigration policy) and any other matter that it thinks fit.

Article 38(3) of the Federal Constitution states that when the conference deliberates on matters of national policy, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is accompanied by the prime minister and the rulers and governors are accompanied by their menteris besar and chief ministers, respectively.

This means that when the conference is deliberating on ‘any other matter that it thinks fit’ (as stated in Article 38(2)), they can do so on their own and in their wisdom.

The words ‘any other matter that it thinks fit’ suggest that the conference is empowered to deliberate on a myriad of circumstances which in their wisdom seems important to the country as a whole. This myriad of circumstances is never closed. In my opinion, it should definitely include a deliberation on whether a particular bill ought to be assented to or not.

Deliberate means to engage in long and careful consideration.

On Feb 17, the Conference of Rulers asked that the NSC Bill, which would give the National Security Council headed by the prime minister emergency-like powers, be refined.

However, according to the national gazette, the NSC Bill was automatically granted assent the following day, on Feb 18, under Article 66(4A) of the Federal Constitution.

According to Article 66 Clause (4A), if a Bill is not assented to by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong within 30 days, it shall become law at the expiration of the 30 days in the like manner as if the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had assented to it.

Assent could be express or implied.

Article 66 (4A), in my opinion, would seem to denote that there is an implied assent at the end of the 30 days.

Even if that is true, that argument would only be applicable if there was silence on the part of the Agong at the end of the 30 days in relation to a particular bill for which the assent was sought.

If there is an express dissent, then the machinery of implied assent can never work, for obvious reasons.

When the Conference of Rulers asks for a bill to be refined, that in my opinion is a clear dissent of that bill.

I would think that when the Conference of Rulers are voicing out, they are doing so together with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

This is because I was reminded that the Conference of Rulers on their own cannot defeat a legislation except for legislation within the purview of Article 2 (b) and Article 159 (5) of the Federal Constitution.

In the circumstances, it is my humble opinion that the NSC Act 2016 is in violation of Article 66 of the Federal Constitution, and ought to be struck down, or the NSC Bill be sent back to be reviewed.

…more
NSC Act 2016 in violation of the Federal Constitution — Puthan Perumal
June 14, 2016 – MMO

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