Thousands petition Dewan Negara to reject security bill

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Source: The Malaysian Insider

A petition urging the Dewan Negara to reject the National Security Council (NSC) Bill 2015 has garnered over 21,500 supporters since it was launched at the change.org website on December 5.

The petition, posted by “Rakyat Malaysia”, urged senators to reject the bill as it would have a “drastically negative impact on the democracy and peace of our nation”.

Tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on December 1, the bill was passed on the last day of the lower house’s sitting on December 3, after some six hours of debate.

The bill allows a council headed by the prime minister to declare a security area and order arrests, searches and property seizures in that area without a warrant.

Critics said it would grant the prime minister “emergency-like powers” when such authority was with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong as stipulated in the Federal Constitution.

In a petition update on the change.org website three days ago, Rakyat Malaysia posted a thank you note to signatories and reminded people that Dewan Negara would start discussing the bill this week.

Urging more to sign the petition, the update also said, “We must not lose out momentum as the days go past, and we must continue our efforts in sharing information and spreading news about how much harm NSC2015 can do.”

The update also said there had been other efforts to lobby the senators through letter-writing and urged people to take action.

Those to object to the National Security Council Bill 2015 can use a draft letter on Amnesty International to send to the senators.Those to object to the National Security Council Bill 2015 can use a draft letter on Amnesty International to send to the senators.“We wish to highlight an effort by a user named Laych K Koh, who has drafted a formal email, originally written by Amnesty International, which you can send to the senators personally via your own email or through letters.

“There is no rule saying you cannot participate in more than one petition, especially if it is working to the same goal.

“We encourage all signatories, new and old, to send these emails and letters out, to as many senators as possible,” the update said.

Rights and civil society groups, including Amnesty International Malaysia, Lawyers for Liberty, Suara Rakyat Malaysia and the National Human Rights Society, have also united to start the #TakNakDiktator campaign against the bill.

At the change.org site, supporters of the petition to the Dewan Negara senators also penned their thoughts on the legislation.

Mah Li of Kuala Lumpur said, “I am signing this petition as I am against too much discretionary powers in one person, the PM, and the unclear definition of what constitutes a threat to national security”.

Another supporter, Shahanna Mohd Shahruddin wrote: “It is open to abuse by the executive powers for political purposes rather than security”.

Adzrul Syafiq Adzhar had this to say: The power of the people is greater than the people in power.”

Activists had said the bill was “more about power than about security”.

Universiti Selangor law lecturer Abdul Aziz Bari had said the bill removed checks and balances and allowed the prime minister to sideline the Cabinet.

And unlike the Federal Constitution’s provision requiring any declaration of an emergency to be approved by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, the NSC bill does not require his consent for an area to be declared a security area.

Aziz had also outlined at least three lines of defence to prevent the bill from becoming law.

First would be Dewan Negara, followed by the Agong who could refuse to give assent to the bill. Should the Agong decline to sign the bill, thus triggering a constitutional crisis, the matter could be taken to the Federal Court, he said. – December 14, 2015.