Dewan Negara president rejects request to postpone NSC Bill debate, says senator

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Source: The Malaysian Insider

Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali says Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang has denied a request to postpone the debate on the National Security Council (NSC) Bill. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, December 16, 2015.

An opposition representative today expressed disappointment with Senate president Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang for rejecting their request to postpone the debate on the National Security Council (NSC) Bill.

Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali said in the meeting that lasted 20 minutes, Abu Zahar also refused to meet with the coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in the #TakNakDiktator campaign.

“There was no discussion in the meeting. We only had time to convey our wish that the debate be postponed to the next Parliament session.

“But, it seems clear to us that this may not happen, although he did say that he will give a long and ample time for the debate in the Dewan Negara,” he told reporters after the meeting at the Parliament today.

However, Syed Husin admitted that with this development, the opposition’s chances to defer the debate on the bill in Dewan Negara appeared slim.

“We do not believe this bill can be blocked because often the other parties (BN) has a greater power.

“As I said before, out of 70 (seats), six are from the opposition… so it will be very difficult to beat.”

Nonetheless, he said efforts to block the NSC Bill should not just stopped at the senate level.

The opposition parties, activists, the Bar Council, and the human rights groups have previously criticised the proposed law, which according to them would give the prime minister “emergency-like power”.

The group argued that such power should only be in the hands of Yang di-Pertuan Agong as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

The #TakNakDiktator campaign against the Bill was started by rights and civil society groups, including Amnesty International Malaysia, Lawyers for Liberty, Suara Rakyat Malaysia and the National Human Rights Society.

More than 22,000 supporters have signed a petition at change.org urging the Dewan Negara to veto the bill.

There have also been individual efforts to write or email senators personally asking them to reject the bill. – December 16, 2015.