Take NSC Bill back to Parliament for fine-tuning, Putrajaya urged after royal advice

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Source: The Malay Mail Online

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — Putrajaya should seek the formation of a new parliamentary select committee (PSC) to look into yesterday’s call by the Conference of Rulers to refine certain provisions in the National Security Council Bill 2015, Bersih 2.0 said.

The polls watchdog’s chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said the call by the royal council mirrors concerns raised by many Malaysians over the vagueness of the law.

She added that a more thorough consultative process should be conducted in Parliament before more decisions are made regarding the law.

“I believe that what the rulers have said should be taken as advice and for the government to take heed and take action.

“They have given good advice. It’s not for the rulers to be directly involved in law-making but it’s now the role and responsibility of the government to do the right thing to correct a bad law that they have bulldozed in Parliament,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

“I would suggest that a parliamentary select committee be set up to review all areas of the NSC so that a much more informed decision can be made,” she added.

Bersih 2.0’s concerns, Chin said, was on the ambiguity of the Bill’s definition of a security situation, as well as the expansive powers it gives to the prime minister and the National Security Council (NSC).

The activist said this could lead to potential abuses by those in power.

Yesterday, the Conference of Rulers said that some provisions of the National Security Council Bill 2015 should be refined.

The Sultan of Selangor, as chairman of the meeting, will write to the prime minister on the matter, said the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, in a statement.

The Bill was passed by the Dewan Rakyat last December 3 despite fierce resistance from members of the opposition.

The Bill also cleared Parliament’s Upper House on December 22 unchanged, after a two-day debate despite questions from BN senators on the constitutionality of the proposed law.

The senators were reported to have voiced concern over the wide-ranging powers the Bill gives to those in charge of areas identified as security zones, and those empowered to relocate persons in the area the right to acquire land and property, said to contravene Articles 9 and 13 of the Federal Constitution on freedom of movement and right to property.

According to the Bill, the NSC’s jurisdiction 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 over 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”.

The Bill also seeks to empower security forces to arrest without warrant and take action against those who do not abide by an evacuation order from a security area, and also carry out searches of any vehicle or premise within the security area without a warrant.