New security law debuts as PM fights critics

Source: Gulf Digital News Online

Kuala Lumpur (AFP): Tough new security legislation came into force Monday in Malaysia, with critics saying the “draconian” law threatens democracy and could be used against opponents of the scandal-tainted premier.

The National Security Council Act was pushed through parliament in December by the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has faced calls to resign for more than a year over an huge alleged corruption scandal.

The legislation gives the government power to declare virtual martial law in areas deemed to be under “security threat”.

Critics accused Najib and his government of enacting the law, and other tough recent legislation, to ward off political and legal challenges.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan - The Star Online file pic

Wan Saiful Wan Jan – The Star Online file pic

“The law will definitly put fear in people planning to participate in street protests,” said Wan Saiful Wan Jan, head of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, a Malaysian think tank.

“The public perception in terms of the timing of the draconian law is that Najib wants the law in order to stay in office.”

The legislation allows a National Security Council headed by the prime minister to essentially suspend civil liberties in designated “security areas”, giving security forces sweeping powers of search, seizure and arrest. Read more

National Security Council Act gives authorities unchecked and abusive powers

Source: Amnesty International

NSC-mkini

The National Security Council Act that comes into force today empowers the Malaysian authorities to trample over human rights and act with impunity, Amnesty International said today.

“With this new law, the government now has spurned checks and assumed potentially abusive powers,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

The new law will grant the Malaysian authorities the power to carry out warrantless arrests, search and seize property, and impose curfews at will.

One provision, Section 18, allows the Prime Minister to arbitrarily designate any area in the country a “security area,” if he deems it a potential source of “harm.” Read more

UN rights body ‘gravely concerned’ by new Malaysian security law that grants govt search, seizure powers

Source: The Straits Times

The UN human rights body said it was “gravely concerned” by a new Malaysian security law that grants the government extraordinary emergency powers. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – The United Nations’ human rights body said on Friday (July 29)it was “gravely concerned” by a new Malaysian security law coming into force next week that grants the government extraordinary emergency powers.

“We are gravely concerned that… the act may encourage human rights violations,” Mr Laurent Meillan, acting head of the UN Human Rights Office for South-east Asia, said in a statement. He also expressed concern that the act could lead to “unjust restrictions” on free speech and assembly.

“We call on the government to revise the act to bring it in line with international human rights norms and standards,” he said.

The government rammed the National Security Council Act through Parliament last December, giving it powers to declare virtual martial law in areas of the country determined to be under security threat.

But critics of Prime Minister Najib Razak say he enacted the law as ammunition against any moves to oust him over a huge financial scandal.

The law, which comes into force next Monday (Aug 1), allows a National Security Council headed by the prime minister to suspend civil liberties in certain areas, giving government forces sweeping powers of search, seizure and arrest. Read more

The Guardian view on Malaysian politics: a scandal meriting the world’s attention

Source: The Guardian

Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak. ‘Even his erstwhile patron, former premier Mahathir Mohamad, has joined forces with the opposition in an attempt to oust him.’ Photograph: Reuters

Malaysia’s new security law, due to come into force on Monday, would be alarming at any time. Its sweeping powers permit authorities to declare national security areas which are off-limits to protests, where individuals and premises can be searched without a warrant, and where killings by security forces need not result in formal inquests. Changes to the country’s criminal code, undermining the rights of suspects, are similarly concerning. Human rights groups warn that existing laws, including the colonial-era Sedition Act – which Prime Minister Najib Razak once vowed to repeal – have been used to detain and muzzle critics. The country’s police chief recently warned that protests by electoral reform group Bersih would be permitted only if participants avoided calling for Mr Najib’s resignation.

The government says the National Security Council Act is needed to protect the public from a mounting global terrorism threat. It is striking, however, that it becomes law as the prime minister faces growing pressure and planned protests over the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB development fund scandal, which has snowballed since emerging a year ago. Even his erstwhile patron, former premier Mahathir Mohamad, has joined forces with the opposition in an attempt to oust him. Read more

LFL urges Putrajaya to put NSC Act on hold

Source: FMT

 

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has expressed shock that the controversial NSC Act has been gazetted to come into force on 1 August 2016 despite very serious concerns raised by stakeholders. Pic taken from FMT News.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has expressed shock that the controversial NSC Act has been gazetted to come into force on 1 August 2016 despite very serious concerns raised by stakeholders. Pic taken from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has strongly urged the government to suspend the National Security Council Act (NSC) and to consult all stakeholders regarding the many concerns that have been raised.

“We further call for substantial amendments to be made to the NSC Act, so that national security is genuinely balanced with constitutional, democratic and human rights concerns, and institutional checks and balances,” said LFL Executive Director Eric Paulsen in a statement.

LFL expressed shock that the controversial NSC Act has been gazetted to come into force on 1 August 2016 despite very serious concerns raised by stakeholders — civil society, lawyers, elected representatives — and even the Conference of Rulers which had called for certain provisions of the Act to be “refined”. The Act also failed to acquire the Agong’s Assent and was deemed to be passed by Parliament.

If comparisons were drawn between the now abolished provisions of Part III on the Special Provisions Relating To Security Areas of the Internal Security Act 1960, and Part IV on the Declaration of Security Area of the NSC Act, said Paulsen, “they bear such a striking similarity that we can only deduce that the NSC Act was enacted to replace Part III of the ISA”.

More importantly, he said, the powers to invoke the special provisions relating to “security areas” have been shifted from the Agong under the ISA to the Prime Minister under the NSC Act. Therefore, he continued, it’s clear that the Prime Minister under the NSC Act has effectively usurped the powers of the Agong under the ISA (abolished) to declare “security areas”. Read more

National Security Council (NSC) Act to take effect on August 1

Source: The Malay Mail Online

NSC_Act_2016KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — The controversial National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016 that allows the government to hold emergency powers is set to be in force on August 1 this year.

The date was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a federal gazette dated June 24 that was published on the e-Federal Gazette site on July 14.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by subsection 1(2) of the National Security Council Act 2016 (Act 776), the prime minister appoints 1 August 2016 as the date on which the Act comes into operation,” said Najib, referring to Section 1(2) that states that the Act will come into operation on a date set by the prime minister.

The NSC Act did not receive express royal assent and was gazetted without amendments despite the Conference of Rulers saying last February that some of the provisions should be refined.

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. Read more

The NSC Act will soon come into force — Syahredzan Johan

Source: The Star Online

BY SYAHREDZAN JOHAN

Source: Mkini

Source: Mkini

The much criticised National Security Council (NSC) Act will come into force on Aug 1 2016.

The NSC bill was previously passed by the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara.

In the normal process, after a bill is passed by Parliament it will then be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for royal assent. This is according to the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

The bill must receive royal assent within 30 days from the date of its presentation to the King.

In most instances, bills would receive royal assent within the 30 days.

However, the NSC bill was extraordinary in that it became law without express royal assent. This has never happened before.

Of course, according to the Federal Constitution if a bill does not receive royal assent within the 30 days, the bill will automatically become law.

But the very fact royal assent was not expressly given for the bill raises certain questions. Read more

Is the National Security Act ominously close? — Adrian Lim Chee En

Source: FMT

BY ADRIAN LIM CHEE EN

Student group Challenger urges the government to restore the country's sense of security without jeopardising the fundamental civil liberties of Malaysians.  Pic taken from FMT News

Student group Challenger urges the government to restore the country’s sense of security without jeopardising the fundamental civil liberties of Malaysians. Pic taken from FMT News

On June 21, land rights activist and candidate in the Sarawak State election Bill Kayong was shot dead in Miri. The police have since claimed the case solved following the recovery of the murder weapon, despite protests claiming his death was politically motivated.

A week later on June 28, eight were injured after a grenade was thrown into a pub in Puchong. The cops have since announced the incident as the first Islamic State attack on Malaysian soil.

The very next day, another man was shot five times in an attempted murder along the KL-Seremban Highway.

On July 4, a woman and three others escaped unharmed after a gunman fired 12 bullets at her house at Taman Bukit Desa, Kuala Lumpur.

On the first day of Raya, a shooting incident took place at OUG where a businesswoman was shot dead and her daughter, critically injured.

The very same evening, two were killed and another, seriously wounded after a machete attack at Solaris Dutamas.

Yesterday, three Indonesian nationals were kidnapped off the coast of Lahad Datu.

Besides the fear for security and safety, what is also highly alarming to human rights advocates and activists is the possibility of these incidents being potentially exploited as a reason to exercise powers as outlined in the National Security Council Act. Read more

Jadi akta tanpa perkenan Agong — Syahredzan Johan

Sumber: Sinar Harian

OLEH SYAHREDZAN JOHAN

NSC_Act_2016Suatu Rang Undang-undang (RUU) telah pun diluluskan oleh Dewan Rakyat dan Dewan Negara sebelum ini yang dikenali sebagai RUU Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN).

Mengikut proses biasa, suatu RUU selepas diluluskan oleh Parlimen akan dikemukakan kepada Yang di-Pertuan Agong untuk diperkenankan. Ini menurut Perkara 66 Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

RUU tersebut harus mendapat perkenan Yang di-Pertuan Agong dalam masa 30 hari dari tarikh ia dikemukakan. Tetapi, RUU MKN ini adalah luar biasa kerana ia menjadi akta walaupun tanpa perkenan Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Ini tidak pernah berlaku sebelum ini.

Menurut Perkara 66(4A) Perlembagaan Persekutuan, jika sesuatu RUU tidak diperkenankan oleh YDPA dalam masa 30 hari dari tarikh RUU tersebut dikemukakan, maka RUU seolah-olah diperkenankan oleh YDPA dan menjadi akta, secara ‘automatik’.

Ini boleh ditafsirkan bahawa YDPA tidak bersetuju dengan Akta MKN ini. Malahan, Majlis Raja-Raja sebelum ini menyatakan bahawa beberapa peruntukan dalam RUU tersebut harus diperhalusi.

Selepas Majlis Raja-Raja membuat pengumuman sedemikian, Peguam Negara sendiri menyatakan bahawa beberapa peruntukan RUU MKN ini akan dikaji semula. Namun, seperti yang disahkan oleh peguam negara sendiri melalui laporan media, tidak ada pindaan yang dibuat kepada RUU MKN yang menjadi akta ini.

Kita tidak tahu apakah sebab YDPA dan Majlis Raja-Raja berbuat sedemikian. Tetapi apa yang kita tahu, banyak pihak telah mengkritik undang-undang ini. Read more

A precedent but no blanket pass — Shad Saleem Faruqi

Source: The Star

BY SHAD SALEEM FARUQI

Article 66 (4A) permits the King to be bypassed but cannot apply to other institutions and agencies with constitutional role in law-making.

FOR the first time in the history of our Constitution, a Bill became law without the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. This was when the National Security Council Act 2016 (NSC Act), passed by the two Houses last December, was gazetted on June 7 without royal assent.

This draws attention to the complex constitutional procedures for enacting laws and specifically to Article 66 (4A), which permits the Government to bypass the King.

Bypassing the King: Under Article, 44 Parliament consists of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara. In normal circumstances, royal assent is needed for a Bill to become law.

However, in the event that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong refuses or delays assent, Article 66 (4A) provides that the Bill shall become law 30 days after it is presented to the King.

Chequered history: The Merdeka Constitution imposed no time limit for signifying royal assent but in August 1983, a Constitution Amendment Bill sought to insert a new Clause to provide that “if for any reason whatsoever the Bill is not assented to within 15 days of the Bill being presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, he shall be deemed to have assented to the Bill and the Bill shall accordingly become law”. Read more