The #TakNakDiktator campaign coalition today reminded the government to honour the Conference of Rulers’ call for the National Security Council (NSC) bill to be refined.
Their statement comes ahead of the next Parliament session which begins on Monday.
Speaking on behalf of the group, former Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan also thanked the Malay rulers for not signing off on the bill as yet.
“We note that according to the federal gazette, the Yang Di Pertuan Agong has not yet given his royal assent to the NSC Bill even though it has been over two months since the bill was passed by the Dewan Negara.
“We welcome the prudence of the Conference of Rulers to uphold the separation of powers that is essential to preserving democracy in Malaysia,” she said in a statement today.
On Feb 17, Bernama reported that the Conference of Rulers had sent the NSC back to the attorney-general’s chambers for refinement.
Attorney-General Apandi Ali said he would review some sections of the bill while Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said he took note of the rulers suggestion.
Any changes to the bill, which was passed by Parliament on Dec 22, would mean that it would need to be re-tabled in the House, laywer Syahredzan Johan told Malaysiakini.
Among others, the NSC bill allows the chairperson of the National Security Council to declare an area a security zone and impose emergency-like conditions in that area due to security reasons, which he can decide upon.
The NSC chairperson is the prime minister.
Najib earlier defended the NSC as a much-needed step to face the rising threat of terrorism.
NSC BILL SHOULD BE REFINED TO PROTECT MALAYSIA FROM DICTATORSHIP
3 March 2016
Ahead of the first Parliament session of 2016, we call upon the government to honour the recommendation from the Conference of Rulers that the controversial National Security Council (NSC) Bill 2015 should be “refined”.
The #TakNakDiktator campaign and others fear that the NSC Bill as currently written grants powers of military command to a civilian such as the Prime Minister because it violates the separation of powers set forth in the Federal Constitution.
The Federal Constitution recognizes only the D.Y.M.M. Yang Di-Pertuan Agong as the “Supreme Commander” of Malaysia’s armed forces (Article 41). Article 137 of the Constitution also provides for Armed Forces Council which operates under the authority of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong. Furthermore, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong has the power to proclaim an emergency under Article 150, which enables operational use of the armed forces.
By granting powers of military command to the Prime Minister, the NSC Bill would erode the Rulers’ stewardship of the armed forces. It puts far too many powers in the hands of one individual, and by doing so, undermines the separation of powers that prevents parliamentary democracy from being a dictatorship.
We note that according to the Federal Gazette, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong has not yet given his royal assent to the NSC Bill, even though it has been over two months since the Bill passed through the Dewan Negara.
We welcome the prudence of the Conference of Rulers to uphold the separation of powers that are essential to preserving democracy in Malaysia. In order to assist in this effort we attach to this statement our memorandum to the Senators of the Dewan Negara which lists the clauses of the NSC Bill that should be refined.
The defence of democracy requires constant vigilance. We call on all Malaysians protect it from those who would destroy it.
On behalf of the #TakNakDiktator campaign coalition,
1. Amnesty International Malaysia
3. Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4)
4. National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)
5. Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (IKRAM)
6. Institut Rakyat
7. Lawyers for Liberty
8. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Malaysia (PROHAM)
9. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)