Why are Malaysians not concerned about the NSC Act?
By Zan Azlee
I can’t believe that there just hasn’t been enough noise about the the National Security Council (NSC) 2016 Act that has just been gazetted earlier this week.
It just got through even though it did not receive Royal Assent by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong because according to the rules, it would be law after a 30 day period even without Royal Assent.
Sure, there have been NGOs, think tanks and several law associations that have voiced their opposition and concern over the the NSC.
A coalition known as #TakNakDiktator has been formed by these groups below to oppose the NSC :
- Amnesty International Malaysia
- The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4)
- The National Human Rights Society (Hakam)
- Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram)
- Institut Rakyat
- Lawyers for Liberty
- Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Malaysia (Proham)
- Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
But in general, the people of Malaysia have largely been silent over the matter. Maybe it’s because they are not aware that such a bill has been passed.
So let me give everyone the lowdown on the dreaded and sinister NSC.
This bill was passed in Parliament 3rd December 2015 and at the Dewan Negara on 22nd December. It was gazetted on 7th June 2016.
This act will see the government’s powers to deal with issues thought to be detrimental to national security increasing extensively.
The NSC will be chaired by the Prime Minister, with the Deputy Prime Minister as the deputy chair, and it will have the authority to:
- declare areas a security threat for up to six months
- search property and arrest people without warrants
- provide the police, volunteer reserve, auxiliary police, military and maritime authorities ‘special powers’
- issue curfew orders and take control of government entities
Basically, now that the bill has become law, the NSC will be the main authority when it comes to any matters related to national security.
It is definitely scary thinking that all democracy will cease if an area is declared a security threat. But I guess Malaysia has always been a big brother state.
We have had the Internal Security Act (ISA) for decades which was then abolished only to see the implementation of Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).
It is a law ‘to provide for special measures relating to security offenses for the purpose of maintaining public order and security and for connected matters’.
Then, there’s the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2015 which was passed in Parliament earlier in April 2015.
It is a law that is to ‘prevent the conduct or support for acts of violence involving terrorist organisation of a foreign country and for the control of persons affected by such act’.
What is worrying about this act is that, like the ISA, it still means that the cops have the rights to detain individuals without trial and based only on suspicion (just like SOSMA as well).
And not only that, it also does not allow any judicial review which means that no court can overturn any decisions made by the POTA authorities.
Looks like we will continue to be a big brother state for some time to come.