NSC Amendment Bill leaves intact the most draconian provisions of the NSC Act 2016 & is an inexcusable betrayal

9 April 2019


We refer to the National Security Council Amendment Bill 2019 which was tabled in Parliament for 1st Reading today.


The government’s move to table this amendment is in direct violation of the PH Manifesto promise that the NSC Act would be abolished. In 2016, the PH presidential council had even called it a ‘ quantum leap towards a dictatorship and a military-police state’. There can be no acceptable excuse to backtrack upon such an important promise involving the fundamental liberties of the rakyat.


Secondly, the NSC Act 2016 cannot be saved by amendments. The Act is unconstitutional and invalid as law. This is because it was brought into force by the BN regime without receiving the Royal Assent pursuant to the amended Article 66(4) of the Federal Constitution. The requirement of Royal Assent is part of the basic structure of the Constitution and any law such as the NSC Act which was enforced without the Royal Assent is unconstitutional.


Thirdly, the amending Bill leaves intact the most draconian and dangerous provisions in the NSC Act 2016. These are the very provisions that PH leaders vigorously protested against in parliament when the BN tabled the NSC Act in 2016.


These oppressive provisions include the power to dispense with inquests in ‘security areas’, which is tantamount to giving security forces unchecked power to commit unlawful killings.


Other drastic provisions allow the authorities to declare any place a security area, use deadly force, impose curfews, conduct search and seizure without warrant and seize or destroy private property.


Many of these extreme powers are similar to those that were once available under Part III of the much-reviled ISA 1960.


Having loudly complained about these powers, why is PH and its leaders leaving them untouched under this new amending bill? It is an act of inexcusable betrayal.


We call upon the PH government to stand by their own oft-repeated pledges and campaign promises, by withdrawing the amendment Bill which was tabled today and instead repealing the NSC Act 2016 in its entirety.


Issued by,

N Surendran


Lawyers for Liberty