Thursday, March 3, 2016

Refine NSC bill to protect Malaysia from dictators, says group

A group of civil societies has urged Putajaya to honour the suggestion from the Conference of Rulers that the controversial National Security Council (NSC) Bill 2015 be "refined". Spokesman for the #TakNakDiktator campaign coalition Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said it was feared that the NSC Bill in the current form gave powers of military command to a civilian such as the prime minister. "It violates the separation of powers set forth in the Federal Constitution," she said in a statement. Ambiga, a civil lawyer, said the constitution recognised only the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong as the 'supreme commander' of Malaysia's armed forces. She said the constitution also provided for the Armed Forces Council which operated under the authority of the king and that he had the power to proclaim an emergency which enabled operational use of the armed forces. "By granting powers of military command to the prime minister, the NSC Bill will erode the Rulers' stewardship of the armed forces. "It puts far too much power in the hands of one individual, and undermines the separation of powers that prevents parliamentary democracy from being a dictatorship," she added. The Bill was passed by both houses of parliament in December but the king has yet to give his royal assent. Ambiga said the coalition welcomed the prudence of the Conference of Rulers to uphold the separation of powers. "The defence of democracy requires constant vigilance. We call on all Malaysians protect it from those who would destroy it," she said. The Dewan Rakyat will begin its session next week. – March 3, 2016]]>

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