How are we to believe the BN government that the new security bill will not be used against opposition leaders, critics, dissidents and human rights activists, asks WH Cheng.
The National Security Council (NSC) Bill was recently bulldozed to be passed in Dewan Rakyat with a simple majority after the Barisan Nasional made a mad rush to push the bill through by limiting the time for review while debates were shortened.
It was a grave disappointment as elected representatives were disallowed a longer period to study and review the bill in detail before it was put to vote. What was the intention behind the BN government making such a rush to push through this controversial bill?
The passed NSC Bill will now have to go through the Dewan Negara (Senate) for another vote and later on, if voted in, will be forwarded to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for His Majesty’s endorsement.
There is no need for us to further elaborate on the details of the NSC Bill as many commentaries and opinions have been offered recently.
The conclusion of the bill has been made known to all – simple as that, the prime minister has been empowered by the bill, and it is feared that such powers will be used to deal with the increasing dissent and dissatisfaction levelled against him and his administration.
No matter what excuse the BN government is giving, it would be useless because our people are still unconvinced as to the sole purpose of this new security entity.
The prime minister promised to repeal the Sedition Act, but he retracted his promise and strengthen the act with more dreaded provisions. He promised that the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) was to deal with terrorists and potential terrorists, but he used this law to silence others unrelated to terrorism.
Besides, the Multimedia and Communications Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act and provisions of the Penal Code have also been frequently used against those who come forward calling for the resignation of the prime minister and his government.
So, how are we to believe this BN government that this new security entity will not be used against opposition leaders, critics, dissidents and human rights activists?
Empowering the powerful
The various provisions in the NSC Bill have been clearly spelled out. There are no other words that could pacify the upcoming National Security Council (NSC) because of the extensive powers and immunity it would enjoy.
This NSC is in fact a ‘military junta’ in the making. It has all the powers of police, military, judge and executioner. It definitely has all the powers to “seek, detain and destroy”. It has all the immunity to protect the security entity from being sued or being called upon by a judiciary inquest.
It cannot be investigated for any possible misdeeds, mismanagement, misjudgment or atrocities that may cause any harm to lives or death. It is also empowered to carry out any security operations in declared “security areas” which may result in collateral damage. These are the most frightening parts of the NSC Bill.
Furthermore, the various definitions of “national security”, “intended national security”, “stability”, “for the purpose of national security”, “threats” and many other points in its provisions remain unclear and confusing, only to open more rooms for potential abuse by the powers that be.
Zero transparency and accountability
The framework of this security entity seems to be like a ‘supreme high command’ that will be above the legislation, the cabinet and even the judicial system. Besides that, we also cannot see any part of the bill that would put this NSC under the King or anyone who is bipartisan.
In this case, the NSC need not be transparent or accountable to anyone but the prime minister himself.
The creation of NSC has shown signs of a dictatorship; again, we would say a form of ‘military junta’. It reminds us of Myanmar’s State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
Both SPDC and NCPO are the ruling security entities above the cabinet or any other executive arm of the two nations. These two juntas have also used draconian laws to crush their political opponents and critics, sending many of them to prison.
Political parties and dissenting civil societies were systematically banned, thus forcing the entire population to submit to their rule.
It is very clear that the BN government is showing initial signs of moving toward such rule. BN leaders are continually denying this fact but their actions have spoken for themselves: they are moving towards an authoritarian regime, phase by phase.
So, it is up to the Dewan Negara and the Rulers’ wisdom now to stop this NSC Bill from being passed.
Do not allow a ‘Great Leader’ or ‘Dear Leader’ to come into existence in our nation. We will not bow to such a figure.