Provisions in the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016 that empower the council to take command of the military are in contempt of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s powers, an ex-air force officer said today.
Former Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) officer Lt Col (Rtd) Mohamad Daud Sulaiman said the Federal Constitution is very clear in stating that the Agong and the royal institution have command of the military forces.
“If we look at the provisions (in the NSC), it uses a lot of military terms and this is very dangerous,” Mohamad Daud said at the Civil Society Conference on National Security here, while commenting on the impact of the NSC on the military forces.
“One of the explanations given about the NSC by the government is that the Agong does not have operational command of the military,” he said, referring to the official Putrajaya Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) explanation on the law, posted on the NSC’s official website.
“This is in contempt of the Agong and the institution,” he added.
Mohamad Daud said that the constitution reigned supreme in Malaysia and the Agong acts as the symbol of the constitution.
“The constitution can’t speak, talk or move, and the Agong represents the symbol of the constitution,” he said.
He also warned Malaysia of dangers in allowing the military to enforce legislations passed in Parliament.
“When you ask the military to enforce the law, you ask for trouble. The military is not trained for that. They do not know the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC),” he added.
He also said that military officials might not take well to being ordered by individuals who are not subjected to the Armed Forces service law.
The NSC Act came into effect on August 1 this year, despite not receiving express royal assent from the Conference of Rulers.
The Act provides powers to the council, chaired by the prime minister, to declare an area as a security area.
Once an area is declared a security area, the council can command the military forces and impose strict regulations, including curfews, in the area.
The criticisms against the Act also include concerns regarding the powers given to the NSC to declare an emergency that are under the authority of the Agong according to the Federal Constitution.