Hornbill Unleashed

July 20, 2017

Zaid warns Najib may invoke NSC Act

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Zaid-Ibrahim_najib_nsc_600Zaid Ibrahim has a warning for his Pakatan Harapan colleagues: Beware the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016.

Calling it a weapon that no one else has, the former minister said Prime Minister Najib Razak may use it if the results of the next general election (GE14) do not favour him and Umno.

“The prime minister has already said that he would do whatever it takes to defend the country, the Malay race and Islam.

“I read that to mean that he considers himself and Umno as indispensable, and that he is the sole defender of the country, the Malay race and Islam,” Zaid said in a blog posting today, asking PH leaders to consider a possible scenario, so as to be better prepared in such an eventuality.

The NSC Act, which was passed in Parliament in December 2015, allows, among others, for the prime minister to chair the National Security Council to declare a state of emergency without having to go through the Yang diPertuan Agong.

On June 7 last year, the Bill became law without royal assent. According to the gazette, the bill was declared as assented on Feb 18, under Clause 4(a) of Article 66 of the Federal Constitution, which states that a bill becomes law 30 days after it is presented to the Agong, even without his assent.

Zaid, who joined DAP earlier this year, said with Najib having complete control of the NSC, he can do anything he wants.

“The NSC can declare an emergency and appoint anyone as Director of Operations of a security area.

“This Director of Operations takes full operational control of the area, including the deployment of security forces and administrative personnel. The Director of Operations has absolute power to perform any task that relates to ‘national security’,” Zaid said.

He added that based on past experience, the notion of what is national security and national interest is basically whatever the prime minister says it is.

Therefore, invoking the NSC would be purely at the prime minister’s discretion and by appointing a Director of Operations who reports to him, by default, the prime minister would have total control of all armed forces and security apparatus in the country.

“The traditional chain of command of the army, navy, air force and police are in tatters, as it has been broken by the NSC Act.

“That is because the Director of Operations heads an entire security area and will be in charge, not the Armed Forces chief or the Inspector-General of Police.”

Zaid said after declaring an area as a security area, such an order can only be revoked by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.

“But with both houses of parliament being dissolved (for a general election), the declaration of emergency will be valid for as long as the prime minister wants.

“With the declaration being valid for six months and as it can be renewed indefinitely thereafter, the prime minister could use the NSC Act to keep him in power post-election,” Zaid said.

On a more alarming note, Zaid also suggested that it could even be possible for the prime minister to declare only certain areas under emergency rule before the general election.

“For example, if he declares Sabah, Johor and Kedah as security areas, he could even get the Director of Operations to conduct the election in those three states.

“The Director is after all required ‘to perform such other tasks or functions as directed by the Council’. He is therefore empowered to direct any government entity, including the Election Commission to do or not do whatever he wants,” Zaid said.

While hoping against all these eventualities, Zaid said he will only discard such thoughts if Najib comes out and “categorically declares that he will not use the emergency powers under the NSC Act to manage the coming elections”.

“He has to affirm that he will allow a democratically-elected government to take power even if Barisan Nasional loses in the next general election.

“If he can make this declaration, then the people of this country can sleep better, and so can I.”

Source : FMT Online


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