Three top leaders of Pakatan Harapan today urged the government to put on hold the draconian National Security Council (NSC) Act, citing the 1MDB controversy dogging Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Malaysia’s slide in democracy.
“When there is nowhere left to run, a desperate man who has already stolen so much will not be able to resist the temptation to steal our democracy as well.
“With the NSC Act safely within his grip, Najib Razak will have absolute and unfettered powers to save himself from any political crisis,” said a joint statement by PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, DAP acting chairman Tan Kok Wai and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu.
The call comes as the NSC Act takes effect today, giving wide powers to Najib which critics said had usurped the powers of the Agong to declare emergency-like measures in the name of national security.
The act among other allows Najib to designate any area as a “security area”, where individuals, vehicles or premises can be searched without a warrant.
It also allows investigators to ignore formal inquests into any killings by the police or armed forces in those areas.
Critics have expressed concern that the new law would be abused by the authorities to quell any planned protest over the 1MDB scandal, which took a new twist following the US Department of Justice’s accusations that some US$3.5 billion had been siphoned off ftom the state fund.
The three leaders said the NSC law not only usurped the powers of the Agong, but also blurred “the inviolable lines that separates the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary”.
“To the detriment of the Malaysian population, our freedom of movement and other fundamental civil liberties are now at the mercy of just one man,” it said, referring to Najib.
Najib had earlier denied that the act had taken over the powers of the Agong, and said critics had misrepresented some of the provisions of the new law by saying that he had emergency powers.
The NSC Bill was passed as law by default, after failing to get the formal consent from the Agong.
The Conference of Rulers had in the past urged the government to review the Act’s controversial provisions.
Pakatan Harapan said the Act centralised powers of different government agencies into the hands of the prime minister, who will chair the NSC.
“The constitutional separation of military power from the office of the Prime Minister must be upheld in order for Malaysian democracy to be safeguarded for generations to come,” the trio added in the statement.