KUALA LUMPUR: The controversial National Security Council (NSC) Act became law on Tuesday but did not obtain express Royal Assent, unlike other Bills passed by Parliament.
The Bill was deemed to have received royal assent without any amendments at the end of the 30-day period by which the King would have to give his assent.
When asked whether there had been any amendments, Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohd Apandi Ali, who is in Doha, told The Star via WhatsApp: “There is no amendment to the Bill.”
Mohd Apandi had briefed the Rulers on the NSC Bill at Conference of Rulers held on Feb 17.
The Rulers were of the view that some provisions in the Bill needed to be refined, said the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad.
He said the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, who chaired the 240th meeting, would be writing to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the matter.
The next day, Mohd Apandi told the media that certain provisions would be scrutinised again.
The Federal Government gazette dated June 7, states that Royal Assent was obtained on Feb 18 under Article 66 (4A) of the Federal Constitution.
According to Article 66(4A), even if the King does not give assent at the end of 30-day s, he is deemed to have done so.
The NSC Act, passed by the Dewan Rakyat on Dec 3 and Dewan Negara on Dec 22, will come into force on a date to be fixed by the Prime Minister via notification in the Gazette.
The Act, which received brickbats from the Opposition and human rights organisations on the grounds that it would give the Prime Minister absolute powers, allows for the establishment of a National Security Council.
The NSC consists of the Prime Minister as chairman, Deputy Prime Minister as deputy chairman, the Defence, Home and Com-munications and Multimedia ministers, Chief Secretary to the Government, Chief of Defence Forces, and Inspector-General of Police.
Under the new law:
> The Prime Minister is empowered to declare an area a security area for six months at a time;
> The NSC may then direct the deployment of any security forces or any other Government entities to the area;
> The Director of Operations may order the exclusion/evacuation/resettlement of persons and failure to obey may result in, if convicted, a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or jail for a term not exceeding three years or both; and
> Without a warrant, security forces can stop and search any individual, vehicle, vessel, aircraft in the security area if they suspect there is any article of being evidence of the commission of an offence; and enter and search any premise or place if they suspect that any evidence of the commission of an offence is likely to be found on the premises, and may seize any article so found.