A-G: Agong has power to declare emergency under NSC Act

BANGI: The National Security Council (NSC) Act does not take away the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare an emergency, said Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali (pix).

He said the King had the power to order a country-level emergency declaration.

He said the Prime Minister was only empowered to declare emergency for "an area or certain areas" under the Act.

In explaining the Act, he said the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong did not have the discretion to declare an emergency on his own but must act on the advice of the Government.

"It is not like when you intend to declare (emergency), then declare. Here, the King must act on advice. That is very important," he told reporters after delivering his talk at the Judicial and Legal Training Institute (ILKAP) here Monday.

The NSC Act 2016, which allows the Government to hold emergency powers, came into force on Aug 1, this year.

Mohamed Apandi said, just like the King, the Prime Minister could not arbitrarily act on his own accord for the emergency declaration.

"He (Prime Minister) will act on the advice of the council, which consists of various parties who are involved in the security matters of the country. The Prime Minister will act accordingly, to the advice given," the Attorney-General said.

The parties include the Inspector-General of Police, Armed Forces chief and Chief Secretary to the Government, he added.

For the emergency order by the Prime Minister, Mohamed Apandi said Parliament would never be suspended and would still be in session.

"Under the Act, the declaration, which will last for six months, must be tabled within few weeks in Parliament. 

"This is to allow parliamentarians to debate on whether it is proper to declare a certain area an emergency or otherwise," he said.

The Attorney-General stressed that the NSC Act was made for the protection of the country to ensure security and public order were maintained at all times. 

Mohamed Apandi said the Act came into existence due to several realities that Malaysia had faced, citing the terrorist intrusion in Lahad Datu, Sabah, in 2013, as an example.

"I observed the Lahad Datu situation...and to tackle the situation, NSC came into existence for the sake that Malaysians can live in peace and harmony. There is no ulterior motive.

"Now, we have a proper law where the law will provide the Armed Forces to come to the scene of intrusion or whatever dangerous situation, for the security of the country," he added. - Bernama

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