KUALA LUMPUR: The National Security Council (NSC) Act was amended so that a prime minister will not be able to "break the law legally", says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said that under the current law, a prime minister could abuse the power to declare an area a security zone.
"When you give a prime minister that power, it is possible for him to declare a certain area as a security zone and in that area, he can arrest people without going to courts, and if someone dies, there will be no inquiry.
"It will give the prime minister the power of life and death over people. This is terrible. The prime minister should not have that power," he said.
The Prime Minister dismissed the notion that the NSC Act was a bad law, saying that the power to declare a security zone should be accorded to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
"At least, there are certain barriers you have there. So that is why we don't want to give the prime minister too much power to the point he can actually break the law legally," Dr Mahathir said to reporters at Parliament lobby on Tuesday (April 9).
Earlier in Parliament, proposed amendments to the NSC Act were tabled by Deputy Minister in Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.
The Bill also proposed to amend Section 37 on obligations of secrecy of those serving in the council, or its committees during or after his or her tenure of employment.
It also proposed that any declaration and the renewal of a declaration made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall be published in the gazette and laid before both the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.
The NSC Act had come under severe criticism, as many were concerned over the powers given to the prime minister to declare a security area when it was passed in 2016.
Some pointed out that it gave the government to hold emergency powers without the need to declare emergency under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, as it would usurp the authority of the King.