PETALING JAYA: NGO Lawyers for Liberty has slammed the government's move to table amendments to the National Security Council (NSC) Act in Parliament instead of repealing it as pledged in its GE14 manifesto.
Its advisor N. Surendran (pic) said the move is in direct violation of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto that pledged to abolish the NSC Act, adding that the coalition's presidential council had previously criticised it as a draconian law.
"We call upon the Pakatan government to stand by their own oft-repeated pledges and campaign promises by withdrawing the amendment Bill which was tabled today and instead repeal the NSC Act 2016 in its entirety," he said in a statement on Tuesday (April 9).
Surendran said the NSC Act could not be saved juts by amendments as it is unconstitutional and invalid as law.
"It was brought into force by the Barisan Nasional regime without receiving the Royal Assent, pursuant to the amended Article 66(4) of the Federal Constitution," he said, adding that any law enforced without a Royal Assent is unconstitutional.
He said the amending Bill leaves the most draconian and dangerous provisions in the NSC Act 2016 intact – the same provisions that Pakatan leaders had strongly protested against when the previous Barisan government tabled the NSC Act in 2016.
"These oppressive provisions include the power to dispense with inquests in 'security areas', which is tantamount to giving security forces unchecked power to commit unlawful killings.
"Other drastic provisions allow the authorities to declare any place a security area, use deadly force, impose curfews, conduct search and seizure without warrant and seize or destroy private property," he said.
Surendran added that these extreme powers are similar to the now-abolished Internal Security Act.
"Having loudly complained about these powers, why is Pakatan and its leaders leaving them untouched under this new amending Bill? It is an act of inexcusable betrayal," he said.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin tabled the proposed amendments under the NSC (Amendment) Bill on Tuesday (April 9).
The proposed amendments will remove the powers of the Prime Minister to declare a security area while further empowering the NSC.
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.
Prior to the May 9 general election, Pakatan Harapan had pledged to repeal several oppressive laws if it came to power, including the NSC Act.