The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) has painted a bleak scenario in relation to the National Security Council (NSC) Bill, passed in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Ideas executive director Wan Saiful Wan Jan warned that placing such powers in the hands of the prime minister could be detrimental.
“Just imagine if someone holding that top post were in the process of being kicked out from power either by his own party or by the voters.
“I am worried if he can use this Act to keep himself in power just for the sake of staying in power,” he added in a statement.
Describing the passing of the bill as an “atrocious” action, Wan Saiful criticised BN lawmakers who supported the bill as having failed the people.
He urged the government to retract the legislation, which he said concentrates too much power in the hands of the prime minister.
“If the government does not withdraw it, senators in the Dewan Negara must show that they have a use and reject the bill,” he said.
Wan Saiful said it was both “shocking and inexcusable” that the legislation was rushed through with little opportunity for scrutiny.
He termed it as a “dark day” in Malaysian history.
“It is a desperate act that will push us closer to a dictatorship and authoritarian rule.
“The provisions under the bill allow for the extensive curtailing and impingement of civil liberties, constitutional guarantees and fundamental rights,” he said.
The NSC bill, once gazetted, would allow the prime minister to declare any area of the country a “security area” with the support of a simple majority in Parliament.
Once an area is declared a “security area”, security forces would be allowed to impose curfew, use any amount of force deemed reasonable against persons, conduct arrests and searches without warrants and confiscate or demolish property in the interest of security.
It also provides immunity to the NSC and security forces from prosecution for their actions as long as their decisions are seen as being done in “good faith”.