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5 scary super powers that this newly passed law gives Najib

After months of controversy, the National Security Council (NSC) Bill is now an Act, meaning that it’s a 100% legit law that can be applied to Malaysians despite not being approved by the Agong. In fact it wasn’t only passed without approval, but also without the changes that the Conference of Rulers – basically a meeting between all the Malaysian Sultans – were concerned over.

And it takes effect in just a few days, on August 1st, 2016.

If you’re on any social media at all, means that you might have seen the outrage when the NSC Bill was first passed in Parliament back in December last year:

Najib ‘bad Transformer’ says Guan Eng after NSC bill passed The Malaysian Insider

Screencapped from The Malaysian Insider. Click to read article!

NSCBill hashtag on Twitter

Screencapped from Twittter.

-1 Facebook Search2

Screencapped off Facebook. Click for full size.

But if you haven’t heard of it yet, then we suggest you prepare a fresh pair of underwear cause it’s gonna get scary.

Much like the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) which was approved suddenly during the last Parliament sitting in April, the NSC (we’ll just call it this from now on) was also sprung at the last moment, just a day before Parliament wrapped up on December 3rd. What this means is that there was very little time for MPs to read and debate it, and almost no time at all for the rakyat to even find out or react to it.

And so the Bill was passed. But is it really as bad as everyone’s making it out to be? And how can this affect us regular folk?

Well, we got a copy of the Bill (remember, this law was passed without any changes so it still applies) and spoke to a few people about it, namely Eric Paulsen from Lawyers for Liberty, Dobby from SUARAM, and Azira Aziz from UNDI Malaysia and…well, there’s a lot to worry about because it gives PM Najib – and any Prime Minister that comes after him (if ever) – super powers that’ll affect regular people like you and me.

We’ll show you what we mean:

[Mini-update: Here’s the full text of the NSC Bill on Dropbox courtesy of Ooi Heng from KPRU]

 

1. They can declare a “state of emergency” in Selangor… or at your favorite mamak.

room

Trafalgar Law’s “Room”. Image from One Piece Wiki.

If you like One Piece, there’s a character named Trafalgar Law who can create a “room” in which he can do anything he wants to the people trapped inside. Well… that’s kinda what the NSC can do. While the Bill calls it a “Security Area” (Kawasan Keselamatan); it’s essentially a zone where Emergency/Darurat-like laws will be enforced. We’ll talk about what happens in the zone later, but let’s cover the scope and duration first.

Just so you know we’re not making anything up, you can click below to read the actual clauses. Thanks to Ooi Heng from KPRU for sharing the Bill with us!

maxresdefault

Click here to see Zeus zap everyone.

In terms of the scope, we weren’t exaggerating in the title…there’s no mention of how wide this Security Area can be. Based on the Bill and backed up by our interviewees, we can only conclude that the Security Area can be as narrow as your house to as wide as the whole country! 

Also, while the Security Area has an expiration date of 6 months, the Prime Minister is allowed to extend it for up to another 6 months as many times as he wants. In DOTA terms, this is like having no cooldown for your ulti.

We can also only assume that you’ll be given a heads-up if your house will be a Security Area. The Bill only states that any declaration or extension must be announced through any way the Prime Minister thinks necessary to inform the public – could be RTM, could be CILISOS, could be a Post-IT.

postit-darurat

 

2. They can declare it for anything “threatening” to the country

tumblr_mgymeoQ5XS1ruu0mwo1_250

Zatanna. Image from Tumblr.

In DC comics, Zatanna is a magician who can pretty much do anything as long as she says it backwards. In a way, the NSC can declare a Security Area in any way they can interpret the conditions that’ll allow them to do so.

According to the Bill, the Prime Minister can declare a Security Area anywhere there’s a serious threat to citizens, state, economy, key infrastructure or any other national interests. 

The problem here is that the definitions are so broad that it’s really up to how the NSC chooses to define it. For example, if Bersih decides to stage a rally outside Bank Negara, would it be considered a danger to the economy? And what exactly are “other national interests”?

The thing about law is that everything should be as specific as possible so that it’ll have the answers to questions such as the two above. As a comparison, Eric pointed out that Article 149 and 150 of the Federal Constitution (which talks about declaring Emergency) has much stronger definitions to prevent misinterpretation. So who exactly makes these decisions?

Well, Malaysiakini has made a really nice infographic to show you, but for some reason they missed out one: A military general. Otherwise, this would make it much easier to remember.

Council

Click for full image!

In essence, the Prime Minister makes the final call at the advice of the council.

 

3. They can take all your stuff… even you!

jedi-mind-trick-o

“These aren’t the rights you’re looking for.” Image from GifSoup.

In Star Wars, the Jedi can use their Force powers to make people do things against their will. In a Security Area, government personnel can do the same thing by… using force. In essence, the appointed government personnel such as the police or the army has the right to take away most of your civil liberties within a Security Area. To quote Dobby:

“It’ll make POTA look like a liberal democratic law” – Dobby, SUARAM, in interview with CILISOS

Your civil liberties basically refer to your rights as a citizen as stated in the Federal Constitution. This covers everything from your right to express yourself all the way to your right to own property. The things that’ll happen in a Security Area are so numerous that we have to list them down in point form:

  • You can be forced to move out of your house to a “safety area” determined by the government
  • They can impose a curfew which will prevent you from meeting your friends at the mamak for supper
  • They can search you, your house, or your car at any time without a warrant
  • They can arrest and/or interrogate you at any time without a warrant
  • They can stop you from leaving or entering a Security Area (duh)
  • They can take any of your personal property for use (ie. turning your house into a command center)
NAH, BACA:
What is it like talking to suicidal Malaysians? We asked the Befrienders.

And, there’s also a possibility that they might even demolish your house! The reason why we say “possibility” is because it isn’t clear if it refers to an unoccupied building (such as one that’s for sale) or one that’s been evicted (because they forced you to move out), or both. You can try interpreting for yourself:

Right now it kinda points to both reasons, but at least there’s a clause where you WILL get compensated if they take or destroy your stuff. So hey, on the bright side at least you can always carry out the remodeling plans you’ve always wanted to do   🙂

Oh, and if you don’t cooperate they can use reasonable force on you, then arrest you. You’ll be looking at a fine of up to RM5,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to 3 years if convicted. Speaking of reasonable force…

 

4. If you die in the Security Area, there doesn’t need to be an investigation

hunger games

The Hunger Games. Image from Tumblr.

We use The Hunger Games cause more of ugaiz would be familiar with it, but this situation is actually better described with Battle Royale – the original Japanese version. No, you won’t be forced to fight other people (thankfully) but the Security Area will be a place where regular laws don’t apply, and no one will be held responsible if you were injured or killed if it’s “in the course of duty”.

The Bill states that if the Magistrate or coroner determines that if a person is killed in an official operation, they can skip an inquest or investigation into the death. This would make sense in a war-like situation such as the Lahad Datu confrontation, where if a Sulu militant was killed on Malaysian soil, the Malaysian authorities might be held accountable without this specific Bill.

However, the problem with this is that there’s a possibility that the Bill can be applied to non-warlike scenarios due to the looseness of wording in point #2; and that it removes the element of accountability because they could (note: COULD) technically shoot you in your house and say you tried to attack them.

 

5. No one can stop this, not even the Agong!

Cilisos-Featured-PM Emergency

In the Judge Dredd series, Judges act as police, judge, jury, and executioner. Judge Dredd’s catchphase is “I am the law!” because…he is. Similarly, the Prime Minister will now hold almost unlimited powers under this Bill with little or nothing to stop him.

The main condition in order to declare an Emergency/Darurat is that the Prime Minister must convince the Agong for approval following Sections Articles (Thanks Hui!) 149 and 150 of the Federal Constitution. The NSC Bill pretty much allows him to declare a mini-darurat without going through the Agong. At the same time, anyone commissioned by the NSC to carry out official duties is given legal immunity as long as their duties “were carried out with sincerity”.


There are only two ways in which a Security Area can be cancelled – when the Prime Minister himself cancels it, or when the Parliament votes to cancel it. There are a few problems with this though… one is that the Malaysian Parliament meets three times a year, so it the Security Area may be in effect for awhile before they can cancel it. Second, not all MPs will vote to cancel it, just like how most MPs voted in favor of this Bill *cough*

And third….get ready for this…. Even if Parliament decides to hold an emergency meeting, the NSC can declare Parliament a Security Area! Mind=Blown! Thanks Dobby!

Gif from giphy.com

Gif from giphy.com

 

OMG Is Malaysia becoming a dictatorship???

Well, we would prefer to not have our office declared a Security Area, so we won’t give you an answer to that. But hey, why don’t you tell us? Polls are anonymous, we promise.

But just so we don’t appear biased, the official reason given for the NSC Bill is the need to create a specific set of rules and operating procedures for our security forces in the event of a security threat. This is because the National Security Council had been using internal regulations since their formation after the May 13 riots in 1969. While there is much reason to have national security laws due to very real threats like Lahad Datu and Islamic State, we haven’t had a good track record of keeping it only for this purpose since, despite assurance that SOSMA will not be used for political reasons, it was still used against an ex-UMNO leader and his lawyer who lodged police reports against PM Najib.

So what more when you have a law that gives the Prime Minister the power to bypass not just the Agong but the Federal Constitution itself?

when-he-gets-you-a-shit-gift-and-you-remember-his-fave

nah read more ugaiz

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