The Senate should veto the National Security Council Bill which was rammed through the Dewan Rakyat in indecent haste in a late-night sitting last night, which was sprung as a total surprise on the nation as Members of Parliament on both sides of the House and the civil society did not have any clue beforehand that the government was preparing to enact such a monstrous legislation which is no less than a quadruple power grab at the expense of the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Cabinet and the autonomy powers of Sarawak and Sabah.
The National Security Council Bill was surreptitiously presented for first reading on Tuesday on Dec. 1, and even without any briefing for Barisan Nasional MPs especially from Sarawak and Sabah, the second and third readings of this monstrous Bill was rushed through Parliament yesterday, with BN MPs particularly from Sarawak and Sabah voting for it blindly like robots although they did not fully understand its far-reaching implications, including undermining the very autonomy powers of Sarawak and Sabah which have become the burning issues in these two states.
In fact, I do not believe that the 37 Ministers of the Cabinet could have discussed, debated or understood the National Security Council Bill before it was presented to Parliament for a shot-gun passage, for no self-respecting Cabinet would have agreed to such power-grab by the Prime Minister, who is in fact setting himself up as a dictator who need not pay heed to what is already a very supine and servile Cabinet!
The NSC bill was passed by the Dewan Rakyat in a division with 107 votes in favour and 74 votes against.
If the 25 Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament from Sarawak had heeded their conscience and duties and refused to vote blindly in support of the NSC Bill, and had instead voted against the Bill, the “ayes” vote would have been reduced by 25 to 82 while the “nays” vote would have increased by 25 to 99 votes – resulting in the rejection of the NSC Bill with a division of 99 votes against versus 82 votes in favour!
Were the 25 Barisan Nasional MPs aware of their “king-maker” role in determining whether the NSC Bill could be passed in Parliament or not?
Why did the Sarawak BN MPs become the crucial bloc vote ensuring the passage of the monstrous NSC Bill when the Bill constitutes a further erosion of the autonomy powers of Sarawak and Sabah, apart from the erosion of the constitutional powers of the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Cabinet?
In fact, if the 22 Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament from Sabah had been fully conscious of their responsibilities to Sabah and Malaysia and had solidly voted against the NSC Bill, the nays vote against the Bill would have reached 99 + 22, i.e. 121 votes, a number which is enough to topple Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s government and form a new Malaysian government in a Parliament with 222 MPs.
The question now is whether the Senate, which is meeting on Monday for 10 days till December 22, will save the day for the Yang di Pertuan Agong, the Cabinet, Sarawak and Sabah be vetoing the NSC Bill when it is presented to the Dewan Negara.
The Sarawak State Assembly had appointed two Senators, Dayang Madinah Tun Abang Openg and Datuk Lihan Jok to represent and protect the rights and interests of Sarawak in the Dewan Negara. This is also the case with the Sabah State Assemby which elected Datuk Kadzim bin Yahya and Datuk Dr. Lucs Umbul as Senators to represent and protect the rights and interests of Sabah.
These four Senator from Sarawak and Sabah have a historic role in the Senate for they should spearhead a campaign in the Dewan Negara to block the NSC Bill from becoming law before there is the fullest consultation involving all the stakeholders in the country, in particular the state governments, all political parties and the civil society.
As Barisan Nasional Senators, they may find it difficult to lead a campaign to veto the NSC Bill, but the least they should do is to ensure that NSC Bill is not approved in the Senate but sent back to Dewan Rakyat for reconsideration as well as requiring a full national consultative process involving the major stakeholders as to whether the country needs a National Security Council with such monstrously wide-ranging powers which usurp the constitutional powers of the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Cabinet as well as the autonomy powers of Sarawak and Sabah.
As the Sarawak State Assembly is meeting for its budget session on Monday (the last Sarawak State Assembly meeting before the Sarawak state general elections expected in March), the top priority agenda should be a clear directive by the Sarawak State Assembly to the two Sarawak state senators to lead a campaign to ensure that the Senate does not approve the NSC bill, but refer it back to Dewan Rakyat for reconsideration after a major national consultative exercise involving all major stakeholders like the state governments, all political parties and the civil society.
(Speech at the DAP Miri 33th Anniversary-cum-”Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang & Mana RM2.6 billion?” dinner held at Boulevard Restaurant, Miri on Friday, December 4, 2015 at 10 pm)